Fishermen demand more from their boats than the average sunset-cruiser. We’re on our feet in rough seas, launching casts, and battling fish. We’re spilling slime, sweat, seawater, and fish blood, and we frequently drop things on the deck.
It’s not surprising that a new marine flooring product that provides superior traction, comfort, and easy cleanup has taken off with center console and sportfish owners in the Northeast. The product and concept have been around for years, but AquaTraction of New England opened their doors in early 2017. Captain Jason Powell of AquaTraction of New England has been selling and installing marine flooring for almost two years and has seen demand balloon quickly through word of mouth.
A serious offshore fisherman, he’s intimately familiar with what happens on the decks of sport-fishing boats and what a fishing boat deck must endure. Once Powell had the opportunity to field-test samples of the AquaTraction product, he knew he wanted to become involved with the Minnesota-based company. They currently have 10 full service dealers across the US and are quick to point out that they are not a franchise organization. Each dealer must be approved and must have extensive marine-related experience. For example, Powell has been fishing throughout New England since he learned to walk, and a yacht broker for 20 years. He continues to run both businesses.
“I put the samples through hell,” said Powell. “Gas, diesel fuel, bleach, red wine, hydraulic fluid—nothing stained it. I even went cod fishing, got fish blood and the other messes associated with codfishing all over the deck, and let it dry. It cleaned up with boat soap and water, easier than gel coat. I had to be absolutely certain that the product would perform before I pitched it to my fishing buddies and my yacht brokerage clients, and it has exceeded expectations.”
It may be the aesthetic appeal that piques boaters’ interest in the AquaTraction product—Powell’s Facebook page (AquaTraction of New England) is full of before and after photos of revitalized vessels and sweet custom laser etching and logos—but it’s the user experience, not just the good looks, that has fishermen hooked.
“Fishermen love the grip it provides in big seas, they feel the relief on their joints and backs after standing on it all day, and they like how it protects the gel coat from something like a dropped sinker,” said Powell. “Many of my referrals come from folks who have spent a day fishing aboard someone else’s boat that has AquaTraction installed—they immediately want it for their own boat.”
AquaTraction is made from closed-cell polyethylene, which is more stable, durable, and more stainproof than the EVA material typically used for boat floor replacement. There’s also an advantage in the installation process, which is custom to each individual boat. AquaTraction generates custom cad drawings for each individual boat and does not use a database of previously generated plans.
“Even brand-new boats of the same model differ slightly in hardware installation and location of seat bases, tackle centers, consoles, etc.,” explains Powell. “For example, we installed a deck in a 26’ Regulator and realized that the center console was installed almost a half-inch off center. We can dramatically improve the quality of the fit by digitizing each individual boat rather than using a previously used plan or a paper template.”
AquaTraction uses a digitizer to measure the boat onsite then uploads the files to AquaTraction engineers who die-cut the individual pieces before shipping them back for installation. Installation takes place on site, and the boat is ready for use immediately.
“In half a day, we can make an older boats’ deck look better than new or a new boat look custom,” said Powell. “And once installed, I can guarantee that it will significantly improve your fishing or cruising experience.”
AquaTraction is seeking other full-service dealers in several regions on the East Coast. For more information, submit a completed become a dealer form at aquatraction.com or call Mark at 320-250-6202.