Real Review: Yamaha Genuine Parts GP1800 Watercraft Cover

Prior to writing this product review, we joked that we should make it a tutorial on how to properly install a personal watercraft cover on your Yamaha WaveRunner, because – and we’re not joking – we’ve seen people struggle with this. So, we sorta did (see the pics and captions). All joking aside, we thought it an appropriate time of year (at least for you folks north of the equator) to start discussing winterization. Although we think you’re a yellow-bellied coward for putting your ski away for such a large chunk of the year, we can understand not wanting to push your new runabout across the surface of a frozen-solid lake. It doesn’t sound like much fun.

A major portion of your winterization process is protecting your investment from scratches, debris, dirt, dust and any other contaminants over these long months of hibernation – and that means buying a PWC cover. Listen, this might not be super exciting stuff but there’s a lot that goes into making a decision like this. For you brand-loyal types, purchasing an official Yamaha WaveRunners PWC cover through Yamaha Accessories’ webstore is a no-brainer. But priced at $259.99 (at least for the cover specifically tailored for our 2018 GP1800), you more frugal types might be looking to go “off brand”.

Above: In certain cases, we only suggest the officially-licensed products, like Yamaha Genuine WaveRunner covers.

Above left: Each official Yamaha WaveRunner PWC cover is specifically tailored to fit the ski as snugly as possible. That means fitment over the handlebars is going to be tight, and should be the first place to begin. Above center and right: With the cover over the handlebars, begin working the cover over the bondrail, starting at the nose and traveling around the perimeter of the ski.

Here’s why we say don’t; you get what you pay for. We’ve found more affordable PWC covers, but the material used is often thinner, harsher, poorly assembled or literally sewn out of dufflebag canvas. Yamaha‘s WaveRunner covers are designed to help protect your watercraft‘s appearance first and foremost. Each cover features superior construction and materials to help provide long life as well as a custom fit and are constructed from a ultra-durable Sur Last solution-dyed polyester. for superior protection against the elements. It’s non-abrasive, water-repellent, UV, mildew, and rot resistant.

Sure, the Yamaha PWC cover comes in stylish colors and graphics to match your ski, but there’s also something else that we like more than anything else: you can trailer your WaveRunner with it still on and without strapping it down. Yamaha calls it Vacu-Hold, which basically means that the breathable fabric allows air to travel below the cover’s surface at highway speeds and safely evacuate through two specially engineered vacuum vents incorporated into the cover.

Top left: With the cover over the bars and nose, we worked the cover over the rear of the bench and passenger handrail. Top center and right: Working our way down and around, the rest of the cover went on easily. Bottom row: The Yamaha Genuine Parts WaveRunner cover features soft clips that snap to the underside of the bondrail, air-exacuating vents, and made with mold, mildew and water-resistant materials.

At speed, the negative pressure created keeps the cover tightly in place. That means less aerodynamic drag, reduced air-induced stress on the seams, no rippling, flapping, whipping, scuffing or strap damage to hulls. It’s a patented design, so that’s why you won’t see it on cheaper competitors’ covers either. Yamaha instructs that before using this cover the first time, the elastic band must be adjusted to be as tight as possible. To tighten, simply install cover, locate the elastic knot at the front, pull it tight and retie. (Adjust if it’s too tight to be removed.)

Because of the special, non-abrasive material, maintenance instructions are pretty straightforward: clean with a sponge and mild soap in cold water, rinse and allow to drip dry. No harsh detergents, bleach or hot water. And do not machine wash or dry. The cover does come with a warranty against defects in material and workmanship for 90 days from the date of purchase, so put it on as soon as you get it to make sure everything checks out first. Yamaha also includes additional tie down loops that may be used when trailering behind a vehicle or in case of high crosswinds.

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Kevin Shaw

Kevin Shaw

Editor-in-Chief – Kevin Shaw is a decade-long powersports and automotive journalist whose love for things that go too fast has led him to launching The Watercraft Journal. Almost always found with stained hands and dirt under his fingernails, Kevin has an eye for the technical while keeping a eye out for beautiful photography and a great story.

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