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Author Topic:   EdgeWater Boat Quality and Flotation
hugo posted 12-12-2009 07:48 AM ET (US)   Profile for hugo   Send Email to hugo  
I understand that EdgeWater boats are made with a similar process to the Whaler. [Seeks reports of first hand] experience with EdgeWater boat quality and level swamped floatation.
boatdryver posted 12-12-2009 10:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for boatdryver  Send Email to boatdryver     
Try a search of this site. There was a recent discussion of this subject.


jimh posted 12-12-2009 02:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
"I understand that EdgeWater boats are made with a similar process to the Whaler"

EdgeWater boats are not made with the same process as Boston Whaler. They use a substantially different technique. EdgeWater probably has literature available from their dealers or on their website that explains their technique of boat building. They do not use the Boston Whaler Unibond hull technique.

The fundamental difference between the Unibond technique and EdgeWater's technique is the pre-casting of the foam. EdgeWater [used to] pre-casts the foam elements that were used inside their hulls. They claim this allows them to inspect the castings for any problems, such as large voids or air pockets. The pre-cast foam elements are then placed into the hull mold and fixed in place with an adhesive resin. I do not know the details of the adhesive resin that is used, or if the hull laminate is cured or uncured at the time of bonding to the foam. I do not know how much gap is tolerated in the fit between the foam casting and the hull laminate. Any gap would need to be filled with resin adhesive.

It would seem to me that in laying up the laminate structure of the hull and the liner, there would naturally be some variation in the thickness of the build-up. The hand lay-up and spraying process would seem to imply that fitting a pre-cast foam element into the hull would necessarily require allowance for some gap to occur to permit parts of varying size to fit together. It would seem that you could get a very good fit of the pre-cast foam into the hull, but fitting to the liner that must come over the foam might require more gap so as not to create any high spots in the foam pre-cast elements. Exactly how that gap is filled is not clear to me.

In contrast, Boston Whaler's technique uses the actual hull and liner themselves to mold the foam in-place. The foam-to-laminate bond is a primary bond as both elements are uncured when mating together.

In either case, however, the respective builders have much experience in using their technique, so I suspect that the many problems to be worked out to permit tight tolerances have been solved.

jimh posted 12-12-2009 03:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It had been a while since I visited the website for EdgeWater Power Boats, so I spent some time reviewing the material they have available. There has been a lot of change at EdgeWater since my last visit, and they are now using a sophisticated resin infusion technique to laminate all their boats 22-feet and longer. They call this SPI for single piece infusion, and they claim that their laminates molded this way are typically three times stronger than traditional open molded boat laminates, such as you would see in the Boston Whaler.

Anyone considering an EdgeWater Power Boats boat would be well advised to review their extensive on-line material and audio-video presentations to learn more.

hugo posted 12-13-2009 08:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for hugo  Send Email to hugo     
Thank you very much for the thorough response. I will take a good look at their process information. I can't imagine that pre-cast foam would bring the boat together as well, but as you note, there may be a new approach being used now.
draftsman posted 12-17-2009 05:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for draftsman  Send Email to draftsman     
The SPI method incapsulates all materials, all foam/bulkheads/backing plate materials, etc., inside a monster "bag" filled with hose lines that push resin in one end and suck it out the other, completely infusing everything inside into one solid boat. Foam is then poured into areas where needed for extra flotation and shaved flat and resin coated to keep water out. All in all, SPI makes a very solid seaworthy boat.
jimh posted 12-18-2009 04:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
EdgeWater Boats used to have more information about their use of pre-cast foam in constructing their boats. Since they now are touting their single piece infusion technique on boats 22-feet and longer, I make the inference they use the pre-cast foam technique on the boats smaller than 22-feet. They no longer seem to give much attention on their website to the older technique. It is only my assumption they are still using it. It was their original approach to making a boat whose construction was similar to the Boston Whaler.

The newer EdgeWater construction technique seems substantially different than Boston Whaler. The foam is no longer a major structural component of the hull in an EdgeWater hull. Hull strength seems to come from a grid of stringers. The EdgeWater hull contains a number of large stringers which are laminated and bonded to the hull skin.

