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View Full Version : I need help supporting a boat cover for winter.


bikewv
10-17-2005, 09:22 PM
Hello all.

I have read posts from people saying that they have built a support from PVC Pipe to support their boat cover when storing outside during the winter. I live where we get a lot of snow and I need to find an economical way to support my boat cover during the winter.

I used to store boat inside but that is not an option this winter.

Does anyone have any pictures or directions on how to build a support for the winter?

Thanks for your help.

BrianM
10-17-2005, 10:21 PM
There is a good write up on how to make a nice support here: http://www.wakesiderides.com/viewArticle.php?id=154

RickDV
10-17-2005, 10:40 PM
There is a good write up on how to make a nice support here: http://www.wakesiderides.com/viewArticle.php?id=154

My concern with this design is that it appears to be designed more for light-weight summer needs rather than what is needed for heavy winter snow.

I came up with an inexpensive set up that worked for me in the past. Using basic 2x4's I built an A-frame support for the front of the boat and one for the stern. I ran a 2x6 stringer down the length of the boat, fastening it to the A-frames at either end. I draped a tarp over the whole thing. (Sorry, but I didn't take pictures.)

Some considerations:
- you may need to create a 24' stringer by fastening 3 10' boards together (2' overlap).
- I supported the middle of the stringer by resting it on the windshield. You may need to come up with some support in the middle.
- you want the angle of the tarp as steep as reasonable so it sheds the snow easily
- make sure the A-frames are anchored well to something. I was able to clamp them to the boat trailer.
- tie the tarp down well. Wind will be an issue.
- make sure the summer cover is secured well too. You will want some breathing room between the two tarps so you don't get trapped moisture causing problems with mold.
- check it out after heavy snows and sweep off excess snow build up if necessary.


This set up was not my first choice, but it got me through one year when I did not have another good option (had 3 boats and indoor storage for only 2.)

Good luck.

Maristar210
10-17-2005, 11:01 PM
Man I hate to sound like a *** but if you can afford an MC, you can afford a few hundred bucks to cold store it. The downside to storing it outside is not worth the savings, scrape up the cash if you have any way to do so.

Good Luck - Steve

NeilM
10-17-2005, 11:59 PM
Man I hate to sound like a *** but if you can afford an MC, you can afford a few hundred bucks to cold store it. The downside to storing it outside is not worth the savings, scrape up the cash if you have any way to do so.

Good Luck - Steve

Ouch! There's no way I can afford covered storage here, if I could find it.

I built a frame out of 2" CPVC VAC Pipe, a few 30 degree elbows, and lots of tees. It supports the centreline of the tarp. I wish I had a pic, but it's all covered up now for the winter...

H20skeefreek
10-18-2005, 07:45 AM
Man I hate to sound like a *** but if you can afford an MC, you can afford a few hundred bucks to cold store it. The downside to storing it outside is not worth the savings, scrape up the cash if you have any way to do so.

Good Luck - Steve
maristar, that is not necessarily the case, and kind of a dick comment. I bought an old MC for the reason that I didn't have the money for all of the other stuff. I'm currently having to pinch every penny just to get PP for next season. It'd really set me back if I had to come up with a winter storage option that cost a few hundred bucks, and I hadn't been planning for it. Maybe the boys contemplating 2006 MC's can swing it, but us boys with older boats can't, funny how that works??

PointTaken
10-18-2005, 08:36 AM
Man I hate to sound like a *** but if you can afford an MC, you can afford a few hundred bucks to cold store it. The downside to storing it outside is not worth the savings, scrape up the cash if you have any way to do so.

Good Luck - Steve
Probably better to just answer the question he asked than to give him financial advice which he didn't ask for.

bigmac
10-18-2005, 08:37 AM
My concern with this design is that it appears to be designed more for light-weight summer needs rather than what is needed for heavy winter snow.

I came up with an inexpensive set up that worked for me in the past. Using basic 2x4's I built an A-frame support for the front of the boat and one for the stern. I ran a 2x6 stringer down the length of the boat, fastening it to the A-frames at either end. I draped a tarp over the whole thing. (Sorry, but I didn't take pictures.)

Some considerations:
- you may need to create a 24' stringer by fastening 3 10' boards together (2' overlap).
- I supported the middle of the stringer by resting it on the windshield. You may need to come up with some support in the middle.
- you want the angle of the tarp as steep as reasonable so it sheds the snow easily
- make sure the A-frames are anchored well to something. I was able to clamp them to the boat trailer.
- tie the tarp down well. Wind will be an issue.
- make sure the summer cover is secured well too. You will want some breathing room between the two tarps so you don't get trapped moisture causing problems with mold.
- check it out after heavy snows and sweep off excess snow build up if necessary.


This set up was not my first choice, but it got me through one year when I did not have another good option (had 3 boats and indoor storage for only 2.)

Good luck.

Tarp over a PVC frame is pretty dicey when we're talking about snow load. Potential for collapse is high, IMHO.

Biggest thing about storing outside IMHO is mold. Day/night temp changes are going to promote condensation inside. I'd try to do some active ventilation process, like a continuous blower or a bunch of silica gel, or a couple of West Marine Turbo Heaters. I had a buddy last year that took the blower part of one of those inflateable Halloween pumpkin yard decorations and ran it into his boat under the trailer cover/poly tarp with some dryer hose. If you added a Turbo Heater...

