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Stability at sea

January 1, 2017

Redesigned nylon para sea anchor provides unmatched strength and support for a new oil vessel. Fabric’s wide-ranging aquatic capabilities are often observed above water in the form of sails, for example, or inflatable and flexible boating structures. When put to work beneath the surface, dependence on its strength is just as—if not more—critical, succeeding only …

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Five climates, five approaches

November 1, 2016

Weather and water conditions dictate how regional shops make enclosures for exacting customers. Local geography can define a business. In the case of marine fabrication shops, locality factors into everything from work schedules to choice of materials. Whether the shops are based in the subtropical heat of Florida or the often-chilly climate of the Great …

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Finding shelter in fabric

May 1, 2016

Alaska Structures® Inc. recently completed a contract for 365 new and improved U.S. Air Force Medium Shelter Systems. The United States Air Force (USAF) is no slouch when it comes to providing quality equipment, supplies and shelter for its ranks. The military branch recently invested more than $15 million in a Medium Weight Shelter Systems …

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Innovation on the water

April 1, 2016

Adding comfort, performance, style and durability to boats, inside and out, through the advantages of the latest marine textiles. Sun and water are the iconic companions of leisure and recreation. (Think lounging on a boat, salty sea spray misting your face, sun warming your skin … ) But if you’re a marine fabricator, those same …

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Full coverage

Tips and trends in travel and mooring covers. Every boat owner wants to be on the water as much as possible. Even on shore, however, protection from the elements is crucial. Good mooring and travel covers protect the finish, upholstery and interior/exterior environments of boats. A custom cover ensures a good fit, proper ventilation and …

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Sailing the ocean blue

March 1, 2016

Leo Pohlmann, owner and designer of Uncharted Marine Canvas, Gulf Breeze, Fla., has been serving the Gulf Coast’s boat canvas and marine upholstery needs for more than 25 years. Recognized by the Marine Fabricators Association for his achievement in design, Pohlmann’s business objective of providing customers with cutting-edge material and design products has been a …

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Powering up

September 1, 2015

The demand for inflatables used for shelters, rescue and training is strong and growing, as new applications for a well-known but developing technology attract more attention worldwide. Air is a powerful force. Properly harnessed, it can be completely transformed, becoming an integral player in products that serve all manner of purposes, from strictly fun to …

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Estimating for profit: Where to begin

Understanding the customer’s unique wants and requirements goes to the heart of successful custom projects. Larry Schneider, owner of Homestyle Awning & Upholstery in Bay View, Wis., recently worked on a project that seemed fairly simple—adding screens to a car trailer so the customer could sleep in it. After talking it through with the customer, …

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A healthy living

Inflatable products need not be oversized to have a big impact; small can be mighty, especially when it comes to inflatables designed to provide relief on an individual basis, such as those popping up in wellness centers, hospitals, nursing homes and even on clothing racks and in closets. Here’s a quick overview of three companies …

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Shade sales: Just add water

March 1, 2015

The resurgence in boating and the concern over sun safety have been a boon for marine fabricators offering products that protect and beautify without spoiling the fun, or the view. People are taking to the water in record numbers, encouraged in part by plummeting gas prices. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, approximately 89 …

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Beds of stone

February 1, 2015

Case studies highlight marine mattress applications. Marine mattresses are rock-filled containers constructed with advanced UV-stabilized co-polymer geogrid materials. Geogrid panels are laced together to form mattress-shaped baskets that are filled with small stones similar to the construction of gabions. They can also be filled with recycled concrete aggregate to form an effective protective layer against …

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Riding a wave

June 1, 2014

Marine fabricators are swamped with projects for boat owners, from vintage renovations to custom upgrades for new boats. The boating market has always been a good indicator of economic health and consumer confidence in the U.S. Nearly 90 million Americans participate in recreational boating, generating some $83 billion in annual spending. Even while sales of …

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The next steps

Carol Racine takes on one challenge after another as she and her husband build a business and make plans for a sewing school. “I know my limitations—but I’m always challenging those limits,” says Carol Racine, president of Racine Design in Jacksonville, Fla. “I don’t let the fact that I haven’t done a certain type of …

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Making an artful dodger

February 1, 2014

Jason Iverson’s approach is anything but business as usual. Jason Iverson is passionate about his business. It’s obvious when he talks about the details of his designs and how he works with his customers. He has been able to combine two of his passions—product design and sailing—to launch Iverson’s Design Inc., a successful business designing …

