Thursday, April 29, 2010

Materials used for covers

Now that we are in the thick of so many getting the lake home and boat lifts ready for summer, I am getting quite a few questions about what kind of fabric can be used for the boat lift canopy.
Am I the only one that explains this stuff to people? It sure seems like it. I love to explain what and why, so here it goes.

VINYL (PVC Coated polyester fabric, PVC Laminated fabric and Extruded vinyl)
This seems to be one of the least understood of the cover materials. It is waterproof and flexible and mostly used for boat lift canopies in my industry. Some manufacturers like to skimp on this stuff to save a few bucks. That doesn't fare well with the end user when he/she buys a new lift and the vinyl starts to wear or get brittle in as little as 4 years.
Many of the smaller aftermarket shops use 18oz per square yard material. That should be the standard in my opinion.Some of the bigger companies will use the lighter 16oz or even 13oz. Why? To save money and charge the same if not more for a product with inferior quality. We're talking $500.00 to $1200.00 for a cover that should last at least 7 or 8 years with no maintenance, 10 to 15 years if you take care of your canopy.
Would you be disappointed if you found out you purchased the Chevy when you paid for the Cadillac?
It's usually not the fault of the dealer that sold it to you. It's the lack of education they receive from the supplier. Researching before the purchase does have it's benefits.
As far as the different kind of vinyls available, there are even bigger differences. Laminated and Extruded vinyls have there place on Awnings and such. Not on boat lift canopies. These just do not have the strength to hold up to the winds and weather. I get to repair quite a few covers that are made with these materials.
Coated vinyl was originally designed for semi trailer tarps. It weighs a bit more because it's made better for resisting the weather when going down the road. You wont see any truck tarps made with the other mentioned materials, they would shred in a day.(Are you starting to get the idea that I don"t like to use the cheap stuff? It aint worth it.)
Acrylic coated materials and Sunbrella
There are more expensive materials to use like Harbortime or Top gun. These were originally designed to be used for boat covers or other marine applications. They are lighter and look much better than vinyl to some, but I have found they tend to wear faster than a good vinyl product. I don't think the jury is out yet on these materials.
Sunbrella is a beautiful acrylic fabric that never fades. It is also the weakest of the materials used so it must be reinforced properly to avoid wear. It also needs to be treated for water repellency from time to time.
SeaMark is Sunbrella with a vinyl backing to make it water resistant. You have the looks of Sunbrella and the strength of vinyl. You also have an empty wallet after paying for it. Prices start around $1000.00.
If you are in the market for a new canopy cover for your lift, do a little research first. Don't just take what is on hand at the store. Customers that know the fabric choices and what they should cost will save money and/or get a better product.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tie That Cover Down

It's so nice to see the ice leaving the lake and the boats being towed from their winter storage. People are getting their summer places ready and spirits are high, thanks to the warmer temperatures that almost seem to take forever to show up.

It's also the time of year that so many cause unneeded repairs to their tarps and boat covers.
Just yesterday I saw a nice Lund fishing boat going down the road with just the front and back of it's cover tied down (Kinda reminds me of a Spinnaker sail). I always wonder why a person neglects to use all of the attachment points for tie-downs. They are there for a reason. To hold the cover on the boat during travel. They aren't decoration.

Now I really don't mind because that guy is going to make some canvas shop a few extra bucks when he notices the cover is starting to tear or even worse, blow off on the road. I would hate to be the one behind him when that happens. I wonder if that affects mileage with the extra drag. I might just try that myself this year just to see.

The travesty I see more often is the pickup truck or trailer with a tarp flapping away in the wind. Some of them sound pretty neat. It can be a unusual sound with the right material. I like it when it sounds like a huge Bumblebee. What I don't care for are the pieces of that cheap blue poly tarp that end up in the ditch. The Sheriff and Highway Patrol are watching for that and someone can be fined if pulled over by the right officer.

So please use all the places on that tarp or cover for the tie-downs. It will save you money on repairs and possibly from a fine. It doesn't take that much effort and your cover will thank you for it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Scam Email

Over the past 5 or 6 years I have received quite a few scam emails. Many have seen the average run of the mill scams that try to convince the reader that thousands or even millions are to be had with unclaimed lottery winnings or money that needs the help of a stranger to move it out of country or whatever they are dreaming up in 419 land.

Recently The scammers have been targeting specific industries. They send an email requesting a quote or say they want something you have listed online for sale. Then they want you to send it to them using a specified shipper. Some even ask for too much information.

Well I saved some for all to see. They have all been copied from my email exactly how I received them.

The first one is from Ghana. Be very suspicious of anything from there.
This is one I responded to for kicks. Larry was willing to pay $100,000.00 for a tarp worth about $1,000.00 and put it on a MasterCard. Then he would send me a check to pay for the shipping company he wanted me to use. Kinda weird he wanted to use two methods of payment.

Am Mr.Larry martins and will like to place an order regarding some tarp
from your company to a firm work in Ghana. I will appreciate you email me back with the size tarp 30x30 ,also your terms of payment as well.I will like to be one of your honest customer's and hope you answer to my request ASAP.Dont hesitate to email me back.Thank you very much and waiting for your prompt responds.
Best Regards,
Larry martins.

Alan didn't even read my add. I have a general listing with no particular item for sale.

