Selecting a fabric for covers, tops and awnings requires some tradeoffs. Marine fabrics boast many great properties, so how do you choose? We all know that weather affects fabrics, so thinking about the climate where you live and boat can help pinpoint the features that are most necessary for you.
Two properties that tend to top the list of boat canvas features are UV resistance and chafe resistance. The importance of these traits depends a lot on where you live and how much time your boat spends on the water. Take a look:
Coastal and Offshore Sailors
If you sail on the coast or offshore, the number one feature in a cover or boat top fabric for you would be UV resistance. The sun is harsh on the coast and boats are typically in the water year-round, so any fabric used must be able to stand up to all those UV rays. For the best resistance to UV, we recommend Sunbrella Marine Grade fabrics. To provide extra chafe protection, add patches of Shelter-Rite Vinyl in high chafe areas.
When sailing in an area with four seasons, your boat gets a break from the weather during the winter months and the sun isn’t as hot as it is on the coast. For inland sailors, the priority of fabric shifts from UV resistance to chafe resistance. A good chafe resistant cover will last a long time for inland sailors and it doesn’t require the extra work of reinforcing patches. For the best chafe resistance, we recommend Sur Last or Maritime fabrics. You can increase the UV and water resistance of your fabrics with a coat of 303 Fabric Guard.
Remember, not all outdoor fabrics are suitable for a marine environment. For example, Waverly Sun N Shade and other fashion outdoor brands are made for occasional outdoor use and not to hold up to the extremes of a marine environment. Be sure to look at fabrics in the context of their recommended uses.
Now you’re armed with one more tool to help you make the perfect fabric choice for you! If you’re curious about how all of our outdoor fabrics’ features stack up, check out our Outdoor Fabrics Selection Guide.
See our full selection of outdoor fabrics for all climates at www.sailrite.com.
What is most important to you when selecting a fabric for your boat? Share your thoughts in the comments!