Boats, especially the ones with an open deck or cockpit, are really great during sunny outings, but can be a real problem during an unaltered downpour. A boat's outer hull is designed to handle water, but the inside, can only take on a limited amount. As a precaution, it's always wise to have a boat cockpit cover handy. Most boat and marine supply shops will carry the usual covers but you are not necessarily limited to them, especially if you are one of those that leans on the side of individuality. This guide will help you make your own. Things you will need First off, making your own cover will be a nice winter project while you have the boat in storage. You will need a few things to get you up and running, and almost all of it you will be able to find at your local marine supply shop or hardware store. Otherwise a quick search online will get you all you need. You will need butcher paper to use as a template for your cover, get a good supply of this, especially if this is your first stab at making your own cover. You need a heavy fabric marker as well as erasable charcoal crayons. The fabric marker will delineate it onto the canvas, while the crayon will be used on the butcher paper when making the template. You will also need a pair of chalkboard compass and off course the marine canvas. Some masking tape, heavy duty scissors and sewing machine will also be required. Steps to Complete Now it's time to get started. The steps to get your cover are fairly simple and just requires a little forethought and some organization skills. Begin by laying out the butcher paper across the cockpit and tape it in place with the masking tape. This step will determine the fit and shape. Trace an outline of the gunwale along the butcher paper using the crayon. Lay the marine canvas on a clean floor and remove the uneven creases resulting in a fairly flat lay of the cover template. Place the butcher paper on the canvas with the markings facing up. Spread the butcher paper out so that there are no gaps and tape it to the canvas at intervals. Keep the paper fairly taught. Use the chalkboard compass to trace a two and a half inch margin (to the outside) paralleling the existing trace of the gunwale. And do the same to another, one inch from the second trace. Use the heavy-duty scissors and cut along the outer, chalkboard compass trace (the second trace totaling four and a half inches from the original gunwale trace.) Remove the butcher paper and what you are left with is the shape of your cover. There are now two chalk lines left on the canvas. The original shape of the cockpit and the other is the margin of three and a half inches. Beyond the second line there should be an inch of canvas. Fold this inch in and sew it with the sewing machine. The newly sewn hem would give you a sturdy, double layer platform to install the lift-the-dot clinch plate. Use the lift-the-dot cutting punch to install the plate in the center of the hem. Locate one corner of the cockpit in the rear and line up your boat's cockpit cover to match the shape you drew. Then locate the corner and install one of the clinch plate and socket. Work our way around the entire boat cockpit cover and place a clinch plate and socket every twelve inches. Lay out the boat's cockpit cover over the cockpit and use the marker to mark the gunwale through the hole of the socket. Remove the cover and install a Lift-the-dot stud in place. Place the boat's cockpit cover back on and place the hole onto the newly installed stud. Stretch the opposite end of the cockpit boat cover and install another stud through the hole and leave the canvas in place. Continue installing the studs, alternating between the port and starboard sides, each time holding the canvas taut. Until the last stud is installed. Wrapping Up Congratulations. You are almost done. Remove the boat cockpit cover and replace it again making sure that the fit is neither loose nor stretched.