Industry News

STEP Award nominations close Oct. 5, honor women in marine manufacturing

September 20, 2018

The Manufacturing Institute 2019 STEP Ahead Award nominations are open through October 5, honoring women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in science, technology, engineering and production (STEP) careers. STEP Ahead Award honorees hold positions at all levels of manufacturing, from the factory floor to high-level executive, and illustrate the widespread impact women have on …

Industry News

IFAI announces new Textile Career Center

September 19, 2018

The Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) has announced a new online career resource: the Textile Career Center. This new initiative will offer IFAI members, and the industry at large, an easy-to-use and highly targeted resource for online employment connections. For job seekers, the Textile Career Center will serve as a tool to find and apply …

Industry News

Renamed Makrolon polycarbonate now Tuffak

September 18, 2018

Plaskolite LLC, which recently acquired the Covestro polycarbonate sheet business, has launched Tuffak® Polycarbonate Sheet, a premium polycarbonate sheet product formerly known as Makrolon®. The name is the only change–the product itself and all manufacturing processes will remain the same. Tuffak polycarbonate sheet is used in marine windows, automotive parts, security glazing, sign and lighting …

Industry News

Beckman joins Losberger DeBoer

September 17, 2018

Losberger DeBoer, Frederick, Md., has named Justin Beckman West Coast sales representative. He joins Losberger DeBoer with almost 20 years of event and tent experience. Starting as a stagehand, Becker migrated to the event rental world in college. After attending Colorado State University, he owned and operated a tent and event company in the Sioux …

Industry News

Marine education scholarships available

September 13, 2018

The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA) Educational Foundation has kicked off the 2018 application process for its six scholarships and the Darlene Briggs Marine Woman of the Year Award. The award and scholarships, which will be presented during the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, Dec. 9-12 in Orlando, Fla., are intended to financially …

Industry News

Prize competition seeks boater safety solutions

September 11, 2018

The U.S. Coast Guard Ready for Rescue Challenge is a $255,000 prize competition seeking boater safety solutions that will help make it easier to find people in the water. The first phase of the three-phase competition is a “call for concepts” that are effective, affordable and hold the potential for wide adoption by recreational boaters. …

Feature Members only content

The boat design process is a lengthy one

September 7, 2018

According to Sam Shimanek, a designer at Marquis-Larson Boat Group in Pulaski, Wis., there are some years the company doesn’t undergo model year changes. When it does, the process usually starts about six months in advance. “The first few months are getting design ideas drawn up,” Shimanek says. “Next we start to pick out new …

Industry News

Mentor Meetings at IFAI Expo

September 6, 2018

Need confidential advice? IFAI is now offering a fully endorsed mentorship program at IFAI Expo 2018. Professional consultations are available by appointment during show floor hours. Book a 30-minute meeting with an impressive lineup of industry experts! This opportunity is open to all attendees and exhibitors and free with any registration type.   Why Seek Mentorship? Mentors become trusted advisers …

Feature

Fabricators can nudge boat owners toward a newer look

September 5, 2018

Boat owners may upgrade because of innovations they’re seeing on new boats just hitting the water. But sometimes boat components wear out and need to be replaced. That’s where fabricators can play a role in steering their customers to an updated look for their vessels. “The biggest challenge in renovating interiors is getting the customer …

Interior

How to find, hire and train new employees

September 1, 2018

Most marine fabricators have specialized skills honed over decades. Some were privileged to grow up in a family business. Some of the women fabricators I know learned to sew by making their own clothes and were taught by a mother or grandmother. I’ve always thought if you could sew a collar or an armhole from …

Feature Members only content

The boat design process is a lengthy one

September 7, 2018

According to Sam Shimanek, a designer at Marquis-Larson Boat Group in Pulaski, Wis., there are some years the company doesn’t undergo model year changes. When it does, the process usually starts about six months in advance. “The first few months are getting design ideas drawn up,” Shimanek says. “Next we start to pick out new …

Feature

Fabricators can nudge boat owners toward a newer look

September 5, 2018

Boat owners may upgrade because of innovations they’re seeing on new boats just hitting the water. But sometimes boat components wear out and need to be replaced. That’s where fabricators can play a role in steering their customers to an updated look for their vessels. “The biggest challenge in renovating interiors is getting the customer …

Feature

Boat upgrades on the horizon

September 1, 2018

Driven by Comfort, durability and a splash of color Henry Ford is famous for promising back in 1909 to make the Model T in any color, “as long as it’s black.” The same could be said (more or less) of white in the boating world, as least for most of recent history. But today, in …

