Why Composites? or Why Do We Do What We Do?

Why does a particular company produce their boats with any one particular material and why do they continue to produce with that particular hull material in the future?  More often than not the answer to that question is three part; A sound choice in the beginning, economics in the future and finally perpetual momentum.  Most boat companies start out with fiberglass composite, welded aluminum or plastics molding because the material fits their needs and they see that route as the best choice. Sometimes, it’s because they are experienced in one type of construction technique over another. Once you’ve acquired the capital equipment, it’s really hard to change – no matter if your chosen construction material is still the right call or not.

Towee builds high quality fiberglass composite construction boats, not because that’s all we know how to do but because it’s the right material for the application. In fact, our owner’s own background includes 15 plus years of engineering management positions in automotive plastics and a stint running the quality assurance program for the world’s largest marine rotomolder. To say that we know a little bit about plastics would be fair. So why isn’t Towee making plastic boats? Unfortunately, the first problem is that rotomolded hulls are HEAVY, extremely heavy, and therefore not a suitable construction material for a skiff that has to navigate the shallows.  We also would never give up the production of our hulls to an outside company as most rotomolded boat companies must do as they cannot afford to have an actual rotomolding machine on site. We build our own boats.

 Welded plastic sheet construction is another very interesting option. In fact, part of the Towee staff are trained plastics welders and we own our own extrusion welding equipment  so why aren’t we welding sheet plastic skiffs? The answer is two fold – the first issue is the limits of shapes which can easily be produced and the second is that welded plastics hulls are very flexible – too flexible until they are heavily reinforced and, by the time they are reinforced enough to be useable – you guessed it – they are very heavy.   And finally, growing around a family business that centered around aluminum sheet welding and fabrication, aluminum hulls would have been a very natural route for Towee, if we thought that was the direction to take.

At Towee, we build skiffs for professional guides, hard core anglers, hunters and government agencies from high quality, hand laid composites because it’s the best choice of materials and techniques for the application, not because it’s all we know how to do or because we’re heavily invested in any one type of construction over another. Composites-if done right-are light, tough and in the very rare event of actual damage, are easily and cheaply repaired – which is why the US Government is currently moving back to composite hulls for their river patrol boats. That said, we’re also not confined to any one material or technique’; Towee is constantly experimenting with composites, plastics and even a few materials that you might not think of to bring you outstanding small skiffs that are worthy companions for your days on the water.