October 2018 - Shop Talk

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October means fall is upon us, for the north of the country winterizing is on the minds of most boaters while in the south, the falls cooler temps give more enjoyment for long days on the water. Falls is also the time of two of the biggest industry shows in North America; IBEX & FLIBS.

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IBEX, stands for the industrial boating exhibitors exposition. If it can be mounted on a boat or used to produce boats you will find it at IBEX. Companies bring their latest and greatest products and technologies to IBEX to display for boating enthusiasts, boat builders, and designers. It is a must attend for builders. Almost every single product we purchase will have a representing booth on display. Giving us a single location to find answers to questions and establish new visions for the upcoming year.

This year at IBEX we found one underlying theme among many of the vendors: digital switching. With the technology age of boating still playing catch up to the automotive industry, the demand for improved switching and vessel interface controls is ever growing. Digital switching leads to many ooo’s and ahhhhh’s as the ability to control almost unlimited devices can be achieved through a single interface display. This display can even be simply your chart plotter or engine management screen. We even saw in a lighting display booth you now can preset different light configurations depending on your activity or mood. Seamlessly each light on the vessel can be adjusted with a single preset selection. While more of a show piece than a necessary option, it can offer convenience for larger vessels where you will want to adjust multiple zones at once throughout the boat.

This technology it’s just focused at lights, it can also be used for other equipment as well. Inverters, battery chargers, stereo systems, wipers, and sunshades can all be adapted to run on digital switching. Even the new electric seat swivel and sliders can be configured to operate through your main helm display. Obviously many of you are asking what do you do if the system fails, or the screen you use to control the switching locks up. It is just a computer after all, and we all have experienced frustration at one point or another with electronics. But have no fear, companies do offer traditional toggle or push button switching to supplement the digital switch panel. This second “fail safe” panel can be hidden out of the way for emergency use. Always a short recommendation to have, because boating is adventurous enough as is.

Outside of digital switching we have really taken a liking to automatically re-settable push button dash face breakers. With their modern and high end finish these switches can turn any traditional looking dash to a pleasant, professional helm. And the functionality of them being reset able breakers makes them easier to use for the clients as well. With many amp rated options and multiple back lit color choices they are wonderful.

 

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Some other great ideas we took away from the show are CNC machined acrylic panels which can machined in a way to resemble tile. We have already ordered our first batch of panels to install in the bathroom space of a 31’ Full Cabin. Results will be shared around Christmas time. For those of you who have also been following our latest 2018 builds you would of seen our commitment to incorporating more direct glazed glass panels. The look has been superb, and the water tight integrity is the best for spotter windows. Taking this commitment to the next level, we focused in on slider windows systems incorporated into the direct glazing glass. They provide a frameless finishing to the boats, and provide a true yacht level finish. While not a practical solution for all clients, we are extremely excited to integrate this system first into our Yachtline of vessels.

 

Speaking of Yachtline, this month on our website we unveiled a new line of vessels we are featuring as our Yachtline of products. These vessels are distinguished for their look, form, and function. It will compliment our traditional and professional series models.

DELIVERIES

29FT Full Cabin XLT

PARTING NOTES

There has never been a more exciting time to be a boat builder. The technology gap between the automotive industry and marine industry is shrinking. We are seeing huge improvements in all aspects. But don’t we fooled with all the glitz and glam as the new shinny gizmos, boats need to perform in extreme conditions. Our safety depends on it. There is something to be said for dependability and proven products. So if you adventure to be the first on the pier with the latest tech, just have the expectation that you may find unexpected issues.

September 2018 - Shop Talk

 40HT132 - Triple/Quad, Available for Pre-Order

40HT132 - Triple/Quad, Available for Pre-Order

September is a memorable time of the year for us. It was 3 years ago that we launched LIFE PROOF BOATS at Seattle’s annual end of season, Boats Afloat Show. On display at that first boat show we showcased 6 very distinct models; including a 20’ Cuddy Cabin, 21’ Runabout, and most notably our 30’ Convertible.