Feature

Design trends 2019

September 1, 2018

OEMs and fabricators—partners in progress As the marine vessel market becomes ever more competitive, the winners in the industry will be fabricators who stay on top of current and future design trends—offering innovative design solutions that go beyond service to deliver an exceptional product for both the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with whom they partner …

Feature

Balancing the benefits and drawbacks of automation

September 1, 2018

It’s always important to measure the return on investment (ROI) of any purchase—especially in the areas of equipment. The challenge is to balance the capabilities (and availability) of equipment and employees as automation and technology drive the future of the industry. Canvas Innovations in Holland, Mich., focuses on custom marine canvas and upholstery products, says …

Feature Members only content

High-tech tools for high-tech marine covers

July 5, 2018

Tim James, co-owner of digiShapes™ LLC in Kent, Wash., is a software developer with an interest in marine canvas. His company takes 3-D measurements of entire boats, which are then converted into automatic boat covers. Its SwiftShield™ system consists of a hydraulic mechanism and a tight-fitting fabric cover that is lifted up and over the …

Feature Members only content

Recommended fabric cleaning products

July 1, 2018

Fabricators play an important role in teaching customers to keep their boats in shape. It’s pretty simple. People buy boats because they want to have fun. The reality, however, is that work—the opposite of fun—is required to keep any watercraft in tip-top condition. Therein lies the rub. “A lot of boaters don’t want to do …

Feature Members only content

Better job costing for better profits

July 1, 2018

Working with numbers may not be your cup of tea, but it’s critical to the success of your business. It’s a fairly safe bet that not many fabricators started their operations because they wanted to work on spreadsheets. But like it or not, when you hang out a shingle, only part of your work will …

Feature Members only content

Coping with material failures and client confusion

July 1, 2018

Material meltdowns, client confusion and the wrath of Mother Nature create challenges for fabricators that require savvy skills and teeth-gritting determination. Nearly every marine fabricator has stories about projects that went awry and failed to meet demands in one way or another. It might be thread that doesn’t hold up, a mooring cover tearing loose …

Feature Members only content

Liz Diaz creates marine interiors and homeless shelters

May 1, 2018

Liz Diaz designs inspired boat interiors—and is applying that expertise to bring shelter to the homeless. Having a really good life is not financially driven. It’s inspiration driven,” says Liz Diaz, MFC, owner of North Beach Marine Canvas in San Francisco, Calif. “Working on and around the water is a singularly lovely employment. I am …

Industry News

STEP Award nominations close Oct. 5, honor women in marine manufacturing

September 20, 2018

The Manufacturing Institute 2019 STEP Ahead Award nominations are open through October 5, honoring women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in science, technology, engineering and production (STEP) careers. STEP Ahead Award honorees hold positions at all levels of manufacturing, from the factory floor to high-level executive, and illustrate the widespread impact women have on …

Industry News

IFAI announces new Textile Career Center

September 19, 2018

The Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) has announced a new online career resource: the Textile Career Center. This new initiative will offer IFAI members, and the industry at large, an easy-to-use and highly targeted resource for online employment connections. For job seekers, the Textile Career Center will serve as a tool to find and apply …

Industry News

Renamed Makrolon polycarbonate now Tuffak

September 18, 2018

Plaskolite LLC, which recently acquired the Covestro polycarbonate sheet business, has launched Tuffak® Polycarbonate Sheet, a premium polycarbonate sheet product formerly known as Makrolon®. The name is the only change–the product itself and all manufacturing processes will remain the same. Tuffak polycarbonate sheet is used in marine windows, automotive parts, security glazing, sign and lighting …

Industry News

Beckman joins Losberger DeBoer

September 17, 2018

Losberger DeBoer, Frederick, Md., has named Justin Beckman West Coast sales representative. He joins Losberger DeBoer with almost 20 years of event and tent experience. Starting as a stagehand, Becker migrated to the event rental world in college. After attending Colorado State University, he owned and operated a tent and event company in the Sioux …

Industry News

Marine education scholarships available

September 13, 2018

The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA) Educational Foundation has kicked off the 2018 application process for its six scholarships and the Darlene Briggs Marine Woman of the Year Award. The award and scholarships, which will be presented during the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, Dec. 9-12 in Orlando, Fla., are intended to financially …

Industry News

Prize competition seeks boater safety solutions

September 11, 2018

The U.S. Coast Guard Ready for Rescue Challenge is a $255,000 prize competition seeking boater safety solutions that will help make it easier to find people in the water. The first phase of the three-phase competition is a “call for concepts” that are effective, affordable and hold the potential for wide adoption by recreational boaters. …

