A 14 ft by 40 ft (4.3 m by 12.2 m) Catamaran Cruiser is launched into service.
A 14 ft by 40 ft (4.3 m by 12.2 m) Catamaran Cruiser is launched into service.

Catamaran Cruisers uses the hand lay-up and spray-up processes to manufacture cabins, hulls, bulkheads, galley sinks, slides, gates, rails and other features of fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) composite.

The AOC EcoTek H164 polyester resin that Catamaran Cruisers now uses has a patented formulation that replaces styrene with diluent monomers with lower volatility and fewer emissions.

“A primary reason for switching to the EcoTek resin is to create a healthier and safer work environment for our employees,” says Catamaran Cruisers president Dirk Wiley. “Workplace exposure to volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions is significantly reduced. Reduced emissions are also better for the environment and make our product more attractive to customers looking to make greener buying decisions.”

Unlike styrene, the alternative monomers in the EcoTek resin are not regulated as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“Our emissions into the air are only about 15% of what we are allowed for our operation,” reports Wiley.

Wiley says that EcoTek H164 resin is also helping Catamaran Cruisers to make lighter boats. That’s because the resin works well in a proprietary manufacturing process that is engineered for a lighter more durable composite laminate. Reduction in the use of heavy wood in major areas results in weight savings of up to 30%. Catamaran Cruisers’ new construction techniques have increased insulation properties and fuel efficiency. One customer claimed up to a 50% fuel savings with the lighter construction.

The EcoTek resin for lamination is part of an AOC material system that Catamaran Cruisers uses to make its laminates. Composite construction starts with an AOC Vibrin® gel-coat designed for marine applications. For maximum resistance to surface blistering, the gel-coat is backed up with a barrier coat manufactured with a high performance AOC Hydropel® vinyl ester resin.

Catamaran Cruisers manufactures a full line of houseboats, ranging in size from 8 ft by 31 ft (2.4 m by 9.4 m) up to 14 ft by 58 ft (4.3 m by 17.7 m). The houseboat cabins are built on double catamaran hulls that feature individual composite bulkheads every 3 ft.