By Elizabeth Kerr

We all know what a fresh coat of paint can do for a room. The same holds true for the interiors of boats except instead of paint, you can introduce a new swatch of fabric that can do amazing things to a dining area, the salon and even a sleeping cabin.

Not everyone can buy a new boat, but a relatively small investment and some taste can provide a fresh new look and feel…and it's not that hard to do.

Most boats built before the 1990s offered dark-coloured wood interiors such as teak or mahogany and small windows and port holes all making inside the boats dark and gloomy. Deck hatches were used in limited ways.

Over the last decade, special new adhesives (developed for automotive use) have enabled boat builders to incorporate larger areas of glass bonded directly to the fibreglass structure. Big windows are even being used in hull sides, bringing in amounts of daylight that no one could have posibly imagined before the 1990s.

Not ready to buy that new boat yet? So why not hire a boat interior designer to help you lighten up your boat's interior and give it a fresh contemporary look through the right selection and use of fabrics.

Shelly Foord, a decorator who operates Anchors Away Custom Boat Bedding has had years of experience helping boat owners do just this. We spent some time with Shelley chatting about some of her most recent "upgrades".

Shelley told us that budgets range from as low as $1,000 to more than $10,000 depending on how much fabric is needed, the number of cushions, the type of materials used as well as various aspects of detail and execution. Other decorators redoing boat interiors may charge more, or less, but that kind of price tag seems pretty reasonable if it updates a sound, but stinky older boat.

There is no way around it; boats live in the water and that brings in plenty of dampness. Remember, most boats remain in relatively cold water during the boating season, however in the morning when the sun hits the cabin roof, it can get quite warm inside and condensation may result. Most fabrics don’t like moisture and the fabric can breakdown, the upholstery foam can be damaged, mildew can begin growing and things can get rather musty.

Cabin areas get little ventilation so it’s not easy to get cooking odours out, especially grease from frying. Even engine exhaust and the presence of fuel and oil onboard can sometimes permeate upholstery, carpets and headliners.

We asked Shelley Ford or her customers were looking for.

“The main thing people want is just to generally update the look of their boat, or to transform a dark interior into one that’s lighter and brighter.” Shelley told us. “In fact, sometimes they want the boat to be nicer than their house!”

A boat is a special place. It’s where you have great times with family and friends, where you have your special vacation and where you go to relax and enjoy yourself. As Shelley explained, some people are willing to live with anything at home, but they want 500-thread count sheets on their boat!

Contemporary boat decor seems to focus around brighter and more neutral colours like varying shades of taupe, white and beige. Textures are appealing, patterns are less popular; main upholstered areas often employ a single colour or fabric giving a more unified, spacious appearance. For a splash of colour, Shelley recommends using accent cushions in different materials to connect the various colours onboard, giving more visual interest and coordination.

The addition of privacy curtains can quickly and easily modify how the floor plan works onboard too.

In many cases – although quite surprising to me – many foam cushions, even on older boats, are still in good condition, so the original foam can be retained, saving both money and time. (A useful trick is to apply steam to puff the foam up before recovering.)

Fabrics come in all shapes, sizes, price points and, of course, degrees of water-resistance. This means that you can set your budget for any upgrade project. Of course, you can use premium quality marine material like Sunbrella upholstery materials in the interior areas, but you can also source home-type materials that function well. For areas where food or beverages are served, Shelley recommends that those materials are ‘Scotchguarded’.

Customers often ask about beds. Some of the higher-end new boats come with innerspring type mattress like the ones you have at home but, commonly, boats don’t adhere to standard bed sizes and finding someone who will make you a spring mattress to a custom size is a challenge.

Instead, Shelley has added different densities of foam to achieve the firmness or support required (underneath) to prevent sleepers from “bottoming out” on the wood the mattress is lying on as well as applying a softer top layer for greater comfort. New sheets and you have a great looking bed.

Like any project, you have to set your budget and align that with what you'd like done. Getting quotes is a great way to start. No matter the investment you are prepared to make, it could be a great upgrade to tackle this winter!

By Elizabeth A. Kerr

Destinations

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At the 2019 Vancouver International Boat Show I had the pleasure of meeting up with Allyson and ...
Following the harsh impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, The British Virgin Islands is making an ...
For the adventurous boater Bunsby Marine Provincial Park is a special place, situated due south of ...
There is good anchoring in Cowichan Bay and nearby, and salt water enough to make any boater happy. ...
We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set ...
The Halifax waterfront has been attracting more and more large yachts in recent years. However, a ...
Ah Canadian simplicity at its finest; small town, big marina. Little Hilton Beach (population ...
Vancouver-based Big Blue Yacht Charters Worldwide owner Emma Murdoch explains that luxury crewed ...
In the 1920s, a small cove in Canoe Bay was used as a shipping point and safe-haven for rum runners ...
Here’s an update from Caroline Swann with some news for the adventurous types who may be heading to ...