Industry News

Mentor Meetings at IFAI Expo

September 6, 2018

Need confidential advice? IFAI is now offering a fully endorsed mentorship program at IFAI Expo 2018. Professional consultations are available by appointment during show floor hours. Book a 30-minute meeting with an impressive lineup of industry experts! This opportunity is open to all attendees and exhibitors and free with any registration type.   Why Seek Mentorship? Mentors become trusted advisers …

Industry News

NOAA updates 2018 hurricane season forecast

August 30, 2018

Seasonal forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center have increased the likelihood of a below-normal Atlantic hurricane season to 60 percent, which is up from 25 percent in May. The probability of a near-normal season is now at 30 percent and the chance of an above-normal season has dropped from …

Industry News

Kyle Van Damme achieves MFC Certification through IFAI

August 28, 2018

Kyle Van Damme, Marine Tops Unlimited, Omro, Wis., achieved Master Fabrics Craftsman (MFC) in Marine in August 2018. This certification recognizes Damme’s superior knowledge of business and organizational management in the specialty fabrics industry. Damme has been an IFAI member since 2003 and won a 2018 Marine Fabrication Outstanding Achievement Award for the project Crownline …

Industry News

New powerboat registrations up through June

August 24, 2018

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) New Powerboat Registrations Report shows that new powerboat registrations were up 2.3 percent on a rolling 12-month year-over-year basis (R12M YOY). Sales of tow boats, cruisers, freshwater fishing boats, yachts and personal watercraft remain strong; all were up on an R12M basis YOY. Highlights from the report include: Freshwater …

Products

New products

September 1, 2018

These latest products are changing the marine fabricator industry. Want to see your products here? Email: erbernick@ifai.com. Temperature resistant Designed to resist the harshest environments, Stamskin One handles extreme temperatures (-58°F to 302°F) and is insensitive to UV radiation and water. Formulated by Serge Ferrari, the elastomer gives it an ultra-soft touch and “peach skin” …

Products

Tips for keeping marine fabrics clean and protected

July 3, 2018

Care and maintenance of clear vinyl products, especially those like Strataglass® that are coated to be scratch-resistant, requires cleaning methods using specific cleaning and protection products, according to Craig R. Zola, vice president for marketing and distribution at Herculite® Products Inc., parent company of Strataglass, based in Emigsville, Pa. In the harsh marine environment, it’s …

Fabric & Film

Lightweight durability

July 1, 2018

For marine applications, gazebo covers, patio furniture covers, tarps, canopies and campers, Top Notch 1S is a 100 percent solution-dyed polyester fabric with a clear urethane back coat. At 60 inches wide, 7.4 oz. per sq. yd., it offers exceptional strength, durability, water resistance, tear resistance, abrasion resistance and UV- and mildew-resistance. Because it is …

Equipment

Seam sealer

July 1, 2018

Most fabrics are only as waterproof as their seams. For boat covers, awnings, rucksacks and other outdoor gear, Iosso’s Seam Sealer keeps moisture where it belongs—on the outside. It forms an effective, invisible seal against water intrusion without altering the color or feel of the material. It prevents leaks on cotton, cotton blend, polyester and …

Hardware & Findings

Quick-release fasteners

July 1, 2018

Loxx® Fasteners are durable self-locking quick-release fasteners precision engineered from brass and stainless steel. Versatile and reliable in the harshest environments, these fasteners are appropriate for marine, architectural, cover and tarp, and industrial fastening applications. They are easy to install by simply punching a hole and screwing on the mating washer. There is no need …

Fabric & Film

Tear-resistant vinyl

July 1, 2018

AquaFloat 32 is a premium coated fabric (32 oz. vinyl) formulated for inflatable boat and raft applications, with excellent tear and tensile strength to resist punctures and hold air. With treatments for UV protection and mildew resistance, in a semi-gloss finish, it is available in a wide variety of fade-resistant colors popular in the recreation …

Fabric & Film

Classic leather looks

July 1, 2018

Made exclusively in the U.S., Naugahyde® products deliver superior performance fabric solutions for the marine, recreational and automotive markets. Naugahyde Surfside is strong and durable, easily maintained and is resistant to fading. It is ideally suited for marine and outdoor seating as well as trim/door panels, auto trim, RV/van upholstery and other applications. www.rexpeggfabrics.com