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Here we are 3 years later, with an ever growing brand following and continuing the trend of using this show to spring board some of our latest models out in the open for public consumption.

At this years show we brought over 5 boats for display with a full array of unique features. Our most popular feature being, you guessed it, our drop bow door!

Starting from left to right at this years show you would of seen: a 33’ Full Cabin with a 500HP Cummins Diesel Engine coupled to a Hamilton 292 waterjet, a 23’ 300HP Volvo D4 Sterndrive Hardtop, a 18’ RIB Tender, a 31’ GT Coupe with Mercury’s latest 300HP Verado’s, and a 27’ Full Cabin with a pair of Honda 250 IST engines.

The show was a huge success. We got to meet a lot of great people, both in the industry and potential new clients. From now through the Miami show is really the hottest time for our sales team, with, ironically, the summer months being the slow time of the year. I guess everyone is busy out on the water!

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DELIVERIES

29FT Full Cabin

-Stand Up Head/Shower

-Twin 350HP Outboards with Joystick

31FT GT COUPE

-Twin 300HP Outboards

-In Deck Fish Boxes

-Toilet in Cuddy

21FT Hardtop Pro

-Twin 115HP Outboards

-Drop bow door

18FT RIB (still available for sale)

-90HP Yamaha

TECH TALK
This month we are going to talk about our outboards since they really are the heart of the boat. Outboards are quickly growing to be the choice for the mainstream of boaters under 45FT. With even some of the larger 45-50ft center consoles putting quintuplets on the transom! Now boats are much more unique than cars, one of the main examples of this is just in how diverse the power plant options can be. Even on the same boat model you can have 10 or more available engine configurations. Of those options, they may come from all over the world. Our 31’ length hull models are a perfect example of this. A client can choose to go with a set of 250HP outboards from Japan or a set of 400HP outboards from the US. Of course these will have dramatic impacts on the boats characteristics so we help guide the client to the best fit for their application. And just to make it interesting with the lower weight of Mercury’s new 300R motors, you can now put three of them on the back of most boats originally rated for twin 350’s. The other reason you should look at these new 300’s is because unlike most of the other engine’s in this HP class, they are recommended for 87 octane. In the Pacific Northwest, for example, we are limited to 87 octane due to supply on the water. It’s rare to find a location that supply’s a higher octane on the water unless you pull out your boat and take it to a local gas station.

One of the most asked question we get is what is the best outboard on the market. That’s a great question but it requires a politically correct, complex answer. At Life Proof Boats, we can supply your boat with just about any major OEM brand.

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Strong points for each brand:

Mercury engines in the 250-400HP range are so quiet you can often forget they are even on. They also deliver the power smoothly and offer a wide range of factory options. They do make the boating experience more comfortable, and fun.

Honda engines are known as dependable and affordable. Built on the foundation of the historically dependable car engines, the marine line follows suit with proven dependable engines that also tend to lead the pack with fuel efficiency. They also have not changed much in the last decade so they have a very good database of information on how the engines are performing. It’s exciting to see what’s going to come out next from Honda as they begin development of the larger HP models. Last year a team of six engineers from Japan sat down with us to pick our brains on what design features & characteristics are the most important to us.

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Suzuki’s are also a great option in looking for a dependable, affordable engine. While their market share is not as large as Mercury or Yamaha, clients that have them seem to speak highly of them. I have seen repeat clients, so they are proving to be a great alternative for a lot of people. Unveiled last year, the dual prop outboards from Suzuki are great candidates to heavier boats since the dual prop configuration will allow for less “slip”, and more of that HP being put to use. But with dual propellers the gear case is not as slim as some of the single prop faster lower units.

