How to Shrink Wrap a Boat

boat in shrink wrap
  • 2-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 300-500
What You'll Need
Shrink wrapping kit for boat
Installation kit
Support poles
Bubble wrap
Heat gun

There are many precautions to take to winterize your boat, and using shrink wrap is one of the most effective ways to finalize the process. Leaving your boat out in the elements is not a good idea—winter weather can cause significant damage.

Following these steps after you get your boat home or to your storage facility will keep your boat preserved until you are ready for it the next boating season. Shrink wrapping your boat is a big job, but it can be done quickly, and it's much cheaper to do yourself. This is not a one person job, though, so have a couple of friends available.

Step 1 - Gather Supplies

Visit your favorite boat supplies store and purchase the shrink wrap and installation kit. Don't forget your accessories such as the support poles, strapping lines and heat gun.

Step 2 - Prepare Your Boat

Use bubble wrap as padding for your boat's sharp corners and any area of the boat that could puncture the shrink wrap such as windshield wipers.

Step 3 - Place Support Poles

Strategically place support poles throughout your boat and attach strapping lines to the poles. Ensure that poles and lines are sturdy enough to support the pressure from the shrink wrap. Secure the lines to the bow, stern and sides of the boat.

Step 4 - Unroll Shrink Wrap

Stand on one end of your boat and hold the shrink wrap while a friend unrolls it. Shrink wrap has static electricity so be sure that it doesn't touch the ground and attract dirt and debris. You will want the shrink wrap to to come down right above the boat's waterline.

Step 5 - Apply Heat

Once the shrink wrap has been applied to the entire boat, you will need to use the heat gun to heat the shrink wrap. This process will cause the shrink wrap to tighten over your support poles and to the sides, front and back of your boat. For a perfect wrapping, start from the bow of the ship and heat the wrap from the waterline upward.

Move your heat gun in sweeping motions to effectively secure the shrink wrap. After covering the entire boat, use your ladder to get to the higher planes of the structure and using the same method to shrink wrap the top of the structure.

Step 6 - Inspect the Job

Walk the entire boat to check for any accidental holes you may have left. If there are any, you will need to patch the holes with the patching tape included with your shrink wrap kit. To keep out any mold or mildew, install a few self adhesive vents will do the job.