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Powered retractable roofs for boats

January 1, 2014

Boat builders and buyers want convenience on a vessel in which both invest time and money, and automated power roofs are becoming a must-have. Taylor Made Systems, Gloversville, N.Y. and its partner company, Ameritex Fabric Systems, Bradenton, Fla., have the boating industry covered, literally, with a new range of glass and canvas power sunroof systems …

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Net gains: saving marine life

Interface Inc., a worldwide designer and manufacturer of carpet tiles and environmental recycling champion with European headquarters in Paris, France, recently joined “Healthy Seas, a Journey from Waste to Wear” program to recover and re-use abandoned fishing nets. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), there are approximately 640,000 tons of abandoned fishing nets …

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Restoring the USS Iowa

August 1, 2013

The USS Iowa patrolled the ocean from World War II until it was mothballed in 1990, the last battleship in the world to be retired from service. At the USS Iowa’s new home at the USS Iowa Battleship Museum, San Pedro, Calif., the restored version is on display, along with statistics about the ship’s fast …

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Rising economic tide for boaters

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) reported a 10.7 percent increase in retail sales of new power boats and sailboats in 2012, demonstrating that a rising economic tide lifts all boats. The figures, part of NMMA’s annual U.S. Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract, show that 37.8 percent of American adults, or 88 million people, are expected …

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Dave Elliot shows strength in economic turmoil

Dave Elliot distinguishes his business from the competition by slowing down and keeping strict standards. By Sigrid Tornquist “The past years’ economic challenges have not been a problem for my business—in fact, I think they’ve made my business even stronger because I’ve separated my business from the competition,” says Dave Elliot, owner of David’s Custom …

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Marine fabricators translate skills to other markets

June 1, 2013

Upselling works with marine fabrication skills that transfer to other applications. By Barb Ernster Terri Madden moved to Puerto Rico 18 years ago and established a marine fabrication business servicing the marina located near her shop, Sand Sea and Air Interiors Inc. in San Juan. In the entrepreneurial spirit, she was determined to grow her …

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Underwater tenting helps advance marine science

Clear vinyl pyramids are proving to be a valuable tool for checking reef health. By Lynn Keillor It may seem that Dr. Nichole Price has a job in paradise: cruising between remote tropical, often deserted, islands in the South Pacific, doing a bit of diving and pitching tents. As a postdoctoral researcher at the Scripps …

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Dorsal LLC creates sailing sunrise

[Dorsal LLC] Sturgeon Bay, Wis., U.S.A. The owner of a 30-foot Sea Sprite boat wanted the appearance of sunrise over the water for the craft’s sail. Dorsal LLC created a custom-designed solution with Challenge’s Fibermax 44, a ¾-ounce ripstop nylon. The sail is a classic-type spinnaker that uses a spinnaker pole for stabilization. Dorsal also …

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Recacril’s lasting quality

May 1, 2013

Recacril®, a 100 percent solution-dyed acrylic for awning and marine applications, is treated with a special process where nanoparticles completely cover the surface of the fibers, forming a permanent coat to ensure the lasting quality of the fabric. After treatment, both the surface and the inside of the fabric are permanently protected against dirt buildup …

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Fabrics that resist the elements

Eclipse laminated and reinforced PVC can be configured with a variety of treatments and is available in a variety of embossed finishes to suit the market and end use. For static tarpaulins, sporting goods, such as landing mats, fumigation covers, tents and awnings. Sentinel coated and reinforced PVC is customizable to suit your market and …

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Enduratex fabrics have look of tweed

Berwick Tweed replicates the look of real tweed fabric and, because of the brushed loop backing, the hand is soft and supple like fabric. It’s the newest line in the British Ale Collection, launching with 20 new SKUs. Enduratex provides vinyl-coated fabrics to the automotive, hospitality, marine, health care and spa industries. FORBID, the recently …

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Better-than-new boat seats

April 1, 2013

[Sand Sea and Air Interiors Inc.] San Juan, Puerto Rico When the owner of a high-profile speedboat wanted a total replacement of its exterior upholstery, Sand Sea and Air Interiors used a vinyl with silver-ion technology for a striking look and durable finish. The seating area had both exposed and recessed hi-lo cushions that could …

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Cindy Boersema adapts to the unexpected—and succeeds

