Shrinkwrapping Ships For Protection and DisplayRandy Dutton
Protect-A-Boat Division of FPM Inc. is the founder of boat shrinkwrapping and is the only company with a process patent for boat shrinkwrapping. Some of the historic ship preservation with which FPM has been involved include shrinkwrapping the Presidential Yacht Sequoia and the 171 foot sailing ship Gazelle, located on the Philadelphia dock. Both the Sequoia and Gazelle were shrinkwrapped to protect the ships and allow workers to perform repairs during the winter. Not only did the shrinkwrap covers provide environmental protection for the ships but they also allowed the workers to work in short sleeve shirts in indoor conditions.
Since 1981, millions of boats have been shrinkwrapped for transportation and winter storage. Most of these were shrinkwrapped by the boats' owners and boat manufacturers. And since 1981, several other companies have gotten into the business of protecting boats and ships with shrinkfilm, notably Shrink Wrap Solution whose pictures of their protection of a 135 foot ship I used in this presentation.
What is ship shrinkwrapping?
Shrinkwrapping is the envelopment of a boat, or part of a boat, with a tight plastic skin and through the application of heat.
Why use shrinkwrap?
To protect the ship against environmental damage during reconstruction or repairs, or while awaiting repair funding. The environmental factors shrinkwrapping can virtually eliminate are:
To protect the ship for a season against winter storms.
To provide a humidity and temperature controlled environment for custom paints, patching materials, and solvents.
To save money by reducing labor costs, workers compensation, insurance, lost material charges, and risk of environmental contamination.
To increase reflective lighting and productivity.
To continue educational tours during inclement weather.
To prove to funding contributors that their money is being well spent!
Without protection the adverse factors:
Degrade your ships through dry rot, mildew, rust, and corrosive compounds.
Reduce the effectiveness of your workforce when conducting repairs, by
Degrade the repair materials prior to installation.
Reduce your ability to conduct educational tours.
Who can shrinkwrap?
Any experienced ship shrinkwrapping company that, when using FPM's patent, goes through FPM. It additionally is important to verify their credentials and past work.
Where can shrinkwrapping be done?
Virtually anywhere. Shrinkwrapping can be done while the ship is in dry-dock or in the water, during cold or hot weather. It is not advisable to shrinkwrap during windy, moist days, however, framing can be assembled during those times.
How much should it cost?
The amount is relative to the design, environmental conditions, location of the work, personnel to be involved, the type materials used, and any related equipment rental. Each job is unique. To give an example, a 100 foot ship, in San Francisco, using Armorshield PlusTM, might cost approximately $10,000-15,000 to shrinkwrap, whereas, the schooner Wapama, protected down to the keel might cost $40,000. This amounts to less than 0.3 percent of the $17 million estimated cost of structural repairs to the Wapama. But consider all the costs associated with not properly protecting your ship and weigh the difference.
Currently, most ships are stored virtually unprotected. When protection is provided it usually is in the form of tarps spread across a small portion of the ship. Tarps have the following disadvantages:
How shrinkwrapping would protect your ships.Working with the customer we would determine your requirements:
Then we would:
The materials used can include
Once the cover is installed, modifications can be made to meet later requirements. With the proper design, sections of the ship can be uncovered without adversely affecting the remaining cover, or additional areas can be covered. Want to show off part of the ship but keep it covered? Replace the film with a clear shrinkfilm. Want to keep the ship covered for an additional year or two? That can be attained by fusing an additional layer of film to the existing layer. Want additional accesses and more ventilation? That can be easily done. Want a dehumidified environment? A dehumidification system can easily be installed.
Safety: Our process has been used on millions of boats and over 5000 fueled military helicopters with no known significant accidents.
Shrinkwrapping a historic ship for preservation and display purposes is the most cost effective way to protect and showcase a national asset. Shrinkwrapping works for any very large and irregularly shaped object and is the most incredibly flexible preservation system in existence today.
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