Last but not forgotten BRP has bucked the trend of the 4 stroke engine and continues to refine the 2 stroke. They have shown it can go toe to toe with the other 4 stroke models. They do have a following of clients who want nothing but Evinrudes on their transoms. One of their latest advancements has been their incredibly affordable outboard joystick system. At a 1/3 or less the cost of the other brands joystick system, the I-Dock system from BRP offers a lot of the same features. Making it incredibly popular with clients.

Whether you burn oil or change it, today’s outboards are all really competitive and similar when it comes to dependability and features. The first step in choosing your engine brand is what does your local service center maintain. With growing part counts and electronic components on these sophisticated engines, buy one that you know can be diagnosed and serviced by your trusted, local service center. And don’t forget to check with your local marinas first to see what octane level you have access to, because your 350 may only be producing 315 due to low octane ratings.

WHATS IN THE SHOP RIGHT NOW

The weld shop is busy this month as we continue to gear up with personnel and equipment. With the continued growth we decided it was time to purchase a press brake, so we found a 130TN 12’ Accurpress which fit the bill nicely.

Currently in the shop are four full cabins, two 31FT model’s and two 33FT model’s.

In the rigging shop we were busy working on a 40FT Snorkel Boat heading to Maui, a 29FT Full Cabin, an 18FT RIB Tender, and a couple 21-22FT Law Enforcement Boats.

PARTING NOTES

September is always a fun month. With the end of the season brings reflection on the summer, and new ideas as clients think about the possibilities of next summer. We also ran a national campaign with Passengermaker and Power and Motor Yacht magazine. This sparked the new design at the top of this newsletter. Shown here as a 41FT length we also have it drawn as a 35FT length. And we feel we can be competitive in pricing to any of the larger fiberglass T-Tops.

August 2018 - Shop Talk

 New 31FT Full Cabin as part of our Yachtline. The aluminum has been ordered and will be complete Q1 of 2019! 

New 31FT Full Cabin as part of our Yachtline. The aluminum has been ordered and will be complete Q1 of 2019! 

August was a hot one! So hot in fact we ordered a pair of the top of the line evaporative coolers to help the crews battle the heat while still keeping pace for busiest month to date. All of us in the Pacific Northwest also faced a continuing summer tread, weeks of forest fire generated smoke filling the air. The smoke not only created a stifling atmosphere but out on the water the visibility was so poor at times that you couldn’t see more than a mile! Challenging the smaller fishing boats on the water. For us, it gave us more of an opportunity to test the new radar units and chart plotters.

One of the great new features we are sharing with our clients are the “auto guidance / routing” features now available in US waterways. Offered by both our OEM brands, Simrad & Garmin, with two simple clicks on the screen, your chartplotter can now provide you with a calculated, safe navigable route. Much like your cars navigation system. For those that also add autopiloting or Mercury’s JPO system, once the route has been generated, you can simply engage your autopilot and away you go. Now I know what you are thinking, while similar to the Tesla auto driving principle, boats do not have the sophisticated sensors to warn you and steer you around obstacles in the water, including other boats! So while it will generate a course, following the waypoints and warn you of AIS collision targets you will still have to be vigilant at the helm. The larger summer tides pull a lot of wood from the beaches, and they often get stuck current rips that form due to our ever changing underwater landscape.

So why use these new features if they still require attention at the helm, well because they can also offer some safety features and they generate important information about your journey. Like your time to arrive, distance to your destination, and thus fuel consumption. As far as safety features, because they are auto-routing, they are generating waypoints that are located away from shallow water or underwater obstacles. When waypoints are manually entered we often enter fewer points because it takes too long. Well the auto-routing generates as many points as it needs to keep your route away from the dangerous underwater features. It will even notify you of hazards you may pass on our journey. Like channel buoys or harbors.

To add auto-routing for either charting brands, all you need is the latest software updates and Platinum charts.