Cindy Boersema takes an unexpected partnership dissolution and builds a sound sole proprietorship. By Sigrid Tornquist “I think the most significant lesson I’ve learned over the past couple of years is not to get too comfortable,” says Cindy Boersema, owner of The Nautical Needle in Holland, Mich. “Being a business owner is not about relying …

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Cockpit enclosure offers maximum visibility

March 1, 2013

[Bennett Custom Canvas Inc.] Toronto, Ont., Canada A very tall client wanted a redesign of a full center cockpit enclosure on a 46-foot steel ketch to provide maximum height inside for visibility. He also wanted a waterproof fabric for the roof, sturdy framework and easy functioning panels for the front window, entry points to the …

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Rigid enclosure provides offshore comfort

[Riverside Covers] Fort Myers, Fla., U.S.A. An avid fisherman, who regularly travels 30-40 miles offshore for his sport, wanted to be able to travel in the comfort of an air-conditioned helm. Riverside Covers was hired to fabricate a three-sided rigid enclosure for the helm area on 375 Pursuit made with 80g impact, modified clear rigid …

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Dramatic power boat redo

[Marine Concepts] Osage Beach, Mo., U.S.A. A customer of Marine Concepts hired the company to completely customize his high performance power boat, giving it a distinctive look to suit the boat’s Dragon logo. To do that, the company also made carbon fiber dash panels and side panels for the boat to match the carbon fiber …

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Trends in marine style

The push and pull of tradition and fashion keep fabrics and fabricators in touch with customers. By Dara Syrkin The first quarter of each year is rife with predictions. Will the clothing color trends you see in Sunday newspaper advertisements appear in your customers’ boats? Maybe. Has technology responded to boat owners’ needs and desires? …

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Folding, stacking yacht sunroof shades boaters

February 1, 2013

Designers and builders of yachts 35 to 130 feet long want the wind at their backs, the sun on their faces and a canvas sunroof that retracts and folds automatically. Trend Marine Products, Norfolk, England, produces glass and glazing solutions, carbon fiber skeletal roofs and roof drive systems for recreational boats. OEM yacht designers and …

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‘Safe to Sea’ gear goes overboard

January 1, 2013

The Spanish fishing fleet is the largest in the European Union, employing approximately 80,000 sailors, most working on small vessels with few crew members. Sailors falling overboard due to a boat’s slippery deck, sudden change of direction or shift in equipment face life-threatening peril—especially without safety gear. Scio IT, a Spanish research and development company …

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Shade on the water

Marine fabricators craft unique shade systems for boat owners. By Holly O’Dell A decade ago, shading on boats was relegated to permanent or semi-permanent structures. Marine fabricators, however, started to experiment with removable shade structures, and boaters got on board. “With all the concern about sun exposure and skin cancer, shade tops have really come …

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Marine fabric that remains soft and flexible

New Breakwater X™ interpolymer alloy remains soft in punishing environments and offers a 10-year warranty. The fabric does not rely on plasticizers to remain soft and pliable; it retains all the advantages of a lightweight fabric and offers maximum resistance to prolonged exposure to salt water, heat and UV radiation. Breakwater X meets ASTM standards …

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Olympic rowing boat features carbon-reinforced fabric

August 1, 2012

While world-class athletes are the central focus of London’s 2012 Summer Olympic games, innovations in clothing and equipment help athletes go farther and faster in competition. The Dutch Rowing Federation and Olympic Team Netherlands tapped into the material expertise of DSM, Heelen, The Netherlands, to build a rowing boat that would power past other crews. …

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Set sail in a folding fabric boat

[Ecole Cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL)], Switzerland Created by Thibault Penven, a student at ECAL, the Ar Vag (which translates as “boat” in Brittany) is a folding fabric vessel with oars. Designed for use as a shuttle between the shore and a larger vessel, it functions well on a lake or in quiet seas for …

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Jeri Perillo turns walk-in requests into revenue

Jeri Perillo has had her share of odd walk-in requests—followed by growing revenue streams. By Sigrid Tornquist “The relationships we’ve built that have resulted in revenue streams weren’t something we went looking for; they came to us,” says Jeri Perillo, president of Custom Canvas of Charleston in Charleston, S.C. “And I think that if you …

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Full coverage for HMS Queen Elizabeth

