I thank you for your input. I did think about the winter squatters as I have a nasty mess in the garden shed every spring. I actually may consider a sheet metal cover now that you have mentioned it. I also never thought about the hatch covers. That is a good plan. This is my new baby. It is more boat than I ever expected to own so I am going to be an overly protective parent. My present canoe has never had this treatment. Cheers!