WHATS IN THE SHOP RIGHT NOW

Boats that moved out of the weld shop this month included: 40FT Dive Boat for Maui, Custom 33FT Full Cabin with flush deck and luxurious amenities, 18FT RIB

While we were continuing to weld on: 31FT Full Cabin & 22FT RIB

At the rigging shop we finished the second 31FT GT Coupe and continued work on a 29FT Full Cabin, 18FT RIB, 21FT Center Console, and the 40FT Dive Boat for Maui.

 

BOAT SHOWS

In August we attended the Maritime Security conference in San Diego. This conference is held twice a year. In the late summer/ fall on the west coast and in the spring on the east coast. We were asked to present at the show on innovative technologies we are working on and what trends we are seeing in the industry.

 

CUSTOMER FOLLOW UPS

With so many clients out on the water this year we had lots of great stories to share. The Falcon Patrol become a fishing catching machine in the Puget sound. This first time boat owner, absolutely loved the control and usability the Mercury JPO system gave him. He can back his boat into his narrow slip with ease!

We also heard from a few boats that headed north seeking adventure. At only a 3.5hr run we had client go from Roache to Cortez Island. He loves the speed at which he can travel comfortably, making day trips out of slower weekend trips in his old boat. In “Flirtn’ with Disaster” a 29FT Hardtop, our client shared from Lund it only took then 1:45 to get all the way up to Chatterbox Falls. Something we could never had done before. Even the recently delivered Side Targa blew the clients away for how comfortable the boat was. They adventured all summer and spent 11 overnight trips up in Desolation Sound.

Our boats are designed for safety, versatility, and adventure. Our clients are out on them and finding out exactly what we talk about. Come see us at the Lake Union Boats - Afloat in September and learn more! 

July 2018 - Shop Talk

LEARN WHAT TOOK PLACE IN JULY 2018

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July is the pinnacle of summer fun. With the month kicking off with one of the best reasons to get out on the water for the 4th, and followed up with the start to crabbing and salmon fishing season in the Pacific NW, boating season is in full swing. Life Proof Boats is also in full swing, with the weld shop busy wrapping up welding on a new 29FT Full Cabin, and 21FT Center Console while continuing progress on a sleek looking new 33FT Full Cabin, 31FT Full Cabin, 40FT Passenger RIB for Maui, and a 18FT RIB. 

In the rigging facility we are currently working on our second GT coupe,  a 33FT Full Cabin with Diesel Inboard, a 23FT Runabout, and starting work on the new 29FT Full Cabin and 21FT Center Console. 

New Boats Launched this month include our new 33FT Full Cabin "Orcin Whales" and the 23FT Runabout that we currently have for sale as a spec boat. 

BOAT SHOWS ATTENDED

We had a great time attending our first Kirkland Uncorked Event, exhibiting with the NMTA who also is the group that puts on the Seattle Boat Show. It was a weekend full of sun which brought a lot of new people out who got too see the two boats we brought over for the event: a 23FT Runabout and 23FT Diesel Center Console. 

We also flew to Baltimore to exhibit at the MACC (Multi Agency Craft Conference) Show. It is sponsored by the American Society of Naval Engineers. At this show most exhibitors bring some of the latest and great boats and equipment to show the USCG, ARMY, NAVY, AIR FORCE, and other attending agencies. It is also a great event for us as a boat builder to learn about the future contracts and goals the Federal Government wants to achieve over the next couple of years. Diesel Outboard technology continues to be one of the biggest focal points at the show. We were able to ride on a boat fitted with the OXE diesel outboards, and BRP's new multi fuel engine which will hopefully also be capable of running on diesel. Currently it is approved for JP, gasoline, and kerosene. 

COMPANY CHANGES 

We extended job offers to a handful of skilled boat builders this month with focuses on expanding all departments in the company. Very excited about our new team members. Some of which are travel here from other states around the US. 

CUSTOMER FOLLOW UPS

We received a great email this month from a client. There was an accident that took place with a pair of jet skiers over the weekend. He wanted to thank us because it was due to the "great boats" that we was able to rescue them and he wanted us to pass that along to our employees. 

