During those warm summer months, many people find rest and relaxation in their boat. There really is nothing like sailing for hours and becoming one with the water. But part of boat maintenance is ensuring that all parts are in excellent working order. This is where marine fabric comes in. Marine fabric is a durable material that can withstand the stresses that you’ll put it through while on sea or moored.
What is Marine Fabric?
Marine fabric is exactly what it sounds like: fabric that is used for predominantly seafaring purposes. This fabric is a cotton duck that has been treated to maintain water repellent qualities. As such, marine fabric is a strong cotton canvas. This means that the material is more tightly knit than plain canvas. While this cotton duck can sometimes be found in items such as sneakers or sandbags, marine fabric is more specific to aquatic purposes.
Marine Fabric: A History
The word canvas is said to come from the Arabic word for cannabis. This would be because canvas originally was made of hemp. Hemp was a very popular material to make canvas from and was used as early as 3000 BC by the people in China to make cloth. Over the years hemp was replaced by linen.
Now most modern canvas is made from cotton. Cotton has become widely popular because it is more lightweight than linen. As sail size grew, linen became too heavy to be practical. This is how cotton canvas was adopted into the sailing industry.
Today cotton canvas, or linen canvas, sails are uncommon. These have been replaced by modern fibers which are for the most part synthetic. While these synthetic fibers have become popular for use as sails, most boat enthusiasts have not completely ditched cotton canvas for their boating needs. The most common use now for marine fabric is for protecting a boat. Marine fabric today is a common product used in boat covers. This material will protect from UV rays, allow air flow, and will also fit snugly. This is also why marine canvas is also used in protecting sails.
Marine Fabric Benefits
The benefits of marine canvas are numerous, especially while out to sea.
- Water Resistant and Windproof – Marine canvas is so tightly woven that it often is water resistant if not waterproof. A waterproofing treatment can guarantee a finish that holds water. This tight-knit material is often windproof which is why it has been made into sails.
- Sturdy – In addition to being water and windproof, marine canvas does not yield to stress or tugs. It is an exceptionally sturdy material. It is for this reason that it is often used for tents or awnings. Therefore, you will see it used as materials for shoes as well.
- Color Retention – Because of the tightly-knit nature of marine canvas it retains dye color or other treatment very well. Even under extremely harsh environmental conditions this fabric can shine like new with minimal fading.
- Breathable – Because Marine fabric is a breathable material, it is an excellent choice for nautical and outdoor uses. Airflow helps ensure this fabric will not succumb to mold or mildew.
Marine Fabric Nautical Applications
Sails for your Boat – While uncommon, many purists still choose to source marine fabric for use as sails on their boat. They look quite beautiful and authentic, especially on large, multi-sail boats.
Mold and Mildew Resistant Drapery – Does your family have an old cabin that you enjoy camping in a few times a year? Marine fabric may be the perfect material for your drapery needs. Because Marine fabric is treated it is very resistant to mold and mildew. So, you will not have to worry about it being ruined.
DIY Projects – Today many people choose to create their DIY projects out of marine fabric. From purses or other reusable bags two purely decorative projects Marine fabric for your creative projects
Covers – Do you have a unique antique car? Perhaps a prefabricated cover is difficult to find. Marine canvas can be the perfect material to create your own custom cover. And this is not exclusive to automobiles. Perhaps your grill or other outdoor furniture you have may need a cover. Marine fabric is an excellent choice.
Outdoor Marine Canvas Uses
Tarps – Use marine fabric as a tarp. Perhaps to cover a freshly chopped wood, or to cover your head should you come across unexpected rain.
Sunshades – Oftentimes Marine fabric is used as a sunshade on boats. Called a bimini top, discover is meant to be easily installed and collapsed when not in use. Marine fabric provides shade, water resistance, and UV protection while maintaining a soft and supple feel.
Signs and Banners for Advertising – There is no doubt that Marine canvas is a strong material. Use this material for signs and banners that will hang outside. Some large format printers are able to print directly on canvas material. We can help you figure out how many yards you need for a large project like this.
Tenting – Touted by many as the best material for a tent, canvas fabric provides a lifetime of use if properly maintained and cared for. Use canvas as an extra rain cover or create a whole new tent from marine canvas.
Caring for Your Marine Canvas Fabric
While you’re Marine fabric will most likely be in an extremely harsh environments, regular maintenance can keep it strong and lasting for years to come.
- Be sure to periodically clean your marine canvas. Spray it with either a cleaner meant for boat upholstery or a gentle cleanser. Always be sure to give any tough spots a good scrubbing.
- Use a stain remover for any hard to clean areas (stains).
- Be sure to re-apply a water repellent finish to refresh the water repellency of your marine fabric.
If you follow these guidelines, you will ensure that your marine canvas will last a very long time.