RickDV
10-18-2005, 08:45 AM
Maybe I missed it, but what's your typical snow load like? Anchored PVC with a peaked roof/tarp would likely be fine unless snow might collapse the whole thing.

Biggest thing about storing outside IMHO is mold. Day/night temp changes are going to promote condensation inside. I'd try to do some active ventilation process, like a continuous blower or a bunch of silica gel, or a couple of West Marine Turbo Heaters. I had a buddy last year that took the blower part of one of those inflateable Halloween pumpkin yard decorations and ran it into his boat under the trailer cover/poly tarp with some dryer hose.

Our average annual snowfall in Grand Rapids, Mich. is 72". With the setup I used that year there was plenty of air flow between the big blue tarp and the fitted boat cover. If I had used shrink wrap air flow would have been an issue, but it was not a problem in my case.

east tx skier
10-18-2005, 11:06 AM
I don't know how it'd hold up under heavy snow, but I've seen these fiberglass bows in the Overtons catalog recently. Apparently, they clip onto the rup rails. Sounds like you may be looking for something a bit more sturdy though.

With the pvc, I think it might work, but you'd want to go with thicker pipe for the vertical support and more of 'em. Put additional supports along the motor box and keep the ribs closer together. Sort of a strength by numbers approach. Good luck, and welcome.

RickDV
10-18-2005, 12:06 PM
Keep in mind too, that just like you dress yourself in the winter, you need to "layer up." The fitted boat cover by itself, no matter how well supported, is not sufficient, IMHO.

Maristar210
10-18-2005, 12:23 PM
maristar, that is not necessarily the case, and kind of a dick comment. I bought an old MC for the reason that I didn't have the money for all of the other stuff. I'm currently having to pinch every penny just to get PP for next season. It'd really set me back if I had to come up with a winter storage option that cost a few hundred bucks, and I hadn't been planning for it. Maybe the boys contemplating 2006 MC's can swing it, but us boys with older boats can't, funny how that works??

Good Point. My apologies. It sounded like a dick comment now that I read it but I did not mean it to sound that way, sorry.

Steve

JDK
10-18-2005, 12:48 PM
Does anyone have any pictures or directions on how to build a support for the winter?


Forget about a PVC frame or cover bows. I don't think some of our southern friends have any idea how much 12" of we snow weighs (let alone 3 or 4 feet).
I'd buy a couple of sheets of 3/8" plywood, lay them acrross the cockpit sideways, and trim one end off so they lay flat on the gunnels (and don't stick out over the side of the boat). You could stick some duct tape to the botton side of the plywood that lays on the gunnels to prevent scratches.
Then cut some 2"X2" stock to length to use as support props under the plywood to stop the snow from bowing down under snow load. After you've got the 2X2" proping up the plywood, put a drywall screw through the plywood and into the end them to hold them in place.
I'd start laying this plywood out at the back of the boat and fit it all the way up the windshield (you'll have to cut out a hole for the motor box). Then I would use a few more 2X2 vertical supports (held by screws) to transfer the snow load to the floor instead of the windshield frame.
I'm thinking you should be able to do this for price of 3 or 4 sheets of plywood and 5 or 6 eight ft. 2"X2"'s. cut to into shorter lengths.

east tx skier
10-18-2005, 02:24 PM
With that much plywood, you could almost build a boat stall.

captkidd
10-18-2005, 02:46 PM
While the plywood idea sounds o.k., wouldn't the weight of all the snow be a lot for the boat and trailer to support? I don't have this problem so I can't speak from experience, but it seems that the idea should be to direct the snow off the boat.

The 2x4 idea seems like a better solution, but I would try to go with some sort of A-frame set up. Use 2x4's that angle up from the ground on each side and then meet in the middle. Screw them together in the middle, and then put 1x4's or 2x4's down the length of the frame (running perpendicular with the boat centerline) near the top, and also another set near the bottom (it would help to have some in the middle too). I would put them on 24"-36" centers and then put a tarp over the whole thing.

Years ago when I was living in a mobile home and needed a place to store my expensive new ski boat (priorities man, priorities), I built a 2x4 framed shelter and covered it with a huge tarp. I used PVC bows to support the roof, each connected by using a 4-way (or was it two tees?) PVC fitting at the top with a piece of PVC between them. We had a few snows, but nothing like you folks up north, so I don't know if the PVC would be strong enough.

JDK
10-19-2005, 12:45 AM
With that much plywood, you could almost build a boat stall.

Who cares. 3 sheets and the 2X2's might cost 60 bucks. Pretty cheap winter protection....and once you've got them cut out, you can re-use this stuff year after year.

east tx skier
10-19-2005, 11:43 AM
Sorry, the tongue in cheek avatar wasn't available. Just a joke.

I think bikewv cares.

;) ;) ;) ;)

bikewv
10-19-2005, 11:51 PM
:) I am very surprised by all the immediate ideas on how to build a winter shelter for my boat. Thanks again for your help. I am going to get some friends to help me with this project. I will send pictures of the completed project.

I can afford winter storage but I choose not to lay down the money. I have a few other items I spend money on: 4 vehicles, 2 Motorcycles, 3 bicycles, 2 kids and a wife. I also forgot to mention the dog, cat and fish. And :toast:

Anyway I used to have a Cuddy Cabin with a radar arch. I stored the boat outside with a tarp over it and never once had a problem with snow or mildew. But the set-up produced a very steep V and the snow and water would drain or slide right off. This is not the case with my Prostar.

Thanks once again.

Jeff
"bikewv"