For those who are not able to keep their boat indoors during inclimate weather or the off-season, here’s a boat cover support frame idea made from PVC piping. I originally did the drawing in October 2005, but have still not gotten around to making it.
- 3/4″ or 1″ PVC piping. Available at most home improvement stores.
- 3/4″ or 1″ elbows, couplings, tee’s (enough to do the job for your particular boat)
- PVC glue
- Garden hose (explained in text below)
- Measuring tape.
1. The first step would be to determine how much material (piping, fittings) you will need. Using the 3/4″ or 1″ PVC will make it easier to form the arches, but will be rigid once all the pieces are connected and glued. Do not glue anything together until all pieces are cut, fitted, and the frame is complete. Adjustments may be required to get it “just right”.
2. To get the arch-shape of the pieces that will go from side-to-side, I suggest using a garden hose. You will need someone to assist you for this. Take your garden hose and shape it across the boat, forming an arch. Mark the hose at the points where it touches the sides (gunwale) on each side, then measure the distance between the marks. Continue doing this until you have written down all the measurements for the number of arches you will need. I would suggest numbering the pieces 1 through __?__, from front to back.
3. In forming/determining the arches, take into account any obstructions you may need to go over (windshields, trolling motor, etc).
4. To form the base of the framework use pieces laid flat on the deck inside the gunwales, and connect them using the tee’s, 45’s, and straight couplers as needed.
5. Take all the pieces and fit them together and make adjustment if needed. Ensure the framework clears any obstructions.
6. Have your glue handy and start fitting the pieces. If you’ve never used pvc glue, you need to know that once you apply the glue and fit the pieces together, you will not be able to make adjustments. The glue works that quick. Double-check everything before gluing!
7. There should be no need to tie-down or weight the framework down. The gunwales will act to keep it from sliding side-to-side, front-to-back. Put your cover over the frame work and tie it down as you usually do. The framework is designed to be removed off the boat as one piece. If you experience snow-loads in your area you may want to have additional arches included in the design, so as not to have any sagging between the arched from the snow. The boat cover support frame should be light enough for one person to install/remove from the boat.
(Concept sketches )