- Boat Shrink Wrap Tips
- Is it hard to boat shrink wrap?
- What about moisture under the cover?
- Support structures?
- Can the heat tool cause damage?
- How do I repair tear or burn holes in the cover?
- Is there any way I can get into the cover during the storage season?
- What other hardware items do I need to boat shrink wrap besides a heat tool?
- How do I measure and find the right size boat shrink wrap for my products?
- Can I get technical assistance?
- If I am transporting a product should I attach the cover differently?
- What color boat shrink wrap should I use? Is there a difference?
- Taping on Covers
- Wrapping Instructions
- Shrink Wrapping Sailboats
This boat shrink wrap can burn. If heat is applied incorrectly, boat shrink wrap can ignite into open flame. Boat shrink wrap can also drop down on other combustible materials and cause secondary ignition and fire. If at any time you observe boat shrink wrap on fire, immediately stop what you are doing and carefully inspect the entire boat shrink wrap area for any possible or potential fire. Always keep a functioning fire extinguisher available and in close proximity to you at all times during your boat shrink wrap task. Inspect the boat shrink wrap cover for up to 30 minutes after boat shrink wrap is applied and keep a sharp eye look-out for any potential hot spots prior to packing up your tools and departing your work space.
Boat Shrink Wrap Tips
Applying boat shrink wrap requires logic, reason and commonsense. A quality boat shrink wrap project can be accomplished by following each of those boat shrink wrap tips described below:
- Inspect and assess the condition of your vessel project prior to commencing your boat shrink wrap task.
- During your inspection and assessment, create written notes of existing defects and existing damage and capture video or digital images of the vessel prior to commencement for your files.
- During your inspection and assessment, look for hazards in and around the vessel which could adversely affect any person or result in any property damage. In particular, keep an eye open to spot sharp objects, potential slippery areas, combustible materials or potential fumes.
- At all times while applying boat shrink wrap, you should have in close proximity proper safety equipment such as ladders, man lifts, fire extinguisher, etc. Remember, boat shrink wrap will burn aggressively unless the manufacturer’s label contends otherwise. As a precaution, remember, if you apply the heat source incorrectly boat shrink wrap can ignite into open flame. Once boat shrink wrap catches on fire, the material can land on other combustible material and cause secondary ignition and fire.
- If at any time you observe boat shrink wrap on fire, immediately stop your application task and carefully inspect the area where you are working for possible fire, spark or hot spots. Keep a fire extinguisher available at all times.
- Measure all areas to be covered to assure that you have the proper size and proper amount of boat shrink wrap available to complete your application task. The goal is to utilize the fewest number of boat shrink wrap pieces. It is much easier to cover large objects in one piece of boat shrink wrap. Use the thickest boat shrink wrap material possible on larger objects. If it is necessary to use two pieces of boat shrink wrap, there must be an allowance of 8-10 inches of overlap where material are joined together at seams.
- Flame-retardant shrink wrap is available for boats. Ask your sales agent for more information about flame-retardant boat shrink wrap.
- Always design and draw an attachment plan before taking the boat shrink wrap out of the box. Boat shrink wrap must be attached firmly around the entire perimeter of the vessel in order for it to become a tight durable protective cover. Boat shrink wrap can be attached to your vessel, or parts of the vessel by utilizing woven cord strapping, tape, steel cabling or furring strips—depending upon the project you are performing.
- Keep boat shrink wrap clean, dry and folded as long as possible during installation. Boat shrink wrap head welds to itself much better when it is clean. Once the boat shrink wrap is unfolded it is much harder to manage, and especially difficult during windy circumstances.
- Never attempt to apply boat shrink wrap during wind events exceeding 10 MPH!
- Above all else, use common sense while applying boat shrink wrap. Don’t walk on the boat shrink wrap when it is wet. Don’t apply boat shrink wrap if you can smell flammable fumes. Always utilize safety goggles and stay close to safety equipment.
- After you complete the application of boat shrink wrap, stay put, watch and wait for one full hour to make sure no part of portion of the boat shrink wrap remains hot. Never use boat shrink wrap over the top of fuel vents, air vents, roof drains, air conditioning units, etc.
- Never drink alcohol or take drugs prior to or during boat shrink wrap tasks.
- If you apply boat shrink wrap tightly and completely you should end up with an enduring and durable protective cover.
- Boat shrink wrap works much better than poly tarps, because boat shrink wrap does not move or chafe when properly applied and properly heated. The tighter the protective cover is—the better.
- Again, firm attachment points around the entire perimeter of the vessel are necessary to ensure the boat shrink wrap remains tight and secure, to prevent edges loosening and releasing during inclement weather.
