View Full Version : Covered or uncovered?

09-01-2004, 03:25 PM
So, do you guys use your covers while trailering? And why is it done that way? Looking to buy my first MC this weekend, and am trying to learn as much as possible. Have to trailer boat home 1100 miles!!! It is a 2000 MC Prostar 190, and I can't wait.

Also, anybody have any problems with the 2000's other than the seat skins. (I already read that thread!)

09-01-2004, 03:28 PM
Congrats :banana: on the new MC!!!

I only cover it in the rain, or long trips..

09-01-2004, 03:35 PM
I only cover in rain. I find my boat harder to tow with the cover on, it seems to act as a parachute. It also seems to strech it out.

Good luck with the trip and new boat! I am currently looking for a "new to me" boat also.

Since you are going that far with a boat you basicly know nothing about I would suggest taking a small toolbox with items to fix trailer lights, grease bearings and to change a flat trailer tire.

Just my .02

09-01-2004, 03:37 PM
Good point about the tool kit

09-01-2004, 03:38 PM
Supposedly, everything is in working order. It is through a dealership, so hopefully they are being truthful. I will definetly be spending some time checking everything out, and will also spend a couple hours on the water.

I will bring tools though. Thanks for the reminder.

09-01-2004, 03:39 PM
Generally if you have cover for it that fits properly and the cover is "trailerable", you should have no real problem with it. I like to have mine on when travelling because you never know when it will rain. It will however, reduce the life expectancy of your cover. Just no way around that. Good luck and make sure your trailer tires are properly inflated.

east tx skier
09-01-2004, 03:48 PM
If this is the sunbrella (or blended) duck gray (or whatever color) cover with canvas padding underneath it (as opposed to the "snap-in" variety), I wouldn't use it while towing. If it moves around (and it will), it will rub the gel coat. If there's any dirt in the cover (and there probably is), it acts like sandpaper and can work your gel coat over and make it quite rough. I speak from personal experience here. I only trailered with my cover 3 times (because it was raining). The result was the the gel coat on tops of my gunale was nice and rough, and it took a lot of buffing with a polishing compound to get it out.

Rainwater will not do nearly as much damage. The newer boats have snap on covers I believe, and as a result, can get away with leaving the cover on while underway.

09-01-2004, 03:55 PM
Pulled my CC SN with the cover on once.....won't happen again. It will rub like Doug said and the seems get stretched where the tie downs attach to the covering.

09-01-2004, 03:57 PM
I did it once and it scratched the gel coat. I will never tow with a cover again regardless of weather.

I have pulled my boat through heavy down pours and it always amazes me how dry it stays as long as your movng.

It's a boat it's made to get wet :D

09-01-2004, 03:57 PM
I trailer with my cover on. After towing 150 miles each way several times a year, I would get a lot of road grime inside that required cleaning out every time. I don't like the MC canvas cover for towing, so I had one made locally out of Sunbrella that fits very tightly. While it takes a few minutes to put on, it's well worth keeping the boat clean. I have a few pictures I can post that show the customer cover if you are interested.

09-01-2004, 03:58 PM
I found that if was raining while towing, as long as you are at highway speeds, my boat stayed pretty dry inside.

09-01-2004, 04:09 PM
I've pulled boats across the country and I always uncover them for my trips. You might think you'd get 'road grime' or whatever on a long trip but the boat seems to stay pretty clean. Don't get me wrong, you'll want to detail your new baby when you get home but you'll be doing that anyway.

It seems really hard on the cover to tow with it on. No matter how good it is or how tight it is, it seems to 'stretch out' and get worn looking when flapping around for thousands of miles.

If you were really concerned, you could have a local dealer shrink-wrap it prior to travel but from my exp. that is not necessary.

09-01-2004, 04:12 PM
A shrink wrap machine would be great to have for long trips and winterizing. I wonder if they make large sheets that can be stretched with a heat gun.

09-01-2004, 04:15 PM
East-Tx is bang-on - trailer with a storage cover and you're asking for marks in the gelcoat.

