Rivers Edge Boat's Shock-Absorbing Sole

A look at how builders craft their boats.

Rivers Edge Floor

Pete McDonald

It's not often we get to start a boat test at the builder's manufacturing facility, as I did last week with Rivers Edge Boats in Edgewater, Florida. The builder, Neil Rohan, gave me a tour of his manufacturing facilities, where he builds stringers for several boat companies, including Edgewater and Correctcraft. He's an engineer with a lifetime of working with boat building materials.

Rohan's pet project is the new Rivers Edge 200 FX, a tunnel hulled flats and bay boat designed to get skinny yet be solid. They key to that is in the coring and resin infusion process, which helps keep the weight down yet retain strength. In going through the boat, which will be reviewed in an upcoming issue of the magazine, Rohan explained to me his cockpit flooring system. Specifically, its shock-absorbing properties.

Any small boat operator knows that standing at the helm for long stretches can be brutal on your back and knees. Rather than relying on mats and other aftermarket gear, Rohan cored the flooring with an 1 1/2 inch thick resiliant urethane that has a lot of shock-absorbing give underfoot. But it needed some rigidity to withstand the rigors of boating, so he injected the urethane with vertical lines of resin (see where the pen is pointing in the photo above). The resin injections create an I-beam effect, giving the flooring strength and rigidity.

On the water, I could feel the floor in action every time we crossed another boat's wake at speed. It didn't feel weak or spongy, but had just enough give so I could notice when I paid attention. Fun stuff.

The boat.