IS IT HARD TO APPLY BOAT SHRINK WRAP?
No! Applying boat shrink wrap isn’t difficult. We suggest watching the Boat Shrink’s video called Wrap it up at least twice before applying boat shrink wrap. Before you begin, evaluate the local weather reports because you will be applying boat shrink wrap outdoors. Clear days with very light winds make the covering process go much quicker and you will end up with a much more durable and protective covering.
WHAT ABOUT TRAPPING MOISTURE UNDER THE PROTECTIVE COVERING?
Every boat shrink wrap cover must be ventilated to eliminate trapping moisture and reducing the incidence of condensation under the boat shrink wrap cover. You will receive self-adhesive vents to allow cross-flow ventilation throughout the boat shrink wrap cover, thereby minimizing excess moisture and mildew. The number of vents you use will vary according to what type of vessel you are covering, but Boat Shrink recommends a minimum of 3 self-adhesive vents for a typical runabout boat and up to 8+ vents for boats 34 feet or longer. Cabins and seat cushions should also be left open to make ventilation most effective.
Supporting the wide spans of boat shrink wrap are very important. The Boat Shrink video, Wrap it up will guide you step-by-step to show you how to construct woven cord strapping and wooden upright support systems for long or wide spans. These simple, yet effective supports give the cover enough slope and strength so that snow and rain will run off and not puddle or destroy that cover during inclement weather.
CAN THE HEAT TOOL CAUSE DAMAGE?
The propane-fired heat tools used to complete your boat shrink wrap task must be used in accordance with Boat Shrink’s instructions shown in the Wrap it up video. Always remember SAFETY FIRST! The video will explain how heat is swept over the cover, very similar to utilizing an airless spray painting tool. The heat tool is never left stationary in one spot long enough to damage vinyl graphics, paint, gelcoat, wood, etc. In fact, boat shrink wrap will become thin and holes will form before enough heat is transferred to damage what is being covered. If the boat shrink wrap should get a burn hole, and if it appears the boat shrink wrap is stuck to the product, just let the boat shrink wrap product cool off and it will come loose and separate from the vessel by itself.
HOW DO I REPAIR A TEAR OR BURN HOLES IN THE BOAT SHRINK WRAP COVER?
First, holes are not rare in boat shrink wrap covers. It is very easy to puncture the material before it is heated and shrunk, conversely, it is just as easy to repair holes that form. If it is a small hole a piece of heat shrink tape will fix the hole quickly. If it is a larger hole, a small piece of boat shrink wrap approximately 2″ larger than the hole may be taped on the original cover and lightly shrunk.
IS THERE A WAY I CAN GET INTO THE COVER DURING THE STORAGE SEASON?
Yes! Boat Shrink offers a 30″ X 36″ and 30″ X 48″ zipper access door. These access doors are installed by taping them onto the boat shrink wrap, after the cover is completely shrunk.
WHAT OTHER HARDWARE DO I NEED TO SHRINKWRAP BESIDES A HEAT TOOL?
Our boat shrink wrap task is very simple, but you will need a Tensioning Tool, Film Cutting Knife, Long Cuff Safety Gloves, and Safety Glasses along with a Heat Tool. Other equipment the installer needs to have available are ladders to fit the job, 20lb. propane tank, hand saw, jack knife, Arrow T-50 Stapler, and a 25′ tape measure. Of course, you will need enough boat shrink wrap to complete the cover plus strapping, buckles, tape and sufficient self-adhesive air vents.
HOW DO I MEASURE AND FIND THE RIGHT SIZE BOAT SHRINK WRAP?
This measurement task is actually very easy to do. Measure from the center of your vessel, at the highest point, over the side and down at least 8″ below where you want the cover to go (for example, on a powerboat with arch measure from the center of the arch down below the rub rail). Now double that figure and add one foot for the boat shrink wrap which will be tucked under the vessel’s perimeter band.
CAN I GET TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE?
Yes, our Boat Shrink experts can be contacted at 860.379.9626 between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, EST. Feel confident and contact the Boat Shrink experts when you have questions or comments about boat shrink wrap installations or repairs. These boat shrink wrap experts can guide you through the basics of wrapping or help with that special job you may have in mind.
IF I AM TRANSPORTING A VESSEL, SHOULD I ATTACH THE BOAT SHRINK WRAP DIFFERENTLY?
Yes! Transportation covers need no support structure, just a couple of straps running fore and aft under the boat shrink wrap to give it support as the vessel travels down the road. Also, a very good way of holding the boat shrink wrap to the vessel is by taping it on using our Preservation Tape. This tape leaves no adhesive residue and keeps wind from blowing under the cover which may cause chafing or loss of the boat shrink wrap during transportation.
