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boatcare services

Malta Yacht Marina Services

Shrink Wrapping

Boatcare Trading Ltd. offers all the boat shrink wrapping services and products produced by well established makers.

Boat Shrink Wrapping

Boat shrink wrapping is the technique of using a heavy duty marine grade plastic film to create a moulded covering that fits 'as tight as a drum skin'. Whilst shrink wrapping services are mainly used to protect boats during road transport and storage the material is often used for creating work shelters and tents.

A shrink wrap shelter enables work to take place on vessels during bad weather, minimising costs and enabling the project to be completed on schedule. The shrink wrap, with its heat fused seams, also contains dust and debris and minimises disruption to other vessels nearby.

A Boat shrink wrap is usually made out of the following:

The Structure

The structure is the key to a successful shrink wrapped work shelter. The most popular materials for creation of the structure or framework are scaffold tube, wooden supports or flexible plastic tube. A scaffold structure can be erected around the base of the vessel, with flexible plastic tubing arched over it. Although the plastic framework can be very strong, it does flex during high winds and is recommended only for smaller, short term projects (0-6 months).

Where structures will be exposed to high winds for long periods of time then a scaffolding or wood structure is recommended. Please note that an arched roof is usually constructed and the spacing of the bars is usually no more than 1.5m. When using scaffolding, care should be taken to ensure that there are as few protruding poles and sharp edges as possible to avoid having to cut out and rewelded the shrink wrap around poles.

Shrink wrap

Boatcoat shrink wrap films are especially formulated with added ultra violet inhibitors to protect wrapped goods against UV damage when stored outside for up to 2 years. Other additives prevent the film from becoming brittle at low temperatures. A zipped access door is easily added too.

Boat Shrink Wrapping Materials & Equipment

These items (1-6) are essential

1) Heat Gun
Powered by propane gas, the heat gun is designed to give a tight, consistent finish to the shrink wrap covering. Our most popular model is included in the start up kit. This tool is very reliable, with just 10 parts, and is supplied with regulator and 8m hose. A range of heat gun extensions are available to allow an operator to safely reach up to 2m, useful for larger boats with fly-bridges.

2) Marine Grade Shrink Wrap Roll
Choose from 5m, 6m, 8m, 10m, 12m or 14m widths and a range of lengths up to 70m. Films range from 180 microns to 300 microns thick, with added UVI and EVA.

3) Strapping Reel
600m x 19mm reel. Strapping is used to form a support structure, where required, under shrink wrap covers. It is also used to form the 'perimeter band' which is a more robust alternative to taping shrink wrap direct to the hull. Refer to the Boatcoat process and safety guide for alternative shrink wrapping techniques.

4) Patch Tape Rolls
100mm wide, high tack adhesive, waterproof. Used for repairing small holes and holding seams and large patches in position. For smaller boats, tape can also be used for securing the shrink wrap to the hull of the boat rather than using a perimeter band.

5) Safety Gloves
Essential personal protection equipment when shrink wrapping. Safety gloves are used when using the heat tool, particularly when creating welds and shrinking the cover.

6) Safety Knifes
Designed to safely cut shrink film without scratching the boat.

These items (7-11) are recommended

7) Gas Cylinder Trolley
Using a trolley is safer, less tiring and allows shrink wrapping jobs to be completed quickly. Holds cylinders up to 47Kg.

8) Mobile Roll Stand / Dispenser
The roll stand consists of a spindle which is passed through the centre of a shrink wrap roll which sits on a wheeled frame. It is used to move rolls around the work site and store rolls when not in use. Using a dispenser also allows the wrap to be pulled easily over the boat. It is also easily disassembled for mobile shrink wrapping operations.

9) Strapping Dispenser
The strapping dispenser keeps strapping clean whilst allowing it to be quickly unwound without knots or tangles.

10) Air Vent
During long term storage vents are used to eliminate moisture and condensation under a shrink wrap cover by allowing a cross flow of air throughout the cover.

11) Zipped Access Door
These are taped on to the finished shrink wrap cover to enable access to the boat. Three sizes are available 0.91m (36”), 1.22m (48”) and 1.83m (72”). All are 0.76m wide (30”).

Shrink Wrapping Process and Safety Guide

Your step by step guide to shrink wrapping boats is supplied, free of charge, when you place your order.

Boat Shrink Wrapping – Frequently Asked Questions

Why is a shrink wrap cover better than a tarpaulin?
Unlike a tarpaulin or fitted cover, the shrink wrap moulds to the boat. Because it fits so tightly, it cannot flap or chafe, which is the secret of its durability. This means that during long road and sea journeys, or during storage, shrink wrapping is more effective at preventing damage.

What is so special about Boatcoat shrink wrap films?
Boatcoat films are specifically designed for tough industrial and marine applications. They are available up to 12m (40') wide and up to 300 microns (12mil) thick. Additives such as EVA prevent the film from becoming brittle at low temperatures whilst UVI provides ultraviolet resistance.

Other than shrink wrap film, what else is required to cover a boat?
Boatcoat provide a 'start up kit' containing everything you need to start shrink wrapping. A basic start up kit consists of simply a gas heat gun, a roll of shrink wrap, woven strapping, self adhesive patch tape, safety gloves and safety knifes.

What about moisture underneath the cover?
Shrink wrapping will trap any moisture beneath the cover. Self adhesive air vents or desiccant sacks are used to remove any moisture and ensure the boat remains dry.

Can the heat gun damage the boat?
Boat builders around the world have been using shrink wrap to protect their boats for 10-15 years, so the process is tried and tested. However we will always use the heat tool in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. When the heat gun is used properly, the hot air is swept over the cover, almost like spray painting, and is never left on one spot long enough to cause damage. In fact, the shrink wrap will become thin and holes will form before enough heat is transferred to damage what is being covered.

How long will it take & How much will it cost?
This depends on the size of the boat and the environment where the work is taking place. For more information please contact us: info@boatcarelimited.com

Will the shrink wrap stick to my product?
Unlike stretch wrap films, the shrink wrap shrinks against, but does not actually stick to your product.

Can the shrink wrap cover be re-used?
No, Shrink wrap covers are for single use.

What is the difference between shrink wrap and stretch wrap?
Stretch wrap is unsuitable for large applications, it is stretched around an object with minimal protection; it sticks to itself and is also known as pallet wrap or cling film. Shrink wrap is draped over an object before shrinking to make it strong and tight.

Why is shrink film better than polythene or Visqueen?
Shrink film shrinks tightly around an object so there is no flapping in the wind to deteriorate the plastic. Polythene is normally applied using tape to hold the pieces together whilst shrink.

How long does the shrink wrap material last?
Shrink wrap will protect an object stored outside for up to 2 years.

Can I install shrink wrap myself?
Yes! Boatcare can supply the full range of equipment and consumable supplies you'll need. We can also arrange training.

What about moisture and mildew under the cover?
Covers can be ventilated to eliminate moisture and condensation, vents allow the cross flow of air throughout the cover minimising the build up of excess moisture and condensation. Alternatively, large desiccant sacks can be placed under the cover which will remove any moisture.

Can I get under the cover once it is installed?
Yes! Zipped access doors can be taped onto the cover where required after shrinking.