Tow Boat With Cover ON? – Pros & Cons

There are several hotly debated topics when it comes to boats, and one of those is it better to tow your boat with the cover on or off.

Just like with many other debates, there are some pros and cons to each one that we’ll cover in this post.

Can You Tow Your Boat With The Cover On?

You can tow your boat with the cover on it, and it will not be a problem for most people.

There are many benefits to having the cover on your boat when towing it, but there are a few negatives that we need to cover. Some of these pros and cons can vary for every type of boat, so ultimately it’s a personal decision.

Pros – Towing With Cover On

Here is a list of the pros that come with having your cover on your boat when towing it behind your truck.

  • The inside the boat stays cleaner.
  • The boat is more aerodynamic which saves you on gas when towing.
  • Keeps seat cushions from flying out.
  • Easier to store and hide towables under the cover and not worry about them.
  • Keeps other loose items in the boat, like coolers, as you go down the road.
  • It’s often cheaper to replace the cover than fix a broken glass or damaged fiberglass of the boat. Rocks will hit the canvas cover and not glass or fiberglass that would be under the cover.
  • You don’t have to put the cover back on when you get to your destination.
  • Inside the boat stays cleaner.

Cons – Towing With Cover On

Now time for the cons of towing your boat with the trailer on it.

  • The cover can scratch your boat as it flaps around in the wind.
  • The cover can come off if not secured enough and cause an accident.
  • The cover will get worn out quicker.
  • It’s harder to show off your boat when it’s covered. (it’s funny but true, you spent a lot on this boat, so show it off!)

Tow On or Off?

It comes down to personal preference, it’s just like the debate over whether it’s better to store your boat full of fuel or near empty. Both can be right, but one is more right for your situation.

What is interesting to me is that boats are shipped to the dealerships in covers, often cheap plastic covers with little soft padding. Granted, those covers are the same as mooring covers or other covers you get for your boat, but they are cheaply made covers made for one time use. Don’t be confused by shrink-wrapped new boats, a lot of them come from the factory shrink-wrapped, but many manufacturers are moving to a softer one time use shrink wrap that is more like a cover than a plastic wrap.

What I do is tow with the cover on the boat and for one reason that I, personally experienced. The cover keeps items in the boat, like seat cushions, from flying out. I had an older boat that the seat cushion were only held in by snaps and the wind knocked one loose, and it went flying.

The cover will scratch the boat a little, which can be an issue for special gel coats like on ski boats, but overall, it’s easier and cheaper to deal with than replacing the windshield. Also, a good wax on your boat will keep those scuffs down.

If I’m only going down the road I may leave the cover off, but overall, I tow with the cover on.

Water puddling on my covers has been a far bigger issue than the little scuff marks I may get when towing with my cover on.

How Far Can You Tow Your Boat With The Cover On?

You can tow your boat with the cover on until the cover comes off or breaks. There is no set limit to how far you can tow your boat with the cover on.

Should You Use A Travel Cover?

I’m of the belief that every boat should have a cover for it’s cover. A good snap on cover and a second cover to go over that cover for long term storage or even towing.

The snap on covers are expensive, why so many like to tow without them, but if you put a travel cover on your boat it tends to be more affordable and holds up better to the traveling.

You can get travel covers here. (Amazon Link Ad)

If you’re worried about scratching, you can use microfiber rags or moving blankets to keep the scratches to a minimum.

The perks of a travel cover is that it straps to the trailer, so it’s less likely to fly off. A travel cover also covers more of your boat than a standard snap on cover, so you could have this travel cover over your snap on cover for extra protection.

Tow With Bimini Top Up?

You should never tow your boat with the Bimini top up!

In fact, most manufacturers don’t want you driving with the Bimini tops up when the boat is moving. These tops are made to stand 20MPH or less of wind. These tops start to act like a parachute at higher speeds and will rip out, so tow with them down!