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Marine foam isn’t as fun for boaters to talk about as their new inboard motor or the high-tech, floating VHF/GPS they just picked up. But when boat flotation foam is compromised, replacing it needs to be a priority. Without it, none of the other fun stuff works because bad foam has a big impact on performance and safety.

Here are some tips to identify marine flotation foam issues and deal with them effectively:

Beware of DIY projects:

When buying a used boat, you’re likely to come across some interesting attempts at cutting corners instead of using a marine grade floatation foam. You’ll see everything from styrofoam pool noodles to capped plastic soda bottles in hulls and transoms. The argument over whether these add buoyancy is something we’ll leave to the boater’s online forums. The fact is there’s no substitute for USCG certified marine foam.

Look for rotting wood, waterlogged foam:

Finding damage to the hull of your boat is always concerning. Locating the source of the leak is the first job and then any rotting wood needs to be addressed. But if you discover the marine foam is waterlogged or falling apart, it’s low quality and probably the wrong type of foam such as polystyrene. Fixing any structural issues is the first part of the plan, but if you replace the damaged foam anything but a polyurethane, closed-cell flotation foam, you’re asking to repeat the process again the future.

Does your boat have flotation, stability issues?

If a boat isn’t floating properly, it could be an issue caused by compromised marine foam. Sometimes looks don’t lie either. If the boat doesn’t look right floating at the dock or it’s difficult to set the trim, it could be the foam. By increasing the amount of quality marine flotation foam on board the boat will sit a little higher in the boat which will improve stability.

Proper installation matters:

It’s easy to spot when boat flotation foam hasn’t been properly installed. Even if the installer uses the right type of marine foam, if they aren’t experienced a messy job can degrade the efficiency of the product. At Empire Foam Solutions, we are marine foam contractors and not only manufacture custom marine foam, but we also work with flotation foam installers nationwide. These experts use our Coast Guard Approved floatation foam to ensure their project is done correctly and will last for years.

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