Upholstery shop creates custom pontoon cover

Published On: July 1, 2009Categories: Features, How-To Articles, Projects

One man takes on a pontoon cover that combines size with detailing.

The customer knew exactly what he wanted when he showed up at Bud’s Upholstery in Signal Hill, Calif., towing a well-kept 2006 Odyssey Tri-Toon.



“The stock boat cover on my Odyssey is getting tired,” he said. “I’d like a new, good-looking, custom cover…you know, full coverage, tailored…” And so on and so on.

The customer and shop owner Tom Benson spent the next hour discussing the details—concerns like the fabric, the color, the changes from the original stock cover, time the job would take and, finally and most importantly, the price.

When they were agreed on most aspects of the project, Benson directed the customer to a convenient spot to park the boat. He unhitched his trailer; the two shook hands and the customer was gone. In the small parking area beside the shop at Bud’s, the Odyssey looked like the Queen Mary without the stacks. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but the Odyssey measures 24 feet in length and 8½ feet in width. Creating a custom cover for it would be no small task for one man.

The job fell to one of the top pitchers in Bud’s bullpen, young and very talented Aaron Aguirre. Benson and Aguirre had their meeting about the details of the job and how they would proceed.



Sunbrella was the choice for the cover, especially since its limited warranty had recently been extended from five to 10 years and other warranty features had been changed to favor the customer. Tan Sunbrella would look good on the pontoon; it would stand up to the weather and it was priced reasonably. Benson left the other details of the project to Aguirre.

His plan was to prepare sections of the fabric so he could position them horizontally across the deck of the vessel, sew them together and, in so doing, create a cover that would completely cover the length and width of the vessel’s deck (standard Sunbrella comes at 60 inches wide). He then planned to cut openings in the fabric for the primary protrusions, the ten stanchions for the two bimini sunshades.