I have snap-on covers I use for trailering and for covering the boat when moored - I leave the 'storage cover' at home. I've trailered thousands of miles (literally) with this set-up with absolutely no problems. Nothing inside the boat blows away and it gives you some security for the stuff inside your boat when you stop at a roadside cafe.

09-01-2004, 04:17 PM
uncovered unless it's raining.

09-01-2004, 04:26 PM
One more vote for uncovered. In my experience, the cover rubs the paint off the windshield frame, dulls the gelcoat, and generally self destructs. I have also found that the boat dries out quickly after a rain storm. Congrats on the new boat! Now the fun begins!

09-01-2004, 04:34 PM
This is the cover that I trailer with if its raining or if Iím going a long way and have toys and other things stowed in the boat. I havenít seen any ill effect from using it, (on the gel or to the cover).

09-01-2004, 05:12 PM

If you have a black anodized windsheild I recommend you cover it with the round foam that goes around pipes to protect it from the cover. Of course if you want a silver windshield frame one day do nothing.

09-01-2004, 05:16 PM
In the beginning, I towed with cover. But now I never tow with the cover, still have a small mark from the cover tie down on the side where it flapped against the boat and heard the many horror stories with cover and essentially none without the cover.

09-01-2004, 05:20 PM
MarkP; I have the same tie down pattern and those straps flap in the wind. Pulled many times and by bad luck once for 10 mile trip it flapped just right and made mark by one of the straps.

09-01-2004, 05:33 PM
I donít use the travel cover often at all. It has about 15 snaps as well as the straps. The straps get tied off really well because I didnít like the way they flapped.

Thanks for the foam tip.:toast:

Like I said I rarely use it. Only when I have to..

lakes Rick
09-01-2004, 05:36 PM
The canvas MC covers are NOT designed to be towed while on.. My boat has marks from the first owner doing this..

I have two friends who had custom TOWABLE covers made and they work great.. One is a snap down type.. The other is made out of heavy material and it attached to the trailer with rubber tie downs... Never a mark on his boat. ( and its a Bluewater).........

09-01-2004, 05:38 PM
If it's raining and I put the cover on. I fold the extra string (strap) in half over and over until it's about 4 inches then take some electical tape and tape it to the strap. That way it does't flap in the wind and the tape matches the strap. You need to match when pulling a MC. :steering:

09-01-2004, 05:50 PM
I haven't towed my 209 with a cover yet but towed 3 different inboards for a combined 20 years, almost always with covers. It didn't really matter if I had a cheap cover or expensive cover, as long as it FIT WELL and was tied down properly. Definitely will rub the windshield trim finish off. Never had any gel coat wear but more of a problem if the cover touched the upholstry. I put towels over these spots.

My main reason for towing with a cover is to keep the sun off the boat, skiis..... I tow more than 1 hour each way, each trip, so the sun damage adds up after a few years.

I don't bother towing with a cover if it is raining, it's a boat 8p .

09-01-2004, 06:00 PM
Most boat dealers will shrinkwrap for about $10 a foot.
Maybe get them to thro it in since you are buying.
Anyway, best money spent. aerodynamics and peace of mind.

09-01-2004, 06:36 PM
For Short trips we go topless :eek: But when go more on vacation or take her into the dealer we trailer with the cover on. We had a special cover made for trailering and mooring. Never know when it's going to rain or the shop needs to leave her out side.


09-01-2004, 08:06 PM
One more vote for towing without cover. In 87 the Mastercraft cover was not intended for towing. Might have changed since then though.

I echo a previous poster that suggested taking a tool box along. For a long trip like yours and / or if you are trailering a lot once you own it you will probably want to have a set of spare bearings (2), seal, washer, cotter pin, and grease along with the tools to perform the replacement (jack, lug nut wrench [of course], screwdriver & hammer to knock of the bearing buddy or hub cap, pliers for cotter pin removal, socket wrench with proper socket for axle nut [generally not part of a standard set because it is large]). Seems like I had a snap ring pliers as well but can't remember were that would have been used (maybe that was for the bearing buddy itself). Probably missing something but others might help out.