Fabric & Film

Versatile polyester

July 1, 2018

Aqualast HD is resistant to mildew and UV radiation, providing extra protection for boat covers, awnings, bimini tops, storage and furniture covers, and camping enclosures, among many other uses. The heavy-duty, 100 percent solution-dyed polyester fabric has a urethane coating, is offered 60 inches wide, and comes in 12 popular colors with a 5-year warranty …

Products

New exterior roller shades color

March 15, 2018

Phifer Inc. has added a new color to its SunTex® 95 exterior sun control line. The new hue, Stucco, joins the current range of nine neutral color options in this fabric collection designed specifically for exterior roller shade applications. Made from vinyl-coated polyester, the line is thinner and lighter weight than traditional SunTex fabrics. Blocking …

Equipment

Lighter thread snips

March 1, 2018

The ECO thread nipper is a lighter weight thread snips from Kretzer that offers a new feel to snipping threads. Traditional thread snips require the user to pick up and adjust the grip, because the finger has to be placed in the ring before snipping. With these new snips, the user simply picks them up …

Interiors & Upholstery

Window Treatment Trends

July 1, 2017

Interest in window coverings for marine applications has experienced a rebirth of sorts and more consumers, fabricators and designers are using innovative window treatment designs. When Krisha Plauché, owner of Onboard Interiors in Marblehead, Mass., is fabricating drapery for a stateroom, she often uses blackout applications, but Plauché has found that lining drapery with a …

In the Shop Members only content

Fresh updates for older vessels

January 1, 2017

Most interior fabrication projects occur on fixer-uppers. The vessel might be vintage or it might be less than ten years old. While I always welcome the challenge of doing a better design than the original, there is a fine line between aesthetics and practicality. After all, the boat needs to be both comfortable and secure …

How-To Articles Members only content

Constructing snow flies for the Alaskan climate

January 1, 2017

Our winters in Fairbanks, Alaska, can be cold or very cold with lots of snow or little snow; it all depends. One condition we don’t see often is wind. In my 26 years of living here, I can remember only one time when the wind blew and the snow flew. Most of our snow falls …

How-To Articles

Meticulous prototyping leads to attractive cylinder cushions

September 1, 2016

Over the years I have been asked to fabricate several unusual items. I never know if that item will be a one-hit wonder or will become a customer favorite. In most cases, I create prototypes that help me creatively solve design challenges. I charge a prototype fee of a few hundred dollars to develop and …

How-To Articles

Marine fabricators meet customers’ window wish lists

August 1, 2016

When making boat windows for customers, marine fabricators often have a specific set of requirements of their materials. “Our fabricators require a sheet that is easy to handle, durable and can be cut and sewn easily without fear of damaging the product,” says Lyle Shipley, product manager at O’Sullivan Films, Winchester, Va., for O’Sea and …

How-To Articles

Complex and compound frame bending

July 1, 2016

Incorporating unconventional design into dodgers and biminis. I often suggest that my customers try to think out of the box when envisioning what their boats can look like. I tell them, “If I have done my job properly, the cover will become part of the boat.” Take a spray dodger, for example. I generally recommend …

Interiors & Upholstery

The art of project management on contour cushions

July 1, 2016

Marine fabricators are a unique group of craftspeople and business owners. Many of us are familiar with the notion that creative pursuits are right-brain activities, while math and logic are left-brain activities. As marine fabricators, we utilize the right sides of our brains for design solutions that meet customers’ aesthetic and practical expectations. At the …

Interiors & Upholstery

Restyled sleeping cabins

May 1, 2016

Interior sleeping cabins on a vessel have always been my favorite projects. I enjoy researching options and ultimately providing customers with tidy solutions that offer easy accessibility. Cabin spaces and mattresses come in all shapes and sizes. One of my clients claims to sleep 14 people on his 54-foot Bertram with only three interior cabins, …

How-To Articles

Lazy Jack – stack pack sail covers

March 1, 2016

These names are some of the descriptions for a process of suspending sail covers. I started making these Lazy Jack covers 20 years ago, as a progress/advance of the Lazy Jack rope system, designed to help flake a main sail as it is put away. The idea was to connect the rope to a sail …

Interiors & Upholstery

Elegant performance in stripes

March 1, 2016

Stripes come in every color, shape and size. A two-color stripe can even be juxtaposed to form an eye-catching pattern. Striking stripe patterns can be matched or combined with solid colors to provide dramatic effects for your next project. Stripes are more popular than ever. Sunbrella likes them so much, subtle as well as dramatic …