ONBOARD Magazine joined the founders of NautiBuoy Marine for a whistle stop tour and investigate the cleverly designed multipurpose platforms

The Nautibuoy platforms are now into their fifth year of production and sales after having won the prestigious DAME award in the Deck category in 2015.

However, the team have not been sitting on their laurels, they are constantly developing and creating new ideas and new

solutions. They have 18 patents pending, 36 registered designs and 24 pending designs. Nina also mentions the company has two new products they are planning to launch in Q4 2019. She explains” As ex-crew, Clay and I know the business, we know the issues crew come across and are constantly talking to crew about how we can improve the products, it’s just a natural progression”.

But it’s not just about patents and designs, there is also the important safety angle that the team take seriously. To gain Global ISO Safety Recognition – Nina confirms “Global not just European”, the platforms go through rigorous testing procedures and have the second air chamber for safety, which is provided by the air toggle system. This also acts as a tool to link the platforms together. This is unique in the market place.

So let us look at the platforms and their construction in a little more detail. Designing and constructing the platforms to the very highest of standards followed by rigorous QC, has always been paramount to Nina and Clay and this is shown by the fact that there have been no warranty claims since 2016 after their initial use of inferior Chinese EVA foam, a lesson learnt the hard way!. The platforms are built in Europe and before each product leaves the factory one of the team spends up to an hour (for each product) at the manufacturers on quality control. They make sure every product that leaves the warehouse is perfect and fit for purpose.

Another important and practical element of the sturdy platforms is that they have no hard angles or cleats sticking out that could cause damage when being set-up or recovered. The anchor loops are made out of durable Dyneema (the worlds strongest fibre) with the stainless D-Rings on each corner reinforced with Kevlar. NautiBuoy mention this is actually over spec’d, but this means the connections can easily take the weight of jet skis and smaller tenders with complete confidence. The platforms can be anchored off beaches for guests to relax on and use as a base to snorkel from. Plus, they can also be towed, with the ballast bags emptied or in the upright position from one location to another.

This is one of the products main selling points. The PE foam surface gives the appearance of real teak, which means that the platforms are not just functional, they are a practical and stylish addition to the yacht when used as a beach deck extension.

But they’re not just pretty – they’re tough as well. NautiBuoy’s exclusive and extensively researched process of bonding the PE foam to the platforms ensures that there is no delamination and no bubbling in the heat. The foam is glued AND stitched to prevent any peeling, even with repetitive knocking from water sports equipment.

The platforms were tested in large ovens at 60 degree centigrade for six hour periods. As well as the PE foam being UV resistant, the foam remained at a comfortable temperature and did not absorb the still usable even in the hottest of tropical climates.

The whole system is modular and very versatile. The unique Air Toggle connection system allows multiple platforms and docks to be connected in any number of configurations, depending on the requirements and water activities on any given day. The stability is produced by the four ballast bags on each platform with a unique patent pending quick and easy dump mechanism, which eases the recovery for crew members.

The Air toggle means that there is a safe, entrapment free connection between the multiple platforms, free of any hard parts where you might stub a toe or attachments that might require polishing. Being modular the set-up and design of the platforms can be altered dependent on the guests needs on any given day, this flexibility in configuration is key, and when you create the jetski dock or attach the C-Docks for the Seabobs. This extended adaptability is priceless.

Having a number of the smaller platforms rather than one large custom platform also means they can be easily stowed.
Once rolled up like a carpet (with an approximate diameter of 33cm), the individual platforms can be stowed easily in any number of locations. The smaller size also means the weight is kept to a minimum, making it easier for crew to move, deploy and recover. This subsequently allows the whole configuration to be retrieved and stowed quickly when its time to move the yacht.

From a more practical angle Clay adds “The platforms can also be converted into maintenance platforms. We supply easy to fit covers to protect the decks, collapsible buckets with lids, suction cups with cleats and hose holders. The crew can use them for hull cleaning, detailing etc without having to launch a tender”.

As part of the companies constant innovations, in 2018 they launched their patent pending modular C-Dock for the incredibly popular Seabod units. Available in both the Sport and Voyager series, the C-docks provide a drive in, drive out solution, for docking the Seabobs. They also prevent the need to keep lifting the units in and out of the water as well as protecting them from any damage from other toys. They can be used on their own or connected to a platform.

Clay and Nina shared a comment from Captain Steve Osborne of M/Y Slip Steam, “As a busy charter boat, we have always had a decent ‘stern set up’ with lots of toys and inflatables. We used to use a large jet ski dock as part of this, but have found the Nautibuoy’s to be a better alternative to this.”

He continues, “More stable and more versatile. We now find that people like to stand on, sit on and play on the platforms more than they used to with the jetski dock. The sun chairs have also made a big difference. It now forms the basis of every different stern set up that we do, and we plan to buy more to further improve this. My favourite part is that they have reduced damage from overzealous jetski drivers hitting the swim platform tenfold.”

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