Canvas repairs—turning pain into profit

March 1, 2019

Let’s go out on a limb here and make this proclamation: Repair jobs are not the sexiest work in the marine fabrication business. Okay, maybe that’s not so much of a limb. The fact is, some fabricators try to stay away from repair work altogether or consider it something of a necessary evil. They’ve got …

Marine flooring options

Marine flooring options have exploded in the last decade. Thanks to technological advancements, the quality of materials and the ease of installation have improved dramatically. This cycle of continuous improvement means fabricators need to stay ahead of the curve and have a thorough understanding of the products available to best meet their customers’ needs. Warren …

2019 MFA Time Standards Manual

January 1, 2019

The Time Standards Manual was developed in 1996 by the Marine Fabricators Association (MFA), a division of the Industrial Fabrics Association International, to serve as a benchmark shop owners can use to set fabrication times, with which they can generate competitive labor costs. The manual is an ongoing project that will grow and change organically …

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Dynamic window materials

Fabricators and boat owners have a world of choices in windows. When it comes to choosing their windows, most boat owners don’t want to make it too complicated—they want a quality product that will last at a reasonable price. As fabricators know, however, it’s not quite that simple. In fact, according to Zach Grant, marketing …

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How to rebuild a business

Rob Kotowski rebuilds the family business with his father’s guidance and a commitment to quality and communication. We don’t anticipate that the completion of a project is the last time we talk with our clients,” says Rob Kotowski, owner and president of Lake Shore Boat Top Co. Inc., Saint Clair Shores, Mich. “We typically follow …

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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 …

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 …

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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 …

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Design trends 2019

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 …

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Balancing the benefits and drawbacks of automation

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 …