For years, many in the boat industry have been trying to find an effective, affordable way to coat the bottom surfaces of the aluminum boats which can get hung up on rock or gravel bars in shallow streams. The aluminum does not release well and can make navigation more difficult for guides, specifically in the Pacific Northwest. Many have used UHMW in the past, but the mechanical fastening method is very labor intensive and weld washers and bolt heads can still pop loose creating a potential safety issue. In addition, thicknesses range between 1/4” and 1/2” thick adding a lot of extra weight to the boat, possibly as much as 100 pounds.
By using Crown’s innovative technology for bonding UHMW, a process was developed whereby the UHMW could be epoxied to the boat bottom using a simple vacuum bagging system. Where the typical method for installing sheet would require nearly a full day’s labor, the Dura-Slick boat bottom can be set up and under vacuum bag in roughly 1-1/2 hours. The boat bottom would remain in the vacuum bag for a minimum of 4 hours and the epoxy would need 24 hours to sufficiently cure. The thickness of the UHMW used in the Dura-Slick boat bottom is 3/32” or .093” thick. Since the entire surface of the material is fixed to the boat bottom, there is no warping or buckling of the material due to thermal expansion. Since the thickness of the Dura-Slick product is much thinner than standard sheet, Dura-Slick will only add 20 pounds to the overall weight of the boat.
This system is currently being utilized by a number of drift boat manufacturers and many more will be coming on board by the end of this year. Crown is now looking to expand this product into the airboat markets in Florida, Louisiana and Alaska and will have product in the field being tested this Spring.
For information on where you can have Dura-Slick applied to your boat, please call us at 800-368-0238.