July 1, 2012

It’s been a landmark year for Queen Elizabeth II as she celebrates 60 years as England’s monarch, hosts the 2012 Summer Olympic Games and has the Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier christened the HMS Queen Elizabeth in her honor. A company based in Southampton, England, brought its talents to this trifecta, manufacturing covers to protect …

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Dramatic restoration of boat cockpit

June 1, 2012

[Paul’s Custom Canvas Inc.] Denver, Colo. Paul’s Custom Canvas designed and fabricated the new upholstery for the cockpit of a used 32-foot Fountain boat, following the client’s own design idea, including the Fountain logo on the headrests and back sun pad—upholstered rather than embroidered for a long-lasting impression. Due to its complexity, the logo pattern …

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Classic sailboat makeover

[Iverson’s Design] Olympia, Wash. Iverson’s Design created the plan for a complete cockpit enclosure on a sailboat, including dodger, bimini, connector panel and sunshade mesh enclosure panels. All components of this enclosure are removable so the boat owner has a variety of options. The company also outfitted it with side and back grab rails, integrated …

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Boat enclosure features blend of material

[SeaCanvas] Egg Harbor Township, N.J. Sea Canvas was asked to recreate a four-sided enclosure using some soft, polished sheet vinyl and some EZ2CY acrylic window material. The client requested rigid windows forward, soft vinyl with U-zippers on the sides, and a roll-up aft door and aft mid windows. Looking to change to tracking on the …

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Chandler Clark beats the recession with hard work and ingenuity

May 1, 2012

Chandler Clark relies on hard work and ingenuity to build a thriving business during the recession. By Sigrid Tornquist “In the Navy they call it deckplate leadership,” says Chandler Clark, owner of Signature CanvasMakers in Hampton, Va. “It’s a leadership style that involves teamwork, common sense and taking care of your people—and I try to …

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Grand Cayman and Aqua Gun: marine upholsteries from Rochford

April 1, 2012

Nautolex Grand Cayman, finished with easy-to-clean protective PreFixx, is a durable marine upholstery fabric. Resistant to staining, abrasion, and scuffing, it is suited for both indoor and outdoor marine applications. Aqua Gun, solution-dyed 840 denier polyester, combines the fade resistance and softness of acrylic with the strength and weather resistance of polyester. Offered in multiple …

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Sattler presents Nautex products, PVC-coated fabrics

Designed for boat covers, Nautex coated vinyls includes PVC-coated Oceanic 613, treated to offer protection against UV radiation and adverse weather conditions. Available in three colors. Covermaster 697 is PVC-coated on one side of a tightly woven polyester base fabric. Waterproof to more than 1,000mm, it is lightweight for easier handling and available in 12 …

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NMMA Canada boating statistics report

March 1, 2012

In 2011, 38 percent of Canadian adults went boating, a statistic that should make marine textile manufacturers take notice. This is one of many statistics available from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) Canada, a leading trade group for recreational boating, which recently issued its first Canadian Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract for 2010 and 2011. …

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Polycarbonate sheets for marine windows

October 1, 2011

Makrolon polycarbonate sheets for marine windows are now available from Tri Vantage®, packaged and shipped economically and safely. Manufactured by Bayer MaterialScience, Makrolon offers glass-like clarity, outstanding impact strength, superior dimensional stability and excellent thermal resistance. It can be sewn into a number of marine enclosures, and is recommended for marine applications that include large …

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Spradling Softside marine vinyl offered in three new patterns

August 12, 2011

The Miami Corp., a distributor to the automotive, contract and marine interior and exterior trim products for both manufacturing and aftermarket companies, now offers Spradling Softside® marine vinyl in three new patterns. The new Zander, Marlin and Beluga patterns all have the Permaguard® barrier coating, a stain resistant top coat. Samples of the new patterns …

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Keith Purves customizes tools to streamline projects

August 1, 2011

By Sigrid Tornquist “It’s usually after I’ve banged my head a few times when facing a problem that I think: There’s got to be an easier way,” says Keith Purves, MFC, owner of Riverside Covers in Ft. Myers, Fla. “And then I just try it.” About five years ago Purves and his wife took over …

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U.S. marine fabric market in calmer waters

The U.S. marine fabric market hit rough seas during the recession, but solid improvement is underway. By Jeffrey Rasmussen Although the U.S. marine fabric end product manufacturer market has experienced negative annual growth since 2008, it is now working its way toward firmer footing in 2011. The marine market hit with an economic downturn in …