Custom-made winter covers, typically canvas or synthetic, are a terrific benefit to your boat's gelcoat and general well-being. Some skippers mistakenly believe that biminis, which shield the crew from glaring sun, will also protect the boat from freezing rain and snow. Quite the contrary — expensive biminis tend to get ripped apart or age prematurely while doing nothing to protect the boat. Biminis should be stowed below, or better yet, taken home and cleaned over the winter.
More frugal skippers seem to think that a few tarps stitched together with a spiderweb of lines qualify for winter duty. In the first serious storm, these end up shredded, and in their death throes they often deposit large amounts of snow and ice into the boat they are supposed to be protecting.