The Marina at Blind ChannelOne of my favourite places

By Marianne Scott

Sailing north of Desolation Sound, the Discovery Islands and the Broughton Archipelago offer cruisers a bevy islands with ample anchorages. Tides cause swift currents to run through the islands’ waterways. Few marinas are found in this large, sparsely populated region but one that provides all the services boaters need and especially enjoy is Blind Channel, a marina and resort operated by the Richter family located on Mayne Passage on the east side of West Thurlow Island (50 24. 82N, 125 30. 00).

Read more about the Blind Channel Resort...

 

Lifestyle

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At the end of last month, Canadian sailors gathered on the Palma Beach in Palma de Mallorca, Spain ...
In 2019, C-TOW celebrates its 35th anniversary of providing 24/7 “Peace of Mind Boating” for ...
West Vancouver Yacht Club reports that following an independent certification process the Georgia ...
It has been hot in the Abacos this winter. Whoever said this area was cool this time of year must ...
Unfortunately this is not a picture from a boat but was taken on the evening of February 27, 2019 ...
On March 1, Tom Ramshaw of Stoney Lake Yacht Club was honoured with the most prestigious National ...
Vero Beach, aka Velcro Beach, lived up to its reputation again. Our original plan was to be there ...
My husband and I were visiting the Bra d'Or Lake from Newfoundland in our 39 foot Sea Ray ...
After an autumn in Canada, we arrived back in northern Florida at Adamant 1 on January 3rd and with ...
This issue, to kick off 2019, we have an unofficial Photo of the week and this, the unofficial ...

Boat Reviews

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ILCA is seeking new builders to complement its existing network of manufacturers, the International ...
Nelson Gilbert (1854-1921) began building canoes in Brockville in the 1890s, a time when the sport ...
I have heard a lot of talk lately about trends in yacht clubs where senior membership is getting ...
To get you in the mood for cruising the Boat Show then launching in spring, here’s a boat that ...
Quite simply, the styles of boats have changed. Where in past years a buyer might have been looking ...
At the boat shows, the Ranger Tugs’ classic tugboat lines always grab the crowds, with the wives ...
Sometimes a great idea requires an encore, and French yacht builder Jeanneau got that with the ...
Tactical Custom Boats announces the sale to a North American client of a custom Tactical 77’ – Fast ...
Bruce Elliott is an inventor. And when he sold the technology he developed to build utility poles ...
One often asks of a winning achievement or a fabulous design, could it have possibly been done ...

Swift Trawler 47By Andy Adams

You might look at the pictures of the new Beneteau Swift Trawler 47 and think that this is not a “performance boat”, but I think it certainly is, and here is why; it can top out at 30 mph to get you from A to B quickly or to beat the weather in, so it’s pretty fast, but it can also loaf along doing 1,250 rpm making 9.3 mph and at that pace, it travels 2.4 miles on a gallon of fuel. That’s great performance in my books!

With a light displacement of almost 28,000 lbs, this is a big boat. In fact, it looks and feels more like a small ship than a big boat.

Read more about the Swift Trawler 47......

 

Beneteau Oceanis 46.1By Andy Adams and John Armstrong

Beneteau Oceanis 46.1When Beneteau introduced their new Oceanis 46.1, they were inspired by the fact that their previous Oceanis 45 was one of Beneteau’s best sellers and the new 46.1 had to be a clearly superior boat. The Oceanis range is about space and comfort for cruising while still delivering strong performance.

The yachting world has now recognized the Oceanis 46.1 as being just such a worthy successor. On January 19th, 2019, the Oceanis 46.1 won the highly regarded title of European Yacht of the Year in the “Family Cruiser” category.

Read More about the Oceanis 46.1......

Marine Products

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The Walker Bay Venture 14 claims to be the world’s first luxury Explorer Sport Tender. It is ...
Mercury Marine is pleased to announce the launch of the new MerCruiser V8 6.2L 370hp Jet Ready ...
My history with the Cayenne goes back many years, as I was at the launch of the original vehicle ...
Last month, Mercury Marine has announced the launch of the 400hp Verado outboard engine, the ...
Featuring advanced, intuitive 3D controls, Zipwake Dynamic Trim Control Systems deliver a more ...
Gina de Vere approached me at the Canadian Yachting booth at this year’s Vancouver International ...
A revolutionary “assisted docking” system that provides a glimpse into the future of boating ...
After developing the Figaro Beneteau 3, the first production foiling sailing yacht, Groupe Beneteau ...
You most likely operate your vessel with batteries that are rechargeable. Rechargeable batteries ...
This past decade has been a real up-and-down ride for the companies who make boating equipment. ...