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If anything detracts from the enjoyment of having a boat and most decidedly the resale of it is the canvas on the boat. In short, ratty canvas detracts and that’s especially true here in BC where weather attacks canvas like almost nowhere else.

Of course, I’m writing this because we do have a canvas division at Brigantine Marine Group and I want your business and, while it’s true you don’t need to know anything about canvas to get a tonneau for bow riders, bimini or convertible top put in or replaced, if you know what you’re getting you’re ahead. It’s the same as with your boat: you know what you want in service because you know your boat and know what you want in servicing it.

Key words in canvas are function, fabric and fit.

First, what do you want the canvas to do? It can shield you from the elements, sure, but how? First thing we do at Brigantine is ask do you want the canvas for. Would a slope back cover your boat’s open areas or do you want shade from the weather. Basic yet sometimes an incomplete canvas job won’t meet your needs. Sometimes just a bimini is perfect but that depends a lot on what type of weather you go out in. Maybe a full enclosure is better. If you’re a winter fisher you know it can get real cold when the wind picks up. If you’re replacing a full enclosure it has to be as good or better. Better is better.

Worse mistake made and this is because of price is getting material that doesn’t last. A good canvas job should last beyond five years but cheaper material doesn’t last because it fades faster and loses its shape faster. We at Brigantine advise the better canvases not only because of this but also because the better materials stitch better. We use high quality thread and that’s mostly because it lasts and joins good canvas better. If you look at a cheap canvas job look at the stitching – it’s usually first to go. Anmother test is look at how well and how straight the stitching is: on chear installations the stitch lines aren’t true. Why is that important? Because if the stitching isn’t right chances are the fit won’t be what you want.

Fit is interesting because two boats from the same maker seemingly identical, aren’t. One mistake we made in beginning our canvas division several years ago was believing we could turn out boat canvas to a singular pattern. We found it can’t be done and that’s why we believe each canvas installation is custom. Frankly, if the canvas isn’t measured to your boat it probably will fit poorly. We measure the boat from several points so we can get the symmetry needed. With that known we can cut and sew the canvas and make the tubular frames. Oh, yes, we do also make frames.

To the crunch: costs. We do have a menu (call Marie, our service manager at 604-530-2497 and she’ll give you an estimate). Why this route? Because your boat and what you want on it is specific to you and no one else. Prices can range from about $500 to $1500 so me telling you it will cost whatever is misleading. Too many variables such as boat size, what canvas you want installed or replaced, come into play, in all honesty.

Should you re-canvas? If you’re selling a good canvas job can increase the sales price considerably. If your canvas is faded and worn it makes the rest of the boat look cheap. Trust me on this – the investment in new canvas pays like having the kitchen renovated in a house increases the selling price.

One last: best time for getting canvas work done is when you put the boat up for the year. We don’t have to rush the job and can take time on making absolutely sure it’s perfect. How long? We need from two to four days to get it the way we want it but, in the winter months when it doesn’t matter how long it’s out of your storage and there’s a call on us making new or replacement canvas – which, when we’re busy takes up to two weeks to get around to a boat in the queue.

As always, if you have a question call me, our CEO Rob Bruch or Marie Holloway at Brigantine Marine Group.

Michael Read, president.
 
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