Should I cover my boat every night?

Last Updated on October 1, 2022

Boat covering is very important as it saves your boat from an early ruin and your pocket from recurring costs on fixing things. For boats left outside, they are exposed to the natural elements and the environment so keeping a cover on at night is a good way to go.

You might not need to cover your boat if you store them indoors except they would be there for an extended period. No doubt we see many boats at the dock left uncovered all night, it might not be a problem but covering your boat every night is actually beneficial.

Covering every night depends on some factors such as the season, the weather, and where you are. So if you are asking our team at Boating Buddy whether or not to cover your boat at night, keep reading.

Why you should cover your boat

Once you are not using your boat, it is very much advised to cover it. On the other hand, if you are keeping your boat outdoors, keeping a cover on even at night is necessary. There are several advantages to covering your boat, especially at night. These include;

Protection from weather elements

Except you are very sure it is not going to rain or that no form of precipitation would form on your boat overnight, keeping a cover is a safe thing to do. Rain, snow, mist, and sleet can be very dangerous to your boat. For one, the constant settling of water can cause rusting of the metal parts.

Overnight precipitations can cause mildew, mosses and encourage some fungi which could be messy, stinky, and smelly especially when left for a prolonged period. For the wooden parts of the boat, you could have rotting and decay of the wood. Even if rain is forecasted, there could be a change, so why take chances with your boat.

The constant mixture of water and atmospheric particles like dust could leave some permanent stains. Although the night seems quiet, across seasons, it is different. If your boat is left all night acquiring water and then brought under the sun during the day, you risk having faded paint very soon.

Insects, critters, and animals

If you store your boat outdoors, you would agree that nighttime, especially close to water, is the perfect time critters and snakes slither out. The boat, already left by you, creates a cool and encouraging environment for them to hide. If you are not careful, this might be risky when you want to set out the next day.

Usually, there is a lot of light around the dock and lights attract insects. Many of these insects can get into your boat if you leave it uncovered at night. Also, if you store your boat in a damp environment for example if your boat is anchored at the docks there is the possibility of tiny sea creatures coming on board.

These uninvited guests can be really disturbing during your next trip. They can also lengthen clean up the next time you are getting ready to set out.

In some instances, some animals could even excrete in the boat during the night. Asides from the extra task this creates, it can be way too cumbersome and stinky to handle.

Dust and Debris

Dust in outdoor storage is very common and very deadly, especially for the engines and the mechanical parts of the boat. The effect of dust can be neglected but in the long run, it accumulates and damages the engine, moving parts, grooves, and hinges much earlier than it is supposed to develop a fault.

Debris from surrounding trees or brought around by the wind can be easily deposited in an uncovered boat. Yes, the forecast might not indicate rain or a storm but the wind could easily move trash around into your boat.

For boats that are docked in areas where there are trees, it is not uncommon to pick up twigs and branches from your boat the next morning. There is often no way you can know that twigs are going to be dropped and that they would litter your boat floor and the seat.

To maintain the overall cleanliness of the boat, it should be covered at night.

Tips for covering your boat at night

It is important to dry out the boat before you cover it especially if it would be staying that way for a long time. Try getting a boat cover with a vent so all the water vapor accumulated during use can evaporate. Condensation if left in the boat can make the boat smell and feel stuffy and smelly. If you cover for a longer time, mildew and mold would soon be formed.

To combat this, remove all the water in the hull after taking the boat out of water. If you have carpets and rugs in the boat, it would be nice to take those out too so they can be properly aired before covering. You could also leave the boat to dry out for about an hour or two before you cover it up.

For faster drying, you could try using a blow dryer to dry up the moisture in the boat. This step is also very vital if you are just covering for a night.


Whether or not you should cover your boat at night depends on you, the weather, and where you are docking. Many boaters do not cover their boats at night but that does not mean it is the acceptable thing. You should cover your boat at night to prevent climatic and elemental factors from damaging the boat.

An uncovered boat is an open invitation for all kinds of insects and would create an additional task for you the next time you want to use it. Covering a damp boat can be more detrimental than you think. Notwithstanding, you should make sure your boat is in the right condition before covering it.