Hello ,

I would love to buy your item,i am okay with the price ,all i wanna know if it's still in good conditions for use and if you're willing to accept a personal check or cashier check as a form of payment because that is the only way i can make payment available for the item .I want this transaction to be fast so if you're okay with my form of payment kindly get back with the following information 's for me to issue the payment to you immediately:

Full name... Full address.... City... State... Zip code... phone number...

as soon as i receive the requires details from you i will immediately instruct my secretary to proceed with the issuance of check to your name and mailed to your address. And also,, don't worry about the pick up, i know a forwarding courier services here that will pick it up. And it would be done after you've got your check cashed. I will be waiting for your response soonest as i want the item as soon as possible. I am really interested because i want to get it for my in law,i wouldn't want to loose it because this is like a surprise package for my inlaw so i wouldn't mind a $70 extra for you for the item so you can be able to hold the item for me and also tell other interested parties that it has been sold .if this is okay with get back with the information today.


Here is another one from a general listing.

i am intrested in this under listed above items, i will like to know if the items is still availabe for sells.get back to me soon..

Here is one that came in from my website contact page.
Kelvin sounds like a good honest Christian; doesn't he?

Am Kelvin Chris and will like to place an order regarding some Tarpaulin from your company to Singapore.I will really appreciate you email me back with those that you carry in stock and their price ranges,also your terms of payment as well.I will like to be one of your honest customer and hope you answer to my request ASAP.Thank you very much and waiting for your prompt responds.God Bless You.

Best Regard


I had a lift canopy for sale on craigslist. I thought that Dave just misread the add so I responded. I asked him where he was located and maybe I could help him find what he was looking for. He emailed me back right away asking for payment options and what company to ship the product with.

My name is David Mansell.With regards to your company, I will like to know if you do have Boat lift for sale?.If yes,kindly reply me back.
Thank you.
David Mansell

Sometimes they are short and to the point.

hello,do you still have this for sale,am interested in it, and let me know if it is in good condition

Now Kenny is way off the mark. I don't remember posting an outboard for sale. I don't have a place in Miami. When you click the link it sends you to a get rich quick site.


I observed your post listed on 17/12/2009. I read that you have a place in miami.

You don't be made to try to sell your 2009 EVINRUDE E-TEC 300 HP 25 C/R Pair 12Hrs. outboard motors #2545 - $35900 (Riviera beach Fl 33404). See my website for another option. I am positive it will will help you.

Check here for extra details at this url

Thank You Kenny

As you can see, the scammers are more creative. They even use the phone. I recently got a call from a service that help the deaf have phone conversations. It turned out to be another way the scammers contact their victims. I would have never thought of that.

I still remember the first email I received asking for a large order to a company in Ghana. I was so excited to get the ball rolling until I realized what was going on. What a waist of time. I spent 2 hours on a quote and got some of my vendors going too. It wasn't any fun to call them back to say I had almost been scammed.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Boat Covers

Spring is not that far away, so I have been looking around the net to see what info other sites offer about boat covers and the maintenance that should be done after you pull your boat out of storage.
I must say I'm surprised at how much the ghost writers know. It is quite obvious that they have done their research but they do leave out some important information.
Now I'm not going to bore you about why you need a cover in the first place. Most people that own a boat know that already but if you want to hear why, leave a comment and I will go through the points in a later post.

OK, so your boat has been in storage for a few months. Whether it was in a shed or outside, that cover has been collecting dust and dirt the whole time. The first thing to consider is if you want to clean the cover up a bit. Some materials, like Top Gun (an almost indestructible coated polyester fabric) or the like dont really need cleaning unless there is noticeable ugliness hiding the color.
Most fabrics will need to be at least washed with clean water and a soft brush. Sunbrella, Marine Vinyls, Cotton Ducks and Poly-cotton Ducks can all benefit from this.
No matter what material a cover is made of it is best to at least hose it off and let it dry.
I cant keep count of how many customers bring something in for repair that has never even been brushed off resulting in higher repair costs and shorter fabric life.

Dirt laden material cannot be run through a sewing machine without damage to the parts underneath the bed of the machine. The material has to be cleaned by the shop doing the repairs or by the customer. I don't mind getting paid for washing a cover but it would save allot if was clean before it came in.
Material that is never cleaned will not last as long due to dirt acting as an abrasive in between the fibers, especially for a cover that is used for travel.

If your cover is starting to get beyond the two year mark it is time for a good cleaning and treatment of water repellent. Depending on the fabric the cover is made of, cleaning techniques can vary widely. So do your research before using Simple Green or Soft Scrub (yes, someone actually did use it) and ruining the material.
Most water repellents state what they should be used on and do a fairly good job keeping water at bay but care following instructions must be exercised or it wont work for long.
If you would like to know of some good cleaners and repellents, just ask and I will steer you in the right direction.

Keep in mind that a small amount of maintenance can extend the life of a cover for years. I have seen 10 year old covers that only looked a couple years old. I have seen 5 year old covers made from very good fabric that are past their usage life. So at least hose and brush that cover off every Spring and you will get more life out of it.

Questions? Please post them.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Getting Started

Time for me to start a blog.
I will be posting helpful articles, hints and advice about outdoor fabrics, boat covers and such.
I still have a few things to go over before posting.
In the mean time I would like to hear from all of you about what you might like to see.
I wont run out of ideas but I am interested in your input.

So if you wouldn't mind, please leave a comment.

Remember, the only stupid question is one that's not asked.