hugo posted 12-22-2009 02:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for hugo  Send Email to hugo     
I was recently in Florida and visited an EdgeWater Power Boats dealer. The boats are very nice, but there is not the very solid thud that you experience when you bang your hand against the hull as is the case with Whaler.
florida1098 posted 12-26-2009 06:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for florida1098    
Hugo, I have to disagree. I recently bought a leftover 2007 Outrage here in south Floida. Just passing by an EdgeWater Power Boats dealer on US1 and stopped in. He had an 18-foot that that out-classed my Whaler every way. More solid feeling, finished nicer and just a more solid boat. Trying to sell the Whaler and left a deposit on the EdgeWater. I do love Whalers though this is my fourth, but the EdgeWater just seems to be in a different class.
florida1098 posted 12-26-2009 07:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for florida1098    
The Whaler I bought is a 2007 19-foot Outrage, with Mercury Verado. It's nice but the EdgeWater Boats boat has a feel of the next step up. Still have my 15-foot Montauk, but need something bigger for those days [when the wave height is two to four feet]. Thumping the side is a salesman gimmick, and Whaler is not of the same quality of the 1970's through 1990's models. Again, just my opinion. I support the company but can't rest on the hitting the side thing anymore. Also, before the argument of re-sale, I can tell you firsthand you will be lucky to get a third of the price you paid for a newer Whaler. So far I got one offer for $9,000. To all be safe.
jimh posted 12-27-2009 11:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The newer, post-1990 Boston Whaler boats are often compared to Boston Whaler boats that were made in the period of 1970 to 1990, and often the comparison is presented as being unfavorable, that is, the current boats do not measure up to the earlier boats. Generally this comparison is made on the basis of the design of the boats, the hull shape, the layout, and so on. The new boats are often criticized for their appearance, their weight, and their functionality. In these areas one can make an argument about new and old, as there certainly are clear differences. However, on the question of the quality of the construction it becomes much harder to make a good argument that the new boats lack compared to the old.

In the era 1970 to 1990 Boston Whaler boats were well built, but I do not think the consistency of the construction was as uniform as today. The Boston Whaler boats built today employ modern manufacturing techniques to control quality and uniformity of the product with a rigor that was not used in the past. Nostalgia accounts for many of the opinions which put the quality of construction used on 40 year old boats on so high a level that it can never be attained today.

SJUAE posted 12-27-2009 04:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE    
I had a quick look at the Edgewater construction method. They are very careful not to imply any reference to Boston Whaler's construction method, but are glad to refer to “typical open molded boat” construction”.

As far as I can tell from the videos in their open mould, they hand layup the outer skin of the hull then add various precast blocks to form the stringer systems.

Then a dual layer of about 1/2-foam pieces are laid on to the hull which may or may not be bonded together (see photos below).

Structural reinforcement pads for hardware etc are added. Then finally layup over the top of this of further matting is applied and bonded using “SPI” vacuum bonding method to the hand laid and sprayed buildup.

It seems that at this stage you have a something resembling a Whaler hull in so far you have a hull that is a sandwich construction (i.e. an inner and outer skin separated by a dual layer of precut foam blocks).

As the displacement of the hull at this stage would not be sufficient (when swamped) some void areas between the cast in stringers are then filled by hand sprayed foam to add the additional buoyancy, presumably these are then sealed in by glassing over them.

Finally the inner deck molding is lowered in and fastened to the hull like any other boat other than BW (see photos below).

Therefore you end up with a boat that is halfway between a BW and “typical open molded boat” in so far as you gain some of the benefits of having a sandwich constructed hull like a BW but not enough so you need to add stringers, but then the same semi floating inner deck like any other boat except a BW.

I’ve no doubt that the Edgewater is built well and their layup and “SPI” method is a good way of maximizing cloth to resin ratio.

I’m not convinced there are no capillary voids between the foam sandwiches and as you can see from the photos they have reinforced the inner deck molding with exposed sprayed foam and there are many large air voids both in the bow and forward of rod racks at the sides.

On a personal preference, I note I find some of the moldings a bit square or flat. In particular the gunnels, leaning posts, boarding platform and transom parts, may be the more classic BW owners prefer this.

Picture 1 possible capillary voids EDGEWATERSKINSA.jpg

Picture 2 not sure on bonding between foam layers EDGEWATERSKINSB.jpg

Picture 3 exposed foam on deck underside to dampen sound and provide support, inner side possable large air void between hull and deck lining. EDGEWATERSKINSC.jpg

Picture 4 Void at bow (not the anchor locker) EDGEWATERSKINSD.jpg


Nushlie posted 12-28-2009 07:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for Nushlie  Send Email to Nushlie     
Gentlemen and Ladies: We have owned three Boston Whalers during the past thirty years. The first was a late 1970's 13'. The second is a mid 1980's 17' standard. The third is a late model 190 Outrage.

The workmanship with respect to the 190 is consistent with the other two Whalers. I think the ride in the 190 is far superior to either of the other two boats, but that is a result of added length as well as improved design. As far as longevity is concerned we'll have to see how well the 190 Outrage ages.

As I have mentioned previously we looked at the Edgewater 188 and decided to go with the Whaler 190 Outrage. I hope the Edgewater buyers are as pleased with their selection as we are with ours.

As far as the 2007 190 Outrage $9,000 selling price is concerned; that figure says more about the overall economy than it does Whaler resale.


deepwater posted 12-28-2009 06:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for deepwater  Send Email to deepwater     
A boat by any other name would still not be a Boston Whaler
BlueMax posted 12-28-2009 08:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for BlueMax  Send Email to BlueMax     
That's deep....

Hey deep!

SJUAE posted 12-28-2009 08:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE    
As noted in previous discussions one of the small possible downsides of a foam sandwich hull is a slighly reduced resistance to hull puncture from a small area point load, when compared to “typical open moulded boat” simply due to the thinner shells. Otherwise the boats would be extremely heavy if the outer skin was the same thickness on all hulls.

