28' Skater Speedboat - Exterior Upholstery by Chicago Marine Canvas

Chicago Marine Canvas Wins Twin 2019 Outstanding Achievement Awards

58' Bayliner Pilothouse - Canvas Enclosure by Chicago Marine Canvas
58′ Bayliner Pilothouse – Canvas Enclosure

(Long Beach, CA – Jan. 12, 2019) – Chicago Marine Canvas was recognized with the 2019 Fabrication Excellence Awards for design excellence in marine fabric applications, that took place Jan. 12th at the 2019 Marine Fabricators Conference, at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA.

Chicago Marine Canvas received two Awards of Excellence.   The first for it’s The Labor Day Weekend Show project which was recognized in the competition’s soft enclosures category.  The second for A “Skater” with Style in the exterior upholstery category.  

MFA received a total of 90 entries submitted in 9 categories in this year’s competition. Winners were selected based on complexity, design, workmanship, uniqueness and function. Judges were certified Master Fabric Craftsman professionals who were chosen for their knowledge in a particular product area.

28' Skater Boat - Captain Chair
28′ Skater Boat – Captain Chair

All entries receive prominent recognition at the Marine Fabricators Conference. Entrants receive additional publicity through coverage in the Marine Fabricator and winners not only receive additional coverage in the Marine Fabricatorbut also on the MFA website and in future MFA marketing material.

The goal of the awards is to promote awareness of the marine fabrics used in marine products and applications ranging in size and type.

The Fabrication Excellence Awards is a competition sponsored by MFA, a division of the Industrial Fabrics Association International, a not-for-profit trade association whose over 1,500-member companies represent the international specialty fabrics and technical textiles marketplace.

58' Bayliner Pilothouse Bridge - Canvas Enclosure by Chicago Marine Canvas
58′ Bayliner Pilothouse Bridge

Winter Sailboat Cover – Cal 25 Sagatuck, MI

Winter Sail Boat Cover
Winter Sailboat Cover

The owner of this Cal 25 contacted us to have a winter sailboat cover made for their boat which was being moved to Sagatuck, MI.  The winters on the great lakes can be cold and snow fall totals can be in excess of 12″ per event.   Instead of draping canvas over the boom and the rest of the hull we fabricated a heavy galvanized steel frame that would sit over all of the rigging and then rest outside of the lifelines.   This would ultimately keep the cover off the Cal 25 sailboat itself but also allowed over 6′ of headroom underneath the cover to perform any maintenance or prep work before next season began.

Galvanized Steel Skeleton Frame

The frame itself acts as a skeleton on top of the boat with a spine and then ribs supporting the winter sailboat cover.   For practical purposes of installing and removing, the spine is broken into multiple pieces and joined.   Each rib is fitted to spine with a through joint tightened down via screws.   The equally spread out weight of the frame assists in stabilizing itself making it an extremely solid support structure.  With rubber tips at the bottom of each rib the hull is protected from scratching.

The cover is split into a large forward and aft section adjoining together with a doubled up zipper and velcro flap.  With the mast remaining up, we made small collars for each line, nine collars in total.   The aft has an oversized access door that fully zippers down allowing large items to be moved in and out with the cover in place.

The beauty of our designs is the ease and quickness that the frame and cover can be installed.   The frame is marked as to which pieces goes where and can be reconstructed in 30 minutes.   The cover is then unfolded with all of the zippers securing around the mainstay lines.   The collars to take time to zipper up and tie off but the install of the canvas should take another 1 hour.   The bottom of the cover has connectors for lines made of webbing and not grommets which can scratch up the hull.   It may take another 30 minutes to completely tie down the cover to the sailboat’s cradle.   The goals is to have an easy to install / removed winter cover that be installed by 1 person in an afternoon.

Chicago Marine Canvas Wins 2017 Award of Excellence

 Chicago Marine Canvas wins 2017 Award of Excellence

(Jacksonville, Fla. – Jan. 21, 2017) –  Chicago Marine Canvas was recognized with the 2017 Fabrication Excellence Awards for design excellence in marine fabric applications, that took place Jan. 21 at the 2017 Marine Fabricators Conference, at the Jacksonville Marriott Suites in Jacksonville, Fla.

Chicago Marine Canvas received an Award of Excellence for its Blarney Island – Keeping the Customers Warm project. The project was recognized in the competition’s Powerboat – Rigid Enclosures category.

MFA received a total of 82 entries submitted in 9 categories in this year’s competition. Winners were selected based on complexity, design, workmanship, uniqueness and function. Judges were certified Master Fabric Craftsman professionals who were chosen for their knowledge in a particular product area.