WHAT COLOR BOAT SHRINK WRAP SHOULD I USE? IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BASED UPON COLOR?
Boat shrink wrap comes in blue, white and clear. If you live in a northern climate blue wrap absorbs heat and allows snow and ice to fall freely from the cover as the sun warms the cover each sunny day. For southern climates white reflects heat and keeps covered boats cooler. Clear boat shrink wrap should only be used on boats during the winter months. The clear boat shrink wrap product absorbs a lot of heat which can damage boat interiors. If you use clear boat shrink wrap always add additional air ventilators. Also, if you are showing boats or working on them, white should be the color of choice. The white boat shrink wrap provides excellent shadow-free lighting and perfect color rendition for most boats.
SECURELY TAPING ON THE NEW BOAT SHRINK WRAP COVER
Installing a boat shrink wrap transportation cover using 4 hull tape to hold the cover onto the boat is a quick, durable and cost effective method of vessel protection.
- Pad all sharp objects on the boat and also and protect all items such as vinyl seating cushions in the interior because vinyl can be damaged by excessive heat. Generally, one layer of boat shrink wrap over vinyl will be sufficient. Place anti-chafe tape on all areas that may be abraded, including vinyl graphics. Place tape over the fuel vent to prevent fumes from escaping.
- Determine how far down the hull sides the boat shrink wrap will come. The boat shrink wrap should cover all vinyl graphics so that the hull tape will not adhere to them.
- This next step is also very important—the hull must have all wax and mold releases removed from the hull where the hull tape will attach to it. Use rags and isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) to clean a swath along the hull at least 8 inches wide. This will assure proper adhesion of the tape to a clean and dry boat hull.
- Install a simple support structure by running strapping from one cleat on the stern through the cleat, or to the top of the rail, on the opposite side at the bow, then through the other bow cleat, or rail, to the opposite stern cleat. You should have a crisscross pattern. Pull it tight so that it will support the plastic. This should be done on all boats and gives extra support in case the boat shrink wrap covers are left on for extended periods.
- Pull the boat shrink wrap over the boat making sure it doesn’t touch the ground. Static electricity will allow the boat shrink wrap to pick up dirt and grime and will affect the shrinking and adhesion of the tape.
- Once you have enough boat shrink wrap at the bow, tape it to the hull below the rub rail on each side to hold it in position. Now cut the boat shrink wrap at the stern 4-6 below where it will be taped. Trim the boat shrink wrap in the center of the transom and tape it to the hull. Now that the boat shrink wrap material is taped fore and aft it will be held in place while it is trimmed completely around the hull using a film cutting knife. Use of this knife tool will give a straight line around the hull making it much easier to tape, plus the cutting knife cannot damage the hull or cut employees.
- Before you begin taping the boat shrink wrap to the hull form the pleats at each side of the windshield. Fold them towards the stern, pull the boat shrink wrap until it is taut and tape the wrap to the hull while still taut.
- Now the entire cover can be taped to the hull using 4 hull tape. Start at the bow or stern and tape as closely as possible so that the tape is halfway on the boat shrink wrap and half on the hull. Rub the tape to eliminate air bubbles under it. Always cut the tape rather than tearing it—rough edges allow moisture under the tape which kills the adhesive. Make sure the tape is sticking tightly to the hull around the transom and swim platform.
- The boat shrink wrap cover is ready to be completely shrunk after step 8. Begin at the bottom of the cover at the bow or stern using the heat tool back and forth in a constant controlled motion as though you are using the nozzle of an airless spray painting tool. Note: this discussion in intended as a reminder your boat shrink wrap is likely not flame retardant. Your boat shrink wrap product in all likelihood can and will burn if not properly applied. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby at all times. Shrink up to the rub rail around the entire boat before shrinking the top. This will pull the excess out of the top and provide a much tighter cover.
- After the boat shrink wrap cover is totally heated, go around the boat and repair any holes with hull tape.
The most important steps are:
- Padding sharp objects, cleaning the hull of all waxes and release agents, and taping the fuel vent.
- Cutting the boat shrink wrap in a straight line around the hull.
- Applying the tape equally to the wrap and hull, then rubbing the tape to eliminate air bubbles under the tape and help assure complete adhesion.
- Running strapping fore and aft to make a simple strong support structure for the boat shrink wrap to rest upon.
The purpose of using boat shrink wrap in the marine field is two-fold:
- To enclose boats for protection them from the elements when they are stored outside during the off season.