Presuming that it is mostly the forward/bow areas that are more likely to be struck by a small floating object both BW and Edgewater may offer less resistance to puncture.

The difference with the BW is water entry would be to cockpit area opposed to the Edgewater that would then have the same characteristics as any other “typical open moulded boat” in so far as the water is free to travel in all the voids between the hull and the inner deck moulding, in addition to the cockpit area.

As the Edgewater is neither a BW nor a “typical open moulded boat” it does not have the same full advantages of a BW construction on water ingress.

In a open console arrangement during a full swamping apart from the obvious water in the console floor water will also accumulate in the bilge. As this is a enclosed area in a BW the water is not free to run up the sides or forward unlike “typical open moulded boat” or an Edgewater.

On cabin boats that have a forward lower floor this area typically has to have a separate pump-out. This is the case for all construction methods, generally.

Therefore although an Edgewater may have the same or similar “Unsinkable” qualities of a BW due to the amount of reserve buoyancy, where the water lays or is able to travel is the same as any non BW or “typical open moulded boat”.

The additional advantages the BW offers is subjective and dependant on the conditions prevailing during any incident.

Having a BW ensures when it may count that you have that extra edge (pun intended).


jimh posted 12-29-2009 12:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
When I visited the Boston Whaler factory a few years ago, I saw that some molded laminate components of the Boston Whaler boat are being made using closed mold techniques, but these components were limited to smaller components like hatches. The Unibond hull probably cannot be made using closed mold techniques because the two components, the hull and its liner, have to be joined together while their resin is still curing in order that they can form a primary bond with each other and with the foam injected into them.

The Boston Whaler company now has fifty years of experience in the manufacture of boat hulls using their Unibond hull technique, and many of the boats they molded fifty years ago are still around and in use. This gives Boston Whaler a great deal of accumulated knowledge and skill in manufacture of boats using the Unibond technique, and, while there may be other techniques of more recent invention, one can generally say that the Unibond technique has proven itself over a long period of time to be a very strong and useful method for molding and laminating a boat hull. There does not seem to me to be a compelling reason to discard the Unibond technique, open molds or not, in favor of a closed mold technique, at least on the basis of making a strong and durable boat. Boston Whaler boats have proven themselves in that regard, and it will be up to EdgeWater Power Boats to prove that their closed mold single piece infusion technique is the equal of the Unibond hull in terms of strength and durability. Check back in 50 years.

In general in the boat construction industry there is a trend to use closed mold techniques because they reduce the emission of volatile organic compound (VOC) into the atmosphere. VOC emission is subject to regulation as a form of air pollution. Boat builders have to comply with guidelines on levels of emission of VOC gases. There are also indicators that closed mold techniques produce better parts because of more consistent resin to cloth ratio, as well as cleaner parts and faster production. I am certain that Boston Whaler is well aware of the advantages of closed mold techniques and will employ them in constructing Boston Whaler boats where they feel they are advantageous.

For more about the use of closed mold techniques in the construction of Boston Whaler boats, see my article on the factory tour:

Nushlie posted 12-29-2009 02:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Nushlie  Send Email to Nushlie     
Jim H:

We just read your entry of earlier today and also viewed the Whaler factory tour you attached. We especially enjoyed the tour as we can now place a face with a name, let me explain.

We purchased a 190 Outrage late last summer from a dealer in the Detroit area. In early November, out of the blue, I received a call from a number I did not recognize. I failed to pick up the call due to the fact I was on another line, however, subsequently figured out the call originated from Florida. About a week later the same number appeared on my phone, I answered, it was Chuck Bennett.

Chuck was calling to make sure we were pleased with our Whaler and that it met or exceeded our expectations. I responded in the affirmative. I also told Chuck that I had spoken with him years ago after receiving his name from Continuous Wave. He had helped me with whatever question I had regarding our previous Whalers.

I thanked Chuck for following up with us on our new boat and assurred him that if we had any problems we would get him involved.

I know Chuck has been with Whaler for many years and I hope they fully appreciate his efforts. He is a fine representative of the company.


hugo posted 01-02-2010 09:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for hugo  Send Email to hugo     
Again, Thanks for the thoughtful and well educated dialogue. I am probably going to go to both the Cleveland and Detroit boat show during which I should get a good chance to do a "side by side" Also, I am planning an Edgewater sea trial in Florida, as I am considering stationing a boat in rack storage in the St Pete area for winter use when the grey skies lock in on Michigan. Its quite an expense for limited use, so its a tough decision.

One thing that occurs to me is that there should be method whereby skilled and responsible boat owners could share a remotely located boat. There is no way I could share my Michigan boats, as I use them way too much. But Florida is a plane ride away and it would be great if I could share the ownership expenses with someone else interested in taking good care of a boat. It would also be better for the boat to get more use than i will be able to accomplish. Maybe this should be a new thread. [Yes--start a new thread to change the topic to something completely new.--jimh]

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