All entries receive prominent recognition at the Marine Fabricators Conference. Entrants receive additional publicity through coverage in the Marine Fabricator and winners not only receive additional coverage in the Marine Fabricator but also on the MFA website and in future MFA marketing material.

The goal of the awards is to promote awareness of the marine fabrics used in marine products and applications ranging in size and type.

The Fabrication Excellence Awards is a competition sponsored by MFA, a division of the Industrial Fabrics Association International, a not-for-profit trade association whose over 1,500 member companies represent the international specialty fabrics and technical textiles marketplace.


Cruisers Yachts 3672 Express

Cruisers Yachts 3672 New Canvas

Cruisers Yachts 3672 Express

This Cuisers Yachts 3672 Express was a great project to work on!   The owner recently purchased this yacht in Wisconsin last November.   We were able to measure 3D via our Proliner with the wind blowing 25 mph+.   The owner went with top notch materials and it shows.

  • Canvas

    Sunbrella Supreme Marine (Black on Black) – Sunbrella Supreme is a luxurious, waterproof exterior marine fabric featuring Sunbrella canvas on the exterior face and a special Sunbrella flocking on the reverse side. The unique bonding process creates a waterproof Sunbrella canvas with a beautifully soft headliner underneath.

  • Makrolon

    Makrolon AR2

    Forward Windows

    Markrolon – Makrolon AR2 abrasion resistant polycarbonate sheet offers superior abrasion resistance and glasslike surface hardness, along with the impact strength of polycarbonate. It features a unique clear hard coat finish that resists all types of abuse, from physical attack to chemicals and spray paint. Additionally, Makrolon AR2 offers resistance from yellowing and hazing for longer service life in high profile applications.

  • Cruisers Yachts 3672

    Crusiers Yachts 3672 Express Aft Enclosure

    Aft Windows

    Strataglass – A remarkably clear and scratch-resistant vinyl sheet, Strataglass performs well in boat curtain, automotive window and awning applications, where perfection of clarity and lack of distortion are demanded. This premium, flexible vinyl sheet resists scratching from handling, etching from industrial fallout and damaging effects from the sun’s rays. Made in the USA.

Cockpit Covers

Cockpit Cover in Sunbrella Tresco Linen

Cockpit Cover in Sunbrella Tresco Linen

Cockpit covers are one of the most common types of boat covers used in the marine industry.   These types of covers can be used on all types of powerboats and have different variations available.

Most extend from the top of the windshield toward the aft of the boat.   Another option is to extend the cover over the windshield protecting the windshield and the dashboard area from constant direct sunlight.   Have you ever seen a dashboard that faded out, an over the windshield cockpit cover would have helped postponed this fading.

Cockpit Cover in Sunbrella Charcoal Grey

Cockpit Cover in Sunbrella Charcoal Grey

Frequently the boat covers are connected with button snaps but there are also other variations of fasteners that can be used.   Twist the Dot and Lift the Dot fasteners can be beneficial in specific situations where there is extreme tension on the canvas.

Multiple types of fabric can be used for the cover.  Sunbrella is a popular option and has over 70 fabric options in marine grade canvas available.   A complete list of available can be found here – Sunbrella Samples .   WeatherMax has super high strength and durability combine with long-term color retention and is cost-effective fabric available for marine covers and tops.  Both fabrics have outstanding durability, high water repellent and excellent breathability.

Cockpit Cover with "Mesh" CAD rendering

Cockpit Cover with “Mesh” CAD rendering

We measure all of our cockpit covers via 3D and build out the design in CAD software.   This provides for a great fitting cover that will be enjoyed for years to come.   Some of the pictures show the rendered design in a “Mesh”  along with the finish product.   Please contact us with any of your cockpit cover needs.

Baliner Cockpit Cover in Sunbrella Marine Blue Tweed

Baliner Cockpit Cover in Sunbrella Marine Blue Tweed


39′ Carver Aft Cabin Flybridge Enclosure – Let’s Dance

3D Rendering of Flybridge

We measure in 3D and construct the enclosures in CAD software providing an efficient way to fabricate enclosures.

We were contacted by the owner to fabricate a new Flybridge Enclosure during the off-season while the boat was being stored indoor at Marine Services in Dolton, IL, a class A facility.   The owner requested the enclosure to be similar to the existing enclosure with roll up windows on the center panel along with the port and starboard side windows.   The yacht has a larger size bimini with 4 bows and arch attachment aft along with a total of 7 panels.   This was a very fun project and we have a complete list of materials used below too.

  • Exterior View Forward Port

    Exterior View Forward Port

    SeaMark Canvas – SeaMark is a great option for bimini tops.   It’s essentially Sunbrella fabric with a rubberized coating which provides 100% waterproof protection.

