Industry News

New training videos for MFA members

July 17, 2018

A variety of short training videos are now available for marine fabricators who are new to the industry or are looking for a techniques refresher. The Marine Fabrication Association (MFA) how-to member videos include a six-part series on bimini tops and a three-part series on frame bending, among others. The videos were produced by the …

Industry News

NMMA spearheads new efforts to combat Asian carp

July 12, 2018

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is redoubling its efforts in the fight against Asian carp infiltrating the Great Lakes – an aquatic invasive species (AIS) that can damage native ecosystems. Last week, NMMA held meetings with Congressional officials and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) regarding the status of the Brandon Road Study, …

Industry News

Boating industry says it will take a hit from tariffs

July 10, 2018

After a blockbuster year, industry sources say a trade war could put the brakes on the U.S. boating industry. Several boat dealers in Minnesota have already reported higher prices on 2019 orders and wonder if more increases are on the way, according to an article in the Minneapolis StarTribune newspaper. U.S. boat sales were at …

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 …

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 …

Feature

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 …

Editorial

The busy season

July 1, 2018

Welcome to midsummer! Tis the season of abundant sunshine, early and late days and lots of hard work. The busy season can make or break a business. The requests come in fast and furious, and the tricky bit is making sure the finished projects meet your standards and your clients’ expectations. The fast pace makes …

News

MFA Pacific Northwest Regional workshop, Sept. 15

July 1, 2018

The MFA Pacific Northwest Regional workshop is being held on Sept. 15 at Oyster Creek Canvas Co. in Bellingham, Wash. This one-day workshop features marine education on full enclosures, rigid windows, solar panels and tips on streamlining your shop. It also offers a variety of networking opportunities. “MFA regional workshops provide the opportunity to see …

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 …

Business

Finding affordable tax and accounting help

July 1, 2018

How to find affordable, professional help when you need it. While most owners of small- and medium-size businesses know the details of their companies intimately, there are often highly technical matters of law, accounting, management and marketing that are best handled by outside experts. Attorneys, accountants, and management and marketing advisers have specialized knowledge about …

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

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

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

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 …

Feature Members only content

Diversifying beyond marine

May 1, 2018

There’s value in diversifying beyond boats for marine fabricators, like steadier work and income flow, but the move may not be smooth sailing for every business; careful evaluation is critical to avoid sinking. Business owners are often given conflicting advice. On the one hand, they are cautioned about the dangers of “putting all your eggs …

Feature Members only content

Makerspaces offer work-based learning for students

April 10, 2018

The CCC Maker Initiative, administered by Sierra College (www.sierracollege.edu) in Rocklin, California, is offering internships and work-based learning experiences for students through 24 California Community College makerspaces, where students gain technical, entrepreneurial and work-ready skills sought by employers. California Community Colleges participating in the CCC Maker (cccmaker.com) initiative to build makerspace communities are preparing students …

Feature Members only content

On the horizon for marine tension shades

March 13, 2018

Canvas shops around the country have seen an increase in demand for tension shades versus fixed-frame structures such as biminis. Boat owners like sun protection with less obstructive framing and the modern look of shade sails. Fabricators who have been installing tension shades are already looking at where the market is heading and where the …

Feature Members only content

Fasteners for marine tension shades

March 7, 2018

As more boat owners are having tension shades installed over decks for sun protection, marine fabricators have come up with various ways of attaching the fabric to poles. “The most common fastener is SnapFast® for hardtops,” says Tony Shaw, owner of Affordable Canvas LLC in Venice, Fla. “Sometimes we use keder track or webbing to …

Feature

Zipper tricks and techniques

March 1, 2018

Advanced tips and techniques for choosing and working with zippers in your projects. Providing an excellent end product is paramount to marine fabricators, and zippers play a vital role in the long-term functionality of everything from covers to cushions. But zippers can be tricky. Choosing the right one can be confusing, and working with zippers …

