Recreational Marine Industry Surge Drives Demand for Fiberglass
Over the past year, consumer demand has positively impacted recreational industries including marine, which has seen increased production demand for personal boats. The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) reported that it expected to end 2020 with “annual boat sales reaching a 13-year high[i].”
Although many industries have struggled due to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand within the marine industry is good news for the composites industry, which is a mainstay in marine manufacturing.
As consumers drive demand for products within the recreational boating industry, fiberglass and other composite materials will continue to be considered as primary products used for boat manufacturing, as they have been for over a century.
The proof is in the performance.
The first composite racing shells date back to the late 1800’s, as builders recognized the strength-to-weight benefits of composite materials as compared to traditional wood or steel materials. Most standard shells are now built from glass, carbon, and Kevlar reinforced plastics. In the mid 1900’s, the first fiberglass boat hull was created. Since that time, fiberglass composite materials have been used in building recreational boats.
As the applications for composites grow within the marine industry, there is continued focus on sustainability to keep production viable—a goal that is shared by many market segments. The Rhode Island Marine Trades Association is doing its part by developing a sustainable financial model for fiberglass boat recycling.
The marine market for recreational and commercial products will continue to rely on composites to achieve reduced weight, improved performance, corrosion resistance, and strength to withstand extreme environmental conditions.
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