  • Sunbrella Canvas – In addition to the SeaMark, we used Sunbrella fabric which is lighter than the SeaMark and is great for constructing the panels.
  • Strataglass (40 gauge clear) – This type of isenglass is perfect for the midwest climate.   It’s scratch and UV resistant providing 10+ years of enjoyment.  It won’t yellow like traditional double polished isenglass and has a minimal shrinkage of 1-2%.
  • Interior View Forward Port

    Interior View Forward Port

    GORE® TENARA® Sewing Threa – Manufactured from 100 percent expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), the chemical name for Teflon® from DuPont. Expanded PTFE is two to three times stronger than conventional PTFE.   Is your thread breaking down?   Then you don’t have Tenara which is guaranteed for life!

  • Lenzip Zippers – Located in Rolling Meadows, Lenzip offers a lifetime guarantee on all of their zippers and is an excellent choice for marine grade zippers.
  • DOT Fasteners – we used DOT black enamel snaps to give the panels a nice clean finished look.

Forward Panels

Forward Panels

Forward Panels

Forward Panels

Interior Bimini Top

Interior Bimini Top – Wrinkle Free Boating!

Where's the Zipper?

Where’s the Zipper? We use a technique to hide the zippers between panels resulting in a clean finish inside and out!



Chicago Harbors 2016 Weekend Schedule

Date Event Location
May 1st Harbors are Officially Open
May 27th – 30th Memorial Day Weekend
May 28th – September 3rd Navy Pier Fireworks every Wednesday 9:3o pm and Saturday 10:15 pm Navy Pier
June 10th-12th America’s Cup World Series Navy Pier
June 11th ACWS Boater’s Bash Monroe Harbor
June 17th – 19th NOOD Regatta
June 25th – 26th Harbor Fest 2016 31st Street Harbor
July 1st – 4th 4th of July Weekend
July 6ht – 10th Taste of Chicago Grant Park
July 22nd – 23rd Race to Mackinac CYC Monroe
July 28 – 31st Lollapalooza Grant Park
August 6th Chicago Scene Boat Party Playpen
August 6th 31st Street Music Festival (formerly Aquapalooza) 31st Street Habor
August 12th – 14th Verve Cup Offshore Regatta
August 19th – 21st Air and Water Show North Ave Beach
September 5th Labor Day Weekend
September 10th Venetian Night Navy Pier
September 10th Chicago Regatta 31st Street Harbor
October 31st Harbors are Officially Closed

Chicago Harbors 2016 Weekend Schedule, your #1 guide for all the top events and activities for boating in Chicago this summer.


Strataglass Vs. Eisenglass

When deciding on a new boat cover there are many options to choose from. Some are easier than others but one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is the type of Eisenglass (also commonly spelled as isinglass or isenglass) for your  boats windows.


Strataglass (left) and Clear Vinyl (right) aged 10 year on the same boat

Cost is a factor for everything but visibility and lifespan also have a role in this type of marine product.

Eisenglass Marine Products come in four primary categories:

  • Clear Vinyl on a roll – the least expensive option that offers limited visibility.
  • Polished Vinyl Sheets – great economical option that have good visibily within their 5-7 year lifespan.
  • Strataglass and O’Sea- premium vinyl sheets that offer 10+ year of usage.
  • Lexan and Makrolon – semi-rigid products seen on larger yachts with hard enclosures.

Most boaters narrow their decision down to a brand such as Strataglass vs Eisenglass (aka Clear Vinyl Sheets).   Clear Vinyl Sheets are by far the most popular and can be found on the majority of boats in any harbor.   Strataglass is a big step up in price but you get an excellent product with a much longer life.

This decision though can’t be made on it’s own.   You wouldn’t put a turbocharger in Buick would you?   The same goes with choosing the right isinglass.   As discussed before, these two product has a different lifespan and so do other product that go into the construction of your boat cover.   Thread is one of these factors.   Standard polyester thread has a 5 year lifespan which is similar to clear vinyl sheets.   Gore Tenara thread is more expensive but is guaranteed for life and more suited to be used with Strataglass.   Other finishing factors such as using Facing to cover transition area and Xtreme Seal instead of Webbing also go hand in hand in deciding what type of isinglass to choose.    It’s essentially standard vs. premium.

Both Strataglass and Clear Vinyl Sheets are great products serving different needs.   If you have the means for a premium custom boat cover and plan on enjoying your boat beyond the 5-7 year lifespan Clear Vinyl Sheets provides then Strataglass sounds like a great solution.  Keep in mind that Clear Vinyl Sheets can be replaced too especially if your canvas is in good condition.

