Fasteners for marine tension shades

Published On: March 7, 2018Categories: Features

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 attach the shade. The webbing is just a way to fasten without drilling holes in the structure. Most biminis have a flap where you can add a zipper to connect to the shade.”

Custom Marine Canvas in Noank, Conn., and Advanced Canvas & Upholstery Services in Oxnard, Calif., add tension to the shade fabric with low-stretch Dyneema® rope and polyester webbing.

Canvas Designers® Inc. of Riviera Beach, Fla., installs sunflys with a 1/4-inch, solid-braid nylon rope tensioned through a pulley and locked down with the company’s patented cam cleat.

“If the poles are fixed with an eye, we use heavy-duty, 1-inch nylon webbing through an all stainless steel, slide-bar buckle,” owner Mike Erickson says. “The only cable system we do tends to be on very large motor yachts where the size and permanent aspect of the shade makes a cable-tension system the best option.”

Designs by KTM Custom Marine Canvas in Bradenton, Fla., don’t require ropes or cable.

“I use 1 ¼-inch, heavy-duty aluminum pipe preloaded with tension that locks into place with a 1-inch adjustable nylon strap with a stainless steel hook,” owner Kevin Stancil says. “To ease fastening the shade, I preload the poles using rope. Based on the width and length, I determine the tension based on the load put on the poles.”

Wyckam of Portland, Ore., generally uses a pulley system with Spectra® line.

“This allows the corner to be pulled tight to the pole and provides as much coverage as possible,” owner Amy Poe says.

“Because you cannot simply bury a post 4-feet-deep in concrete, you have to keep expected forces much lower than a shade on land might have. This means they must be removed for heavy winds or while under way,” she continues, adding that, even on mega yachts where poles are installed in rod holders, tension shades should be removed whenever the boat is left unattended.