Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 33

options. In addition, inflatables draw so
little water they can go where many other
vessels cannot. That's a real advantage
when someone is fishing and wants
to check out a spot that's too shallow
for a bigger boat.
Demand isn't limited to recreational
users either. "The geophysics industry
does a lot of surveys in shallow water,
and inflatables tend to ground better than
hard hulls," Demaree says. "You bounce
into something, you can bounce back off
and not do damage to a hull or a crew, and
continue to do your job."
The price of inflatable boats is also
a factor in their popularity, says Hoge.
"Boating traditionally had a big blue-collar
contingent, especially for fishing. You
could buy a boat for a couple of thousand

dollars in the 1980s and have a nice time
fishing. That era is over, mainly because
of the collapse of 2008-boats became
vastly more expensive. Inflatables fill an
important gap, and they're bringing
new people into the market."
At the same time, there are price
differences in the market, often tied to
manufacturing processes. According to
Demaree, the heat-sealing process that is
becoming popular for many applications
with plastic-coated fabrics reduces labor
costs, but it's not what Demaree uses. "We
build everything out of uncured rubber,
and once the boat is finished, we put it
in a big dry-heat autoclave and vulcanize
it under heat and pressure," he explains.
"The advantage to that process is it gives
the boat great strength and long life."

All the schools want to
outdo their rivals. So
the entrance tunnels
are getting longer and
the mascots are getting
bigger, more intense
and more real-looking.
PAUL OLIVER III
ALL-STAR INFLATABLES INC.

www.SpecialtyFabricsReview.com 33

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2/18/20 10:09 AM


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Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020

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