Shrink Wrap Creates Bubble for Environment-Friendly Boat Work
An idea that Mark Lindeman had for shrink wrap boat storage has ballooned into another whole application here at Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard, and it’s good for the environment.
It’s using the shrink wrap equipment the yard initially purchased for wrapping boats for long-term storage to make a workspace “bubble” for keeping foreign particles from drifting into the air and water. Lindeman’s Pearson 37 sailboat Serrano is the first boat to try out the shrink wrap bubble at the boatyard.
“To be environmentally conscious the entire boat is contained to keep in sanding dust and paint overspray,” said the former yard manager and current senior adviser at Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard. “And to keep bugs and bird droppings out of the work.”
“It allows all the light in and none of the overspray out.” – Mark Lindeman, senior adviser at Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard
The boatyard has rigged up loose shelter enclosures over boats in the yard in the past, but this totally enclosed bubble method is new. And it’s something the crew will be using more from now on, Lindeman says.
“When we bought this equipment for shrink wrap storage, this was in the back of my mind. It allows all the light in and none of the overspray out,” said Lindeman, who has years of experience in the marine paint industry.
He decided to try out his shrink wrap “cocoon” idea on his own boat when he brought Serrano in for her multi-year refit. The project started with leaking toe rails — and went on from there after lots of “might-as-wells-and-while-you’re-at-its,” said the long-time boater.
“The original teak was leaking — a 35 year-old-boat,” Lindeman said of the 1982 Pearson — “and there were other leaks on the boat. So we pulled the toe rail off and then the ‘might-as-wells’ kicked me: Might as well put on new stanchions while we’re at it. Might as well install the new genoa tracks.”
At that point he found some water in the deck coring. Knowing there had been other leaks, Lindeman checked the rest of the deck with a moisture meter and found numerous areas needing attention.
“Now all the deck hardware has been removed and all the wet and rotten coring has been replaced,” said Lindeman, who has owned the boat for 17 years. “Jason Lee, our expert coatings technician, did all the fiberglass work over the winter. Now it’s time for paint, hence the shrink wrap bubble.”
To make the plastic cocoon Lindeman and crew rigged up PVC conduit to make the hoop framework over his boat and used landscape cloth for protective skirting at the bottom. Then they used the shrink wrap heat gun to form the plastic wrap around the conduit for a snug, enclosed bubble.
It all makes for an environmentally conscious, superior spray paint job for customers’ boats, says Lindeman.
“Previously we’ve done only roll and tip painting,” he said. “That method does a pretty good job, but spraying does the best job. Because of the contours of the cockpit, it doesn’t lend itself to roll and tip painting.”
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Fiberglass sanding and spray painting boats inside the plastic cocoon is a method the boatyard will be using more from now on, says Lindeman, since it has worked so well on his boat.
In the meantime, work continues on Serrano, which has a few more months of work ahead of her. Her multi-year refit includes re-rigging the mast, painting the mast, boom and spreaders and installing new sails, says the avid sailor who is eager to get out on his own boat again.
“The might-as-wells-and-while-you’re-at-its are pretty much used up by now,” he said.