Marine Foam

Written by Patricia Skinner
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Foam has become such an important material to boat builders and boat enthusiasts everywhere that it is now known in many circles as marine foam, or flotation foam. The main reason for using foam on a marine vessel is to give the craft improved capabilities to float, even when damaged or swamped with water. However, foam also has the added benefits of soundproofing a boat, to one degree or another, depending on how much foam has been used. Spray foam is also often used as a refrigeration insulator, in boats and elsewhere.

Marine foam is a highly popular form of adding buoyancy to basically any type of marine vessel, and even decks and jetties. Foam is used in a number of different forms for buoyancy. It can basically be poured or sprayed into the areas where it's needed, or it can be inserted in the form of foam filled bags. This last option is the most common way to add buoyancy to canoes and kayaks, for example.

Adding Buoyancy to a Boat

The quickest and simplest way of adding buoyancy to the hull of any larger boat, however, is by spraying polyurethane foam into the stringer system. This is so effective, that we are now beginning to see a generation of marine craft that are built entirely without wood. Instead, marine engineers have come up with a winning combination of fiber glass with a polyurethane core. You can achieve vastly improved levels of buoyancy though, by using spray foam on your traditionally made boat.

Polyurethane foam is popular because it will resist the absorption of water. However, it is not completely waterproof, so for an area that will be exposed to water it is a good idea to enclose the area to make it waterproof. Any flotation material that becomes waterlogged will lose some of its buoyancy.

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