Helpful Shrink Wrapping Tips

Wrapping the boat for the winter can be made easier with these tips. A web extra from our October 2010 issue

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It always pays to have a friend help you out.Mark Pillsury

If you're covering a boat that's in the water, try to find a stable workboat or inflatable. Ideally, you can stand on the seats or even use a short stepladder to reach the top of the cover. Or if convenient, you can turn the boat around and work on one side at a time from the dock. Be sure to account for dock lines and power chords, which will tend to move about over the winter, and make sure you have room to reach them under the cover.

Have extra tape, both 6-inch- and 2-inch-wide rolls, on hand. You'll be surprised at how much you use, and it doesn't hurt to keep extra tape on the boat. One night, during a nasty March wind and rainstorm, the stern seam ripped apart. With tape and an electrical heat gun I was able to pull the flapping pieces of shrink-wrap together and fashion a new seam that lasted until the cover was removed.

As with most boat-related jobs, a second set of hands helps greatly when erecting the frame and putting the webbing in place. It's well worth the investment in beer to convince a pal to drop by and pitch in.

Shrink-wrap is sold in rolls, usually 100 to 200 feet, depending on the weight. If you're in a marina or yard, share the cost-and work-with a neighbor. Or, buy the roll yourself, knowing it will last you for seasons to come.

In the spring, look on line for a nearby recycling place where you can dispose of the shrink-wrap, once the webbing's been removed. If you're careful you can save your door and use it again.

If the mast is down, it's still a good idea to use a raised ridgepole that spans the length of the boat. This will make it easier to move about and work on the topsides when the cover's still on.

If necessary, small pieces of carpet can be used as chafe guard on the ends of stanchions. And if you have a wooden toerail, that could be scratched by the conduit hoops, you can use old tennis balls to cover the ends.