And a parting tip for those who have read the whole article……. Suntan lotion may protect you from UV rays but it kills clear vinyl and Strataglass!   It will result in a hazy look if not removed immediately.   So be sure not to let your guests bring any spray suntan lotion or bananas too!

Happy Boating!


Sailrite Window Material Buying Guide
Strataglass Care and Maintenance
IMAR Clear Vinyl Cleaning Products

Best Boat Coffee Makers

Ever look for a boat coffee maker?   Unfortunately there is no such thing as a coffee maker specifically manufactured for a boat but we found two that we consider the best boat coffee makers available!   In choosing a coffee maker for your boat there are a few things to consider.

  • Durability:  Everything “boating” needs to be a little tougher and built better that most items due to the rigorous demands of being on the water.   A glass coffee pot is the last thing you need on your boat!  Durability was a key factor when deciding on the best boat coffee makers.
  • Usability:  Ease of use is also very important which is why we immediately started to look at single cup coffee machines over traditional brewers.  This makes for much easier brewing while underway.
  • Size:  Most boat cabins have limited counter space and storage so your big coffee makers will not make this cut.   The smaller and more compact the better.

Best Boat Coffee Makers

Nespresso Pixie

Best Boat Coffee Maker - Nespresso PixieThe Nespresso Pixie is one of our favorite coffee makers available.  It has a super compact size and good weight to it, when the boat starts a rocking, this coffee maker will not.   It’s offered in a variety of colors but the Aluminum options looks great!

The water container for the Nespresso Pixie is removable from the back and can hold  24 oz. of water.   It has a used capsule container in the front that has a capacity of 11.  The drip tray can also be folded up for for larger glasses too.

One downside to the Pixie is that it’s limited to it’s Lungo pods which are 3.7 oz. of coffee.  It’s best to double up brews to get a full cup.

Key Features

  • Compact and Light (Weight: 6.6lb & Dimensions (WxDxH): 4.4 in x 12.8 in x 9.3 in)
  • Eco-Friendly
  • Fast Heat Up 25 Seconds
  • Coffee Size Expresso & Lungo
  • Off Mode After 9 Minutes

Overall this is a great compact coffee maker that could find a home on the water in any boat.

Keurig® K10 MINI Plus Brewing System

Best Boat Coffee Makers - Keurig® K10 MINI Plus Brewing SystemThe Keurig K10 Mini Plus Brewing System is larger than the Nespresso Pixie but it offers some great additional key features.

Although larger than the Pixie, it’s still a very compact machine relative to other available models.   It is also able to brew larger cups than the Pixie which is limited at 3.7 oz.  These single use K-Cups are available in over 400 varieties from 60 brands and available at almost every major retailer.

The MINI Plus Brewing System brews a perfect cup of coffee, tea, hot cocoa or iced beverage in under two minutes at the touch of a button. With the choice of three cup sizes, the MINI Plus brewer offers a removable drip tray to accommodate short travel mugs. To operate, you simply add fresh water into the single-use reservoir, choose your favorite K-Cup pack, brew and enjoy.

Key Features

  • Energy-Saving Mode
  • My Kcup Compatible
  • Automatic On/Off Function
  • Brews in Under 2 Minutes


Chicago Boat Storage Guide

Our Chicago Boat Storage Guide is the authority when it comes to great marinas and boatyards for winter storage for your yacht or boat.   It is arranged by geographical area around Chicago with pros and cons.   If you’ve had a great experience or difficult one at a storage facility listed or would like one added please submit a comment and we’ll get it on the list.

Chicago River Boat Storage

Storing your boat in the Chicago River system is a convenient option when keeping your at the various Chicago Harbors during the summer months. This can be a huge benefit when facing inclement weather in October since you don’t have to travel far in potentially rough seas. You do pay a premium for this convenience but it does allow you to get the most out of your boating season making these a favorite of the Chicago Boat Storage Guide.

  • Goose Island Boatyard :  The only storage facility on the north branch of the Chicago River, Goose Island Boatyard is a full service medium sided facility.   Access to the yard is reasonable and for the “do it yourselfers” they allow boaters to do their own work as long as it’s within reason.   They do offer indoor storage which is very limited so the majority of boats are shrink wrapped outside.
  • Chicago Boat Storage Guide

    Chicago Yacht Yard

    Chicago Yacht Yard :  A large full service boatyard located on the south branch of the Chicago River, this yacht yard has it all.   They have multiple storage options of indoor (heated or cold) and outdoor.   Access is good but do have rules when it comes to doing your own work.