By now they probably put bearing buddies on directly from the factory but on my '87 we had to install them ourselves. My experience is that they work great as long as this is a step in your load up process that you NEVER forget. I always give them a shot of fresh grease after pulling out of the water before heading home. I probably put a little more in than required but it seems the only problem this causes is grease slung around the inside of the rims (although eventually it probably causes the seals to fail).

Incidently, I did have a bearing fail which I believe was the result of poor execution of my above stated load up process. Not to big of a deal if you have the tools and parts. Would have been miserable though if I was trying to find a parts store on a sunday night in a location I wasn't familiar with.


09-01-2004, 08:18 PM
I agree with Lance on bearings, I always carry an extra set.

Every two years I pull the bearings apart, clean them then regrease and install new seals. Every four years I replace all bearings and seals (this is in addition to using bearing buddies)
Many of you probably think this is over kill but I was with a buddy coming back from the lake and he blew a trailer bearing and had to have the thing flat bedded home. Then found out the axle was trashed.
The total bill for the repair was pushing 500 bucks (and yes he had bearing buddies). So replacing a few parts every couple years is cheap insurance to me.

09-01-2004, 08:31 PM
I don't trailer my boat anymore but when I did I repacked and replaced bearings using about the same schedule as Footin. This is a good spring activity when you are getting fired up for the ski season yet it is too cold to actually get started. The other benefit of doing this maintenance is that you get good at the procedure and it verifies that you have all the right parts and tools so that you have them when you really need them.

OBTW... this is pretty cheap insurance as the parts AND tools will cost less than $30.


09-01-2004, 09:49 PM
Here's a picture of the cover I had made for my X30 specifically for towing. I agree a snug fit is required, and if it does, you should not get any wear spots on the boat or cover. I've towed for three years with this one with no signs of wear. It is properly padded on the inside of the cover, nothing flaps around and I use softer bungee cords instead of nylon straps for tie downs. The key is drawing tight just below the rub rail to prevent air from getting in.

Michael Epp
09-01-2004, 10:48 PM
I have the snap-in bow and cockpit covers for my X-10, in addition to the full cover. I only tow with the snap-in covers installed, never with the full cover. I only use the full cover for storage as it does a better job of keeping the boat clean (during the season a store outside). Regardless of how good a fit the full cover is, I think you'll experience marking to the gel coat.

Michael Epp
09-01-2004, 10:53 PM
I ordered my X-10 with the bow and cockpit covers (snap-on); in addition to the full cover. I only tow with the snap-on covers, never with the full cover. I also trailer my boat a considerable distance each summer (1000 miles round trip). Even if just one of the snaps is unattached it will cause marking to the gel coat. I can't imagine not doing damage to the get coat with the full cover installed and doing a long trip.

09-01-2004, 11:52 PM
I tow mine over 1000 miles each year and can't find any gelcoat wear, but I don't have metal snaps to come undone to mark the gel coat or cause looseness in the fit. I thought about the cockpit covers, but really don't like the look of snaps all over the boat. A good towing cover depends on how tight the cover is to the hull, and a storage cover is not necessarily made for towing, so I can see how doing so would give you problems.

09-02-2004, 12:47 AM
Thanks guys! I really appreciate all of the advice.

In regards to the bearings, are they difficult to change? How much do they cost? I have never done this before, is it a difficult task? Hopefully, since the owner said the trailer hasn't been used I won't have a problem. Once it is here, I don't trailer that often. Once in once out.

The thread really took off, I went to work and there were 5 replies, came home and there were over 30.

Feel free to provide any other advice you might have. I am a sponge for information.

09-02-2004, 08:57 AM
Don't forget to have a couple wood 2x4 blocks (6" long) to use in case your jack can't get up high enough or if you need to jack, then re-position the jack to get higher, etc.

