Q: How quickly do floats ship? How does shipping work?
A: To cover our tails, we say that turn-around time is typically 1-3 weeks, but we often have inventory to fill small to medium size orders quickly. If you absolutely need floats to ship now, please be prepared to place the order with us as soon as you get our answer concerning inventory.
Floats typically ship from us in NH, but large orders will ship from the plastics factory in southeast IN. For US customers, small orders of 18" wide floats can ship with FedEx Ground, but orders of 8 pieces or more typically ship via truck freight to be more economical. 27" and 36" wide floats ship via truck freight, regardless as to the quantity ordered. If you're close enough to NH, local pick-up of small orders is available with prior arrangements and we will assign a minimal freight charge for any float picked up in NH (yes, we pay to get them here). We DO NOT operate a retail location, so we stress that prior arrangements MUST be made in advance for local pick-up. Large orders (80 pieces or more) are able to be picked up at the plastics factory in IN with prior arrangements. Purchases are not able to be made at the plastics factory, and customers are not allowed to enter the manufacturing floor. Customers who arrive at the plastics facility without prior arrangements will be turned away. When we quote freight, we will always quote the most economical means of getting your order to you, NOT the quickest. Delivery dates are NOT guaranteed for ANY shipment.
INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMERS: We ship via truck freight to Canada and Mexico, but if you're located outside of North America, we only ship via ocean freight. We can ship internationally, but typically only have the ability to ship to ports that receive container ships. When shipping via sea freight, the cost that you pay through us is ONLY the cost to get the freight onto the boat and physically to the local dock. Your local port WILL have additional fees on top of our freight charge, and you WILL be responsible for your local importation taxes and fees before the freight is handed over at the final destination. We simply don't have a way to calculate or collect these fees, so we strongly recommend doing your own research concerning the local fees you will encounter when importing our products. Also, you will have to work with a customs broker to file customs documents prior to floats leaving the US. We do not include this service and you will be responsible for making such arrangements. International orders are subject to minimum order requirements.
The cost of shipping varies enough from one location to another that we are not able to provide an automated shipping calculator on our site. SHIPPING IS NOT INCLUDED IN OUR PRICING. If shipping is required, contact us with your COMPLETE shipping address before making your purchase; we are not able to quote freight with just a zip code. We work with multiple freight companies and always shop for the best rate. A fair amount of work can go into obtaining freight quotes, especially for international customers, so please be reasonable with your requests. As the costs of shipping is constantly fluctuating, shipping quotes are typically only valid for a few days and extended shipping quotes are not available.
Q: How thick is the plastic on the floats? Precisely what is the material?
A: All of our floats are made with super tough HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastic shells, which is the same type of material used to make truck bed liners and snowmobile skis, and each float has a closed-cell urethane foam filling for safety and structural rigidity. The HDPE shell is a super tough material that will take a beating and the foam filling