This project won The Outstanding Achievement Award in the Tops and Enclosures 29' and Under category at the 2016 MFA National Convention.
Pros and Cons of DIY Marine Enclosures vs. Going to a Pro
It might be tempting to try and build your own marine enclosure, but there are significant advantages to having it done professionally by a fabricator.
We all like to think of ourselves as handy and capable of doing things ourselves. However, when it comes to projects like DIY marine enclosures, there’s a lot to consider. Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of creating and installing your own marine enclosures.
- Savings. You can save on the labor and sometimes even the materials costs.
- Fun Project. This can be a fun project you do with your friends and family, and a great learning experience for everyone in the family.
- Knowledge. Making and installing your own enclosures will help you understand your boat’s finer details. Creating your own enclosures can also help you keep them in better shape and fix them when necessary.
- Material Costs. Finding the right material for your boat and its environment can take time. Also, if you choose the wrong material, you’ll have to buy more to get the job done.
- Sewing. Marine enclosures are often created using industrial sewing machines, which means you need to have one handy (or a good workaround) and know how to use it.
- Labor. While you might be saving on labor costs, you may put in more time and effort in understanding, designing, and finding the right materials for your marine enclosures than you can comfortable spare.
Creating your own marine enclosures requires knowledge and skills that include: sewing, understanding the different type of material, knowing when to use zippers or other fasteners, plus basic design and drafting skills to render the project before installation and so much more
The first step in making your own marine enclosures involves choosing the right textile for the job. Vinyl, acrylic, and other materials are available, but you have to do your due diligence and find out which one is best for your boat.
Consulting a professional is also a great way to gain more knowledge and help you make decisions that might take you days or weeks to research and understand, but they might not always be so forthcoming with free advice. Professionals can determine material costs and other factors quickly because they have extensive experience and relationships with vendors. While do-it-yourself marine enclosures can be a fun project, it might take you more time and effort than it’s worth, and it could end up costing almost as much as paying a professional. If you’re looking to save on labor costs, you can always negotiate.
Want to know where boating pros get their marine vinyl accessories? Download Where to Buy Marine Vinyl for Your Boat? A Guide for New Boat Owners