  • Forest View Marina :  This is a nice marina located farther down the south branch from the Chicago Yacht Yard.   They have a nice indoor storage facility but also offer outdoor storage too.   Offering a full range of maintenance, Forest View Marina is a good lower cost option farther down the river.

Calumet River Boat Storage

Depending on your harbor, the Calumet River is located about 20 miles south of Chicago by water.   As long as the weather is co-operating it’s a nice cruise at the beginning of the season as you take in the Chicago skyline.  NE winds in the fall will help push you down but you don’t want to have too much help as winds over 15 knots can make it an uncomfortable ride.   Traveling on the river is enjoyable but be conscious of the barge traffic which services some of the industry located on the river.  Rates are less than what you’ll find on the Chicago River but it seems to equal out when you consider the gas burned to/from along with travel distances to the area.

  • Crowley’s Yacht Yard Lakeside :   Crowley’s is the first marina of many that you’ll find in the Calumet river.   They’re a favorite in the sailboat community but there are also plenty of powerboats at this mega marina.   They have plenty of indoor or outdoor storage space and are full service for all maintenance.
  • Skyway Yacht Works :  Just beyond Crowley’s you’ll find Skyway Yacht Works.   Skyway is a newer full service marina that focuses on storage and service.   You’ll be able to choose form indoor heated or outdoor storage at this facility.
  • Sunset Bay Marina :  Once you make it down the river through the loch, Sunset Bay Marina will be on your portside.   They also are a full service marina with indoor and outdoor storage.   They also have fuel which is generally at a good price.
  • Chicago Boat Storage Guide

    Marine Services Corp

    Marine Services Corporation :  Marine Services Corp keep growing and recently added a 25,000 sq ft building for indoor storage.  They have multiple storage buildings on site but also offer outdoor storage too.   Once unique feature is that they operate their own harbor with 128 slips along with full service maintenance.

  • Pier 11 Marina :  Pier 11 Marina has been a family business since 1983.  They are a full service marina with summer and winter slips. One of their specialties is REPO boats.  Pier 11 Marina works directly as an agent for the banks so you get the best deal possible. True REPOs with no middle man.

Indiana and Michigan Boat Storage

There are plenty of great storage areas across Indiana and Michigan but here are a few that we’ve had experience along with other boaters in our network.   There maybe some cost savings when storing in these areas but the travel expense and time negates the savings.   If you purchases your boat from a marina or boat dealer in Indiana or Michigan, that’s a great reason to return to them.   These businesses like to cater to and keep their customers offering great deals on winter storage but also service.

  • B & E Marina :  Only 38 miles from Chicago by water, B & E Marina is a premiere dealership and marina.  They are authorized dealers for Sea Ray, Meridian and Boston Whaler along with a large brokerage selection.  Winter storage options are for indoor or outdoor with a full range of maintenance services.
  • Shoreland Marine :  This Michigan City, IN caters primarily to northwest Indiana and southeast Michigan but does have some boats come in from Chicago.   They offer full service on maintenance and also fiberglass repair.   You have the choice of indoor or outdoor storage along with all winterizing services.
  • Pier 33 :  Located in St. Joseph, MI this full service marina is ENE from Chicago.   It’s a very professional marina with new and used boat sales and service.   Storage options are indoor and outdoor at a very reasonable price.

Chicago Harbors Boat Storage

Winter Storage in Chicago doesn’t get any easier than just staying at the harbor!  There is some downside with storing at the harbor such as they’re not a full service marina but Skipper Bud’s does service each harbor.   Both locations offer some discounts in conjunction with summer slip fees too.

  • Montrose Harbor : Only outdoor storage is available but they can fit up to 300 power and sail boats at the harbor for winter storage.
  • 31st Street Harbor :  The newest of the Chicago Harbors, 31st St Harbor offers indoor heated and outdoor storage for up to 200 boats.

Inland Boat Storage

If you have a trailer for your boat and can haul out yourself the options are really limitless.   From your neighbor’s driveway, barns to your local public storage units you can pretty much store anywhere.  You’ll just want to confirm that area is secure and a safe environment for your boat.

  • Munroe Storage :  This is a great storage facility in Plainfield, IL that has winter storage for cars and boats.  It’s indoor/unheated storage at a great price making it #1 for the Chicago Boat Storage Guide!  Boat length is really not an issue but the overhead doors are 16′ tall which shouldn’t be a problem for most boaters.   If you trailer you boat this is a great option that’s about 10 minutes off I-55.

Chicago Boat Storage Guide

We hope your gained some valuable information from the Chicago Boat Storage Guide and this helps you in deciding on where to store your boat over the winter. We will continue to update the Chicago Boat Storage Guide and appreciate your input.