Great info on this thread. Been pulling pulling boats & utility trailers by either myself or father all my 32 years. Biggest thing is BE SURE YOUR JACK WILL WORK ON YOUR TRAILER WITH A FLAT! I can't tell you the number of times I hear someone say they got a flat & had a spare, but no way to get it on the trailer.

Good luck!

09-02-2004, 09:46 AM
I have a tandem trailer and use a Jiffy Jack. It is very easy to use, fast and stable. Last time to the lake I had to use it for the first time, other than in the driveway for maintenance. It's a little bigger to carry in the vehicle but if you have the room it is convenient.


09-02-2004, 09:56 AM
Don't cover unless you like cute swirly scratches!-Tex

09-02-2004, 09:58 AM
in this pic, you can see the bow & cockpit covers.. Never any problems. Never had a snap come undone in transit.

Jiffy Jack is a great idea. Now, all I need is a spare. I didn't buy one this time because of the cost, and, in over 20,000 miles of towing various boats, I've never had a flat -- yeah, I know I'm tempting Murphy's law.

A great ski season (or, procrastination;) ) has prevented me from checking to see if the spare off my travel trailer will also fit on the boat.

On bearings.. with the new oil bath bearings, are they consumer-serviceable at all?

09-02-2004, 01:03 PM
On the bearing issue... here is a reasonably good post that talks about how you would do this on a car's front wheels which is basically the same as a boat trailer:


If it isn't obvious to everyone the reference to BFH is a Big Frickin Hammer.

I didn't repack bearings real frequently (once every other year or so) but it is pretty straightforward with the correct tools and if I remember correctly it takes less than an hour per wheel.

As I indicated in my first post, this is a necessary precaution for older trailers but based on the post by NeilM above it apparently isn't a problem with the newer trailers as they have moved to a new bearing / lubrication design. I am not familiar with the "oil bath" bearings but it sounds as though that is probably a good design change. Then it is only a matter of determining when they made this switch and whether you have the new or old design.

09-02-2004, 05:04 PM
I usually put my cover on if it's raining, not just to keep the boat from getting wet, but to prevent the dirty and muddy water that's usually thrown up on and in the boat (always some road construction going on around here). I have a cover specifically for a PS205, but it's not a MC cover. It has tie-down straps similar to the ones in Mark's picture, and I've never noticed a swirl or rub mark in 10 years of trailering.

I cut a slit on each side of a tennis ball and put one on each strap to prevent the strap from chafing the boat/trailer. I also use a piece of double-sided velcro about 2-3" long, and wrap it around the loose section of the strap (after it goes through the buckle) to keep it from flopping around. I just wrap the velcro around the strap near the cover when it's not being used.

I noticed a small rock scratch on my windshield the other day, no doubt the result of a gravel being thrown up by either my truck or an approaching car. This is another benefit of towing with a cover, but I really don't like towing with it because of the parachute effect and because it makes it really hard to see what's behind me.

09-02-2004, 09:59 PM
And you cant see how cool your boat looks;)

09-02-2004, 10:44 PM
Cover off. Strap came loose once when towing my first MC to storage, about 10 miles from my house. Wind got under the cover and literally shredded the cover in about 1 second. Can't imagine what would have happened if this would have been in traffic. Sounds like those that are trailering with covers have a well thoughout approach and are taking the necessary precautions to prevent gelcoat scratching. For me it is easier to trailer cover off and then clean the grime off when I get to where I'm going.

09-02-2004, 11:55 PM
I personally think the shrink wrap is your best bet. I never tow with a cover for the same reason as everyone else. It will dull the gel. I had a snap on cover on my 94 Maristar I had and I loved it. If the snaps are put in the right spots you never see them. Mine had a felt type lining at the gunnells to keep from rubbing the gel. I still did not tow with it because it seemed hard on the cover and also seemed to stretch it. Shrink it for the long haul!!!!


east tx skier
09-03-2004, 09:39 AM
Agreed. Shrink wrap it!