Tarps as boat covers

Due to space limitations, I store my boats (4) outside. I’ve always used tarps to cover them. I use the dark green tarps and they seem to last me about two years. I buy them oversized and fold to cover them. Once the exposed side has deteriorated, I flip the tarp over (it’s folded) and expose a good side of the tarp.

Are any other types of tarps longer lasting? Such as the light blue tarps?



Blue tarps were the standard for roofs
after Katrina, and some are still up there, paler and a bit raggedy. But I prefer the green, just because it looks better.

The UV stable vinyl as used for outdoor store awnings will last a lot longer.

Of course it costs a lot more too.

Get the ones with the silver on one side
and keep that out.

It reflects the suns rays the best and lasts the longest.

I have had one for about five years, (silver on one side and brown on the other).

jack L

regarding tarps
The blue tarps really don’t last all that long. we had one on our roof after hurricane Katrina (as did most of our neighbors and fellow New Orleanians), and they’d get beat up within a few months and need replacement. Of course we were thankful to have them as it was MUCH better than nothing at all (and the wait to have your roof repaired was a 1+ year due to the amount of work).

How it relates to the green ones I’m not sure. But if they are lasting you a year or so that would seem to be better than the blue ones we had here. Of course, it may have also been due to it being on a roof where it was subjected to much more of a wind beating.

Tarp Choices

– Last Updated: Dec-10-10 1:55 AM EST –

I bought one of those "standard" tarps the other day, and noticed that they had another style right alongside the "standard" ones. The other style was much better, with a very fine weave that was very similar to what you'd see in old-fashioned canvas, a thick coating that eliminated the potential for "isolated strands" coming loose, and a fabric weight that was about three to four times that of the "standard" tarps. I think they cost about four times as much, but I bet they hold up a whole lot longer, probably enough to be worth it, but of course I'm guessing. Before my dad moved "back to the city" he used those cheap "standard' tarps to cover his fire-wood piles, and they don't last very long at all, but they're so cheap you can replace them over and over without worry. Maybe deciding to get something better is a toss-up.

Danuu-type cover
I know you’re asking about tarps, but you might consider a Danuu-type canvas cover for your boats too. I came into one for cheap by chance not long ago and really like it. It’s like anything else we talk about on p.net (dry suits, etc.): It seems too expensive, but once you get one you really appreciate it and wonder how you ever lived without it.

Get the material they use to make
professional car canopies with. Where I worked I saw them tearing down an old car canopy that could cover 30 or more cars in the parking lot. I asked them to cut off a 30 foot length and they did. It has a soft rubberized side and is heavy duty. I’ve been using that piece for over 4 years now and it has lost a lot of it’s flexibility since it was already old but I think I can get at least another 4 years out of it. It does not fall apart like the tarps we buy at Hone Depot, etc.

The owner of the company that makes the tarps had some extra material from various jobs. He gave me my choice of the same material or a better material they use for boat canopies. I think I should have stuck with the heavy duty rubberized but to be fair, I haven’t used what he gave me yet. He gave me a 20 X 15 foot section (my specs)- I called around when looking for tarps and a piece (same material) that big custom made would have cost around $1,000 so I really lucked out. I have it stored in my attic since the old piece I got is still good.

Anyway, my advice is to find a building that has outside professional (not Costco type) tarps and ask the property manager for the contact to the company that makes the canopy. My guy was very nice and actually cut and put grommets in the piece he gave me and said it was free. I gave the guy who made it $50 bucks and he was very happy. Win/win.


I second JackL… And I’m not even…
Gonna comment on that set up in that photo.

I will say, however, that looks like a lot of “over paranoia sheep talk following” work to do.

Why not just get one (1) silver tarp & make a lean-to coming off the fence to easily cover all the boats, yet still allow easy access by removing two (2) to three (3) ground pegs, lifting the tarp, getting the boat(s) & replace the pegs.

UV rays do not make 90* turns to get under tarps. And if you use that 003, 303, 330 (whatever it is) you should be fine. I have NEVER used the stuff (in over 10 years & have had ZERO (0) problems.

Paddle easy,


Agree, the silver tarps hold up much better.

Bill H.

have used both the green and blue tarps
at times to cover a 20’ diameter temporary dome used for storage of construction materials and gardening equipment. 1 1/2 years was about the max even in a wooded area not exposed to high winds (or the architectural review board!)

The silver ones last a bit longer. I’ve also seen some heavy duty tarps at Harbor Freight that might fit the bill.

Seems it would be easier overall to bend some PVC or EMT into a arc going from the top of the fence to the ground about 4-6’ away from the fence. Cover that with tarp or the corrugated fiberglass sections. That’ll cover the boats, protect against UV, and make it a lot easier to use the boats.

UV from the sun eats tarps, the more UV you can reflect the longer the tarps will last. The silver covers do this better than any color.

Bill H.