- To protect new boats as they are transported from the builder to the dealer. Each of these applications has a different method of installation of the boat shrink wrap. The only common denominator is that each uses a piece of boat shrink wrap as the cover and a heat tool to shrink it.
SAILBOAT SHRINK WRAP
PLEASE NOTE THAT SAILBOATS PAINTED WITH AWLGRIP® OR IMRON® SHOULD NOT BE SHRINK WRAPPED, UNLESS THE COVER COMES JUST BELOW THE GUNWALE AND THE PERIMETER BAND IS SEPARATED FROM THE HULL BY FOAM BLOCKS.
Sailboat shrink wrap occurs with the mast down and then uses many of the same principles explained on the Boat Shrink’s Wrap it up Video. Before beginning the covering process please view the videotape at least twice to familiarize yourself with all steps.
Note: Boat Shrink Wrap described herein does not contain any flame retardant compounds. It is possible for the boat shrink wrap to burn. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby at all times. When covering a sailing vessel, mast down, the following steps must be followed:
- Run strapping fore and aft on the boat from the highest point on the bow (pulpit) to the highest point on the stern (stern rails). Tighten this strap with a buckle by using the included buckle installation instructions.
- Once the strap is tightened you may begin measuring the 2″ X 4″ wooden uprights that will form your support structure. These wooden uprights are forced under the fore and aft strapping and will give the boat shrink wrap cover the necessary pitch to allow snow and rain to run off. One upright will be needed in the cockpit and then every 5′-6′ until the bow is reached. If possible the upright should be lined up between stanchions so a woven cord strap can be run laterally from the top of the stanchion across the top of the upright to the top of the opposing stanchion (this strap will give additional support to the cover and also help keep your upright from falling down). The height of the uprights will vary with different boats, but when complete the center strap must be at least 18 inches higher than the top of the stanchions. Again, this will give the cover enough slope to allow snow and rain to run off.
- Now, staple the strapping onto the top of the upright where it crosses the fore and aft strap (An Arrow T-50 stapler works great). Pad the tops of the uprights as shown on the Wrap it up Video.
- Once this is completed the rest of the covering process can be done by following the steps on the videotape.
Covering a sailboat mast up can seem like a very daunting proposition at first, but it takes only a couple of more steps than boat shrink wrapping a mast down boat. Follow the directions below and watching the training video at least twice will minimize any problems.
- Install your strapping fore and aft on the boat from the highest points at the bow and stern. The strapping will be tied around the mast from the stern, and then around the mast from the bow (if the boom is left on it can become part of the support structure aft of the mast, but you must put a 2″ X 4″ upright under the rear of the boom to give it strength). Pull the strapping tight as you normally would, measure and install your wooden uprights as on a mast down boat, put your lateral straps over the wooden uprights, or boom, and pad them.
- Install the perimeter band following directions on the Wrap it up Video.
- Go aboard the boat with a 25′ tape measure. Measure from the mast back to the farthest point aft (top of the stern rail). To this figure add 2 feet which will be forward of the mast and 4 feet that will drape over the stern (a total of 6 extra feet).
- Now measure from the mast forward (top of the bow rail or pulpit). To this figure add on 2 feet which will extend aft of the mast and 4 feet that will drape over the bow (a total of 6 extra feet).
- Next cut your roll of boat shrink wrap the measurement length from the mast back. Roll it up and take it onto the boat. Lay the roll on your support structure or boom and open it enough to measure and find the center of the wrap. Make a 2′ lengthwise slit in the boat shrink wrap at the center of the material. This slit area will be wrapped around the mast to form a collar. Once you have a collar formed, take the roll of heat Shrink tape and go around the collar twice very tightly (do not tape the boat shrink wrap directly to the mast as there might be an adhesive residue in the spring).
- Unroll the aft section of boat shrink wrap towards the stern (do not unfold its entire width yet, as the wind might catch it). Go aft as far as possible, until you run into the aft stays. Now you can unfold the boat shrink wrap and have it lay as straight fore and aft, and side to side, as possible. Using your wrap cutting knife make slits in the boat shrink wrap up to the stays and halyards. They should be neat. Use strips of heat shrink tape to seal them (press the tape down firmly to remove all air bubbles).
- Trim and tuck the boat shrink wrap under the perimeter band on the boat so that wind doesn’t catch it.
- Now the boat shrink wrap piece at the bow can be attached. It is done in a similar fashion as the aft piece. Put the measured piece of wrap just forward of the mast, find the center of the boat shrink wrap, slice into it 2 feet, make a collar around the mast tightly tape around it. Unroll the wrap towards the bow up to the forestay. Slice the wrap to the forestay and roll it over the bow. Tape the slit together and unfold the boat shrink wrap.