Boating Basics Online is reader-supported. When you buy via our links, we may earn a commission at no cost to you. Learn more

How Much Does It Cost to Shrink Wrap a Boat? – Updated in 2023

Written by J. Harvey / Fact checked by S. Numbers

how much does it cost to shrink wrap a boat

Shrink-wrapping is an important measure for any boat going into storage. However, it is known to be an expensive option. Just how much does it cost to shrink wrap a boat?

The cost changes depending on the length and dimensions of a boat, from an estimated $8 to $25 per foot. Let’s take a look at how this estimate changes and a brief overview of what shrink-wrapping entails.

Keep reading to learn more.

Shrink Wrap Boat Cost


The cost of shrink wrapping a boat will vary based on the length and dimensions of the boat. Even when two boats have similar lengths, it is still likely that the total cost of shrink-wrapping would differ for each.

On average, boat shrink wrap cost per foot will be around $8 to $25. The type of boat you have will also affect prices, with an increase of up to $3 per foot if you leave the mast raised on a sailboat.

1. Factors affecting price

Other factors affect shrink wrap prices, and the ones that usually matter the most are the height of the rail, the width, and height of the boat itself. The effect of the boat’s dimensions on price should be somewhat easy to see since there will be a larger surface to wrap.

The rail affects the price because ideally, the boat is shrink-wrapped up to a certain point of the hull with the rail included.

Another point that greatly affects the price is the quality of materials. The quality of plastic may increase the average price by as much as $3 per foot, and the choice of material to help tie down the shrink wrap can also add to cost.

The durability of the shrink wrap will vary greatly depending on material quality, with cheap wrapping tearing easily.

2. Professional Services

The fee for hiring a professional also greatly increases boat shrink wrap prices. Since shrink-wrapping a boat involves using heat to apply the wrap, it makes sense to have someone who has a vast amount of experience performing this sort of task, and that sort of professional expertise does not come cheap.

Choosing to be stingy and ending up with a damaged boat is not something any boat owner would want to experience.

Various other services may be necessary when shrink-wrapping a boat, and each of these services will incur an additional fee. Depending on each boat, installations such as lights or antennas may need to be removed or adjusted.

Boat Shrink-wrapping

Shrink-wrap is made of a plastic material, most commonly polyethylene, that resists UV and is designed to be weather-resistant. It is used in a variety of ways and is used to protect a boat when it is brought in for storage, for winterization, or if it is expected to be unused for long periods.

Pros and Cons of Boat Shrink-wrap

1. Pros

  • Offers the best protection for boats
  • Effectively seals out dirt and weather elements
  • The least amount of maintenance is necessary

2. Cons

  • Expensive compared to other options
  • Prone to problems if not used correctly

How a Boat Is Shrink-wrapped

The first step is to clean and dry a boat entirely before the shrink-wrapping process, including any storage space or drawers. It’s also important to remove any potential source of moisture on board such as personal flotation devices or any item that may have leftover water or moisture.

Any item that may attract insects or pests should also be removed, along with batteries and electronics.

Center support, usually made of wood, should be placed at the center of the boat and padded or carpeted. This support also creates the necessary angle to allow water and snow to easily slide off the shrink-wrap surface.

The shrink-wrap is placed over the boat and should reach up to a certain part of the boat’s hull. It should be well-vented to help prevent any buildup of moisture. This venting is placed in specific key areas.

The shrink-wrap is exposed to heat using a heat gun or a torch to tighten the shrink-wrap on the boat, with any holes patched using shrink-wrap tape.

A cord or tape is used running from one side of the shrink wrap to the other going under the boat. Boat shrink-wrap that has been applied and removed properly may be reused.

Frequently Asked Questions


1. Is it necessary to shrink-wrap a boat?

It is not required to use shrink-wrap, but it is important to protect the boat if it will be stored, transported for long distances, or will be unused for a while. There are other options too, but shrink-wrapping is arguably the best way to protect a boat.

2. Are there alternatives to shrink-wrapping a boat?

The most common alternative to shrink-wrapping a boat is to use a tarp instead. As a cover, a tarp is durable and can effectively shield a boat from dust and weather elements. Its biggest drawback is that it may come off easily and not be able to properly seal the boat, which means you will have to check on it often.

3. What problems may arise from improper shrink-wrapping of a boat?

Shrink-wrap that is not properly applied may allow moisture build-up that can cause damage or mildew. It also involves the use of heat, and improper use of this heat may cause damage to a boat.

Other problems include pests or a buildup of water on the boat due to rain or snow.

4. Should I consider shrink-wrapping a boat myself?

Only consider doing so if you have experience with shrink-wrapping and you are confident in your skill. As stated above, the damage that may be caused to a boat can be costly.

If your only reason for wanting to do the shrink-wrapping yourself is to bring down the cost, it’s better not to do it since shrink-wrapping tools along with materials will usually cost a lot.

However, if you want to try shrink-wrapping boats, it’s a good idea to start with less expensive boats. Start small and move on to bigger boats as you gain more experience.


You now have a basic understanding of the shrink-wrapping process, including some problems that may arise if it was not done properly.

Don’t forget to share what you’ve learned to anyone asking how much does it cost to shrink wrap a boat. Please leave your comments and suggestions below.

Remember to boat safely.

5/5 - (3 votes)