Industry News

New training videos for MFA members

July 17, 2018

A variety of short training videos are now available for marine fabricators who are new to the industry or are looking for a techniques refresher. The Marine Fabrication Association (MFA) how-to member videos include a six-part series on bimini tops and a three-part series on frame bending, among others. The videos were produced by the …

Industry News

NMMA spearheads new efforts to combat Asian carp

July 12, 2018

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is redoubling its efforts in the fight against Asian carp infiltrating the Great Lakes – an aquatic invasive species (AIS) that can damage native ecosystems. Last week, NMMA held meetings with Congressional officials and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) regarding the status of the Brandon Road Study, …

Industry News

Boating industry says it will take a hit from tariffs

July 10, 2018

After a blockbuster year, industry sources say a trade war could put the brakes on the U.S. boating industry. Several boat dealers in Minnesota have already reported higher prices on 2019 orders and wonder if more increases are on the way, according to an article in the Minneapolis StarTribune newspaper. U.S. boat sales were at …

Industry News

Whitehouse unveils new Bill to help Rhode Island manufacturers address workforce challenges and support innovation

June 30, 2018

Legislation provides funding for manufacturers to train employees and retain institutional knowledge U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse today joined Congressman David Cicilline and leaders in Rhode Island’s manufacturing industry to unveil new legislation to help manufacturers temporarily retain retiring employees to train a replacement and transfer their institutional knowledge. Whitehouse made the announcement at Cooley Group, …

Industry News

New powerboat registrations up

June 28, 2018

New powerboat registrations were up 3.6 percent on a rolling 12-month year-over-year basis according to the updated National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) New Powerboat Registrations Report. Sales of cruisers, tow boats, personal watercraft, saltwater fishing boats, freshwater fishing boats and yachts all grew, indicating expanding growth. Highlights from the report include: • Cruisers, tow boats …

Industry News

Senate committee approves funding for recreational economic impact study

June 26, 2018

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee included funding for the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA) in its Fiscal Year 2019 Commerce, Justice, and Science bill. Lawmakers set funding for ORSA at $1.5 million, meeting the funding levels necessary to survey the economic impact of the outdoor recreation industry …

Industry News

Do new European data privacy regulations affect your business?

June 21, 2018

Many businesses in the U.S. assume the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) doesn’t affect them since it’s a European-based regulation. However, the boating industry is a global marketplace and it is quite possible that even small businesses will be affected by the new regulations, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) website: “Your customers …

Industry News

NMMA says Trump tariffs bad for boating industry

June 19, 2018

The Trump administration’s recently announced Section 301 tariffs of 25 percent on approximately $50 billion worth of select Chinese products include nearly 300 marine-related parts. National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) President, Thom Dammrich, is calling on the administration to withdraw the tariffs. “The U.S. recreational boating industry—a $39 billion industry that supports 650,000 American jobs—experienced …

Industry News

Free fishing guide for kids

June 14, 2018

The U.S. Department of the Interior, along with the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, recently published a new free booklet to help kids get hooked on fishing. The Junior Ranger “Let’s Go Fishing!” activity booklet introduces kids and their families to fishing and encourages healthy and responsible outdoor recreation. Kids …

Industry News

Free social media boating content available

June 12, 2018

Discover Boating, a public awareness effort managed by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), is offering a new free resource to provide relevant boating lifestyle content for marine fabricators’ Facebook business pages. This new social media content program, called Get Social with Discover Boating, is available to industry stakeholders in the U.S. and Canada at …

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 …

Hardware & Findings

New marine hardware options

March 1, 2018

Trivantage has added SolaMesh hardware to its shade sail and structure product offering. This new line of hardware complements SolaMesh fabric with a wide range of D-rings, shackles, stainless steel rope, rope connections and mounting options for all installations. SolaMesh hardware offers eye-on-eye, jaw-on-jaw and hook-on-hook turnbuckle options to suit a variety of preferences and …

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 …