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Also had a great opportunity to go out fishing with one of our clients on BOLT. I can report our boats catch fish! And Crab! It was a fun outing! 

CONCLUSION

We hope everyone has a safe month on the water, and we look forward to sharing more in our August Shop Talk! 

SAFE BOATING EVERYONE!

WorkBoat Magazine Reporting on Whale Tour Boat

Life Proof Boats delivers whale watcher to Washington state

By Ken Hocke on MAY 7, 2018

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New whale watcher is working the waters around San Juan Islands in Washington state. Life Proof Boats photo

Inventech Maine Solutions — builders of Life Proof Boats in Bremerton, Wash. — has delivered a 40’x12′ whale watching tour boat to Western Prince Cruises/Orca Whale Watch, Friday Harbor, Wash.

The Subchapter T vessel has been approved for commercial coastwise service carrying 26 passengers and two crew. It is propelled by a pair of Hamiltonjet HJ292 waterjets which are powered by twin Cummins QSB 6.7 480-hp diesel engines with ZF 280 transmissions.

Capacities include 275 gals. of diesel fuel and 20 gals. of fresh water. Scantling, keel bar and plating was calculated using Lloyd’s G2 service area requirements.

During stability on-water tests, testing was considered with 200 lbs. per person simulated to cover any future increase in the Coast Guard’s recognized weight per passenger. The configuration of passengers seated, standing or moving to one side, passed the requirements with additional safety margins.

Western Prince Cruises came to Life Proof Boats for the newest addition to its fleet because they felt the boatbuilder was the best fit for this business model, Life Proof said. After understanding more about Western Prince’s operations, Life Proof drafted a conceptual model for the center console layout.

IMS designs and engineers all of its vessels in house. The new whale watcher is based on the family of Life Proof Boats 22° deadrise all 5086 aluminum construction monohull with closed cell foam collars. Final lightship weight was recorded as 15,330 lbs. During builders trials the vessel’s top speed was 43.6 knots with ¾ fuel and water, and five persons on board. During trials, which simulated a max weight load, the vessel recorded a cruise speed of 33.5 knots, burning a combined 35.4 gph, giving the vessel a 7.7 hours/258 nm range at cruising speed.

The electronics package includes a Simrad GPS/depth/radar, Standard Horizon VHF and Fusion stereo with a hydrophone connection to give clients the experience of listening to the underwater songs of whales singing. The console is set above the engine room giving crew maximum visibility with limited obstructions to seek out the waters of the San Juan Islands’ marine life. To assist with an unbalanced load, the vessel is fitted with a Zipwake automatic trim control system. The bow is configured with in-deck storage and a manual lowering drop-bow with a fold four-step ladder for beach landing.

Customers can enjoy 4″ thick cushions with durable black and red seats. Each seated position has storage inside the box, and forward facing seats include mesh pockets for storing small items during the journey. There is also a onboard fresh water plumbed flushing head in the forward trunk of the center console. In addition, the vessel carries automatic fire suppression, a brass “shark bell” warning bell, a 30-person IBA, multiple water-tight compartments and foam collars with additional buoyancy foam within the engine room and hull voids.

Aluminum, Salt Water and Different Alloys

We recently received a email asking about aluminum boats and how it holds up in salt water, because this particular individual was told by a friend aluminum doesn't hold up long term in salt water. 

Well I put together a response to that email and i thought I would share my response to him. 

