How to make a boat cockpit cover

Updated February 21, 2017

All of the maintenance, preparation and expense that goes into preparing a boat for an outing can be jeopardised by a good downpour into the boat's cockpit. The mess and potential costly damage can be avoided with a cockpit cover.

Unroll the butcher paper on top of the cockpit. Tape it into place and trace around the edge of the cockpit with the pencil to make a pattern for the cockpit cover.

Tape the paper pattern onto the marine canvas. With the chalkboard compass, draw a chalk line around the paper pattern that is 3-1/2 inches from the edge of the paper. Change the setting on the chalkboard compass to 2-1/2 inches and draw another line around the pattern. This line will be 1 inch smaller than the first line and marks the finished edge of the cover.

Cut the marine canvas along the larger line that was drawn first. Turn 1 inch of the edge of the cloth under all the way around the cover to form a double-thickness of material. Pin the edges in place and sew the hem with the sewing machine.

Use the Lift-the-Dot cutting punch to install the Lift-the-Dot clinch plate and sockets in the centre of the double thickness of material. Begin at a rear corner of the cockpit cover and work around the edge of the cover, placing one clinch plate and socket every 12 inches around the edge.

Lay the cockpit cover in place on the port gunwale and, through the hole in the clinch plate and socket, mark the gunwale using the China marker. Move the cover and screw one Lift-the-Dot screw stud in place. Go to the starboard gunwale, pull the cover tight and repeat the marking process for one clinch plate. Again, move the cover and screw one Lift-the-Dot screw stud in place.

Snap the cover down on the two Lift-the-Dot studs and repeat the process (pull tight, mark, screw) for every clinch plate and socket all the way around the cockpit, snapping the cover in place as you go.


A chalkboard compass is available from school supply stores.

Things You'll Need

  • China marker
  • Lift-the-Dot clinch plates and sockets
  • Lift-the-Dot screw studs
  • Lift-the Dot cutting punch
  • Scissors
  • Cotton or vinyl marine canvas
  • Heavy-duty sewing machine
  • Butcher paper for pattern
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About the Author

Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.