US company Form-A-Tread is currently targeting small workboats, fishing vessels, dive boats and rescue boats with its same-named epoxy coating, reportedly developed to increase traction on decks, docks and gangways. The coating is particularly aimed at “wet, rolling and pitching vessels buffeted by waves and wind gusts” that can put crew members at increased risk of slips and trips, the company says.
Maritime slips and falls are commonly prevented by the application of non-skid adhesive tape or reduced epoxy coatings embedded with aggregate, says Form-A-Tread owner Jonathan Maiorine. However, he adds: “Typical adhesive strips do not provide the aggressive traction needed in extreme weather conditions…[they] wear quickly and often need to be replaced. Conventional non-skid coatings also have a limited lifespan.”
Form-A-Tread says its epoxy can be applied to aluminum, steel, wood and other porous and nonporous substrates. “The formulation, along with topically applied aggregate, is designed to last for years even when exposed to extreme weather, temperature, sea spray, sunlight and chemicals,” the company claims. The coating can be mixed and applied by hand, and over welds and non-flat surfaces, with applications typically ready for use in less than four hours.
In 2022, the Form-A-Tread solution was applied aboard an ageing, aluminium-built Defender-class boat owned by International Registries, Inc (IRI). “The non-skid adhesive tape previously applied to the [boat’s] decks and gunwales had degraded to the point where it no longer provided the traction necessary to safely take inspectors out to the larger vessels they were evaluating,” the IRI explains. “Since the workboat is not large, if an inspector slips, he/she could fall overboard, so a non-slip surface is crucial to our operation.” The IRI adds: “Atter about six months, the Form-A-Tread application looks like it was just applied yesterday.”