How to Repair a Tear in a Canvas Boat Cover

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While temporary repairs can be made using sail repair tape, these repairs won't last through a winter season in a harsh climate, particularly when the cover may be subjected to the ultraviolet radiation in sunlight, which will cause the adhesive in the tape to break down, or long periods of cold, which will make the tape brittle. Making a permanent repair to a damaged or torn canvas boat cover requires only a needle and thread suitable for canvas and uses one of the basic skills of a seaman: sewing.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring Tape
  • Scissors
  • Canvas
  • Sailmaker's Needle
  • Sailmaker's Polyester Thread
  • Use the measuring tape to measure the size of the damaged area. Use the scissors to cut a square or rectangular patch slightly larger than the damaged area from canvas that is the same weight and material as your boat cover.

  • With a sailmaker's needle and polyester sailmaker's thread, whip-stitch the edge of the patch with an oversewing stitch to keep it from fraying. Sew the patch over the damage on the outside of the cover by stitching around the edge of the patch with a backsewing stitch.

  • Turn the cover over and trim most of the damaged area away. Leave at least a 1/2-inch overlap of material between the new patch and the area you cut away.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sail repair tape can be used for temporary repairs, but will give way eventually.
  • This project involves sharp tools. Appropriate caution is advised.

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