How to Protect Boat Enclosure Curtains

Spring is here and if you haven’t got on your canvas shop’s list, you’re LATE.

Before you pull the trigger on a new enclosure you need to make a few decisions.

1) Do your existing curtains fit good and is the border material in good shape?

  • If yes, you could put new clear in the existing curtains. This will normally cost near half the price of new curtains. Have new zippers and fasteners put in too and you will have a set of curtains that will last 4 years or so. (For half the cost!)
  • Another advantage to re-glassing your curtains is time. Usually these can be fit into a busy schedule and get done quicker.

2) List anything you want to change from your existing enclosure. This can be done with a re- glass or new. Are you getting enough air? You may want to add smiles or u-zips. Maybe your front curtains take too much water through the zippers and you may want to omit them this time.

  • You can fold up your front smiles to the top or electronics box. Rolling any curtain up with straps will always scratch your curtains over time. Side curtains normally must be rolled up so make sure the curtain straps have a protective material on them.

There are also more choices available for the types of clear vinyl available. On the ocean you need to get 40 Ga Clear for both durability and clarity. Ask your canvas shop about choices like Strataglass or O-Sea. These clear vinyls are about double the material cost of regular clear, but have an extra protective coating that makes them more scratch resistant. They can still get scratched but are proven to not scratch as easy. Also, ask about Tenara or Gortex thread. These new threads are UV resistant and will last much longer.

If you decide on new curtains, now is the time to change the configuration if need be.

  • Do your existing forward side curtains go back far enough to provide good air when the smiles are rolled up? You may want to move them forward and omit the smile.
  • Can you get to your outriggers easily?
  • Do you want to install a teaser reel?
  • Do you want to add things later?

If you own a center console, you may want wing curtains that attach at the gunnel. They should angle back to at least the front of your helm seat but don’t go too far back. There is usually a rod holder nearby. We have found that folding the wings forward is much better than rolling them up. They won’t get scratched and you can still get around them if need be. You may want them completely off but available.

3) To protect your new or reglassed curtains, check out the Clearstow Boat Curtain Storage Bag.

They were originally designed for wing curtains, but are now being used for any clear vinyl curtain to stow away safely in smaller spaces. Fishing boats, pleasure boats, including sailboats all have enjoyed protecting their curtains with the Clearstow bag.

Whatever type of boat you own and before you meet with your canvas shop, sit down on your boat (with a favorite beverage, pad and pencil) and think of the times you wanted to change something about your curtains. Tell your canvas shop that you may want to add wing curtains or a backdrop in the future. You may want to add smiles later. All this information helps your canvas shop give you a better job catered to your needs.

Most importantly, have a great boating season. You’ve invested in it!