Here is email original question:

"Hello, I have been looking at your boats and wanted to ask what you think about aluminum hulls and salt water? I been looking to upgrade my alumacraft and talking to a buddy saying the next boat I get I should stay away from aluminum's if I plan to continue to play in the sound. After 8 years my boat has shown some salt water damage. I wanted to get your opinion on why I should stay with aluminum boats. specifically if I choose to go with your boats. thanks "

Here is my response:

"Thanks for contacting us with this inquiry. There is a reason aluminum is such a favorite of the commercial industry and is continuing to be more popular with NW fisherman. It is extremely durable, and strong. Fiberglass cracks, fades, and is hard to repair. With aluminum boats, you just use them and don’t worry about what happens. Now you mention salt water and protection from galvanic corrosion. Just like any piece of metal, aluminum will corrode over time, that is why boats that are left in salt water do need to be bottom painted, this creates a barrier from the salt water. It also helps with growth. The second requirement is having the proper cathodic protection. Typically called Zincs. All metal parts should have Zincs on them, like outboards for example have them. They are sacrificial and protect the boats. We don't use true Zincs anymore but choose to use a specific alloy of aluminum that is designed to better protect aluminum boats. Most engine manufactures use material as well. 

As long as you replace your Zincs on a regular basis and keep the bottom paint on the hull you wont have any issues. I have fished on 40 year old boats in Alaska made from aluminum and they are just as good as the day they were new, if you keep up the maintenance on them. Cant say the same for 40 year old fiberglass boats.

Now there are different types of aluminum and they respond differently in salt water. 5086 alloy is generally considered industry standard for commercial boats. 5052 is used a lot in river jet boats because it is softer and can flex more when they hit river rocks. But it is not as good in salt water and does not have the same overall strength properties of 5086.

Aluminum boats are often referred to as Tin boats because of the thin gauge of aluminum used in their construction. That is generally only with the “cookie cutter” style aluminum boats that are mass produced and for sale at big box stores. They are also made with cheaper alloys of aluminum to help with cost and retail price. Now we only choose to only use 5086, it is one of the most expensive alloy grades but is the best. The Navy requires 5086 alloy below the waterline on all their contracts, if that tells you anything.

I hope this helps explain more on aluminum, boats, and salt water use."

Seattle Boat Show 2018

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Life Proof Boats will be @ 2018 Seattle Boat Show! 

January 26th - February 3rd 

Century Link Event Field - Booth EAST HALL 212

See more details at SeattleBoatShow.com

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BOATS ON DISPLAY

 33FT FULL CABIN

33FT FULL CABIN

 27FT FULL CABIN

27FT FULL CABIN

 21FT TTOP

21FT TTOP

 13FT RIB

13FT RIB


AT BELL STREET MARINA 

We will also be exhibiting in the water at Bell Street Marina. 

 31FT Full Cabin

31FT Full Cabin

 31FT Full Cabin

31FT Full Cabin


If you want to setup a private meeting during the show with a sales agent please let us know. 


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31FT GT Coupe to join new models for 2018

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Already announcing a handful of new models for 2018, Life Proof Boats is pleased to announce another model has finished the design phase is green lighted to start production first quarter of 2018. This project code named the "GT Coupe" is targeting a market of clients who love the feeling of a open cabin boat (no rear bulkhead) but have the option of snapping in a canvas enclosure to create a closed cabin compartment for those raining or cold days on the water. Lounging and entertaining guests is also a major focal point for this design driving a flush cabin deck and lots of seating options. This first production model will feature three suspension seats but available options for cabin layouts will offer an additional bench seat in lieu of the rear suspension seat. 

Interacting with the water is our class leading 22 degree, fine entry 31FT hull. Outfitted with twin 350HP outboards this boat will see speeds on the boarder line of 60mph. With Suzuki's new dual prop 350HP outboards and gear ratio you should easily be able to push this boat beyond the 60mph mark. 

Available with our signature drop bow door, and fold out ladder. This is sure a boat that will favor well with any boater looking to do some exploring. 

The list of amenities available is more than the fair share for the average boater. A flushing head, is standard on all models and the cuddy cabin berth is large enough to easily accommodate two adults overnight in comfort. 

 

 


Come find us at the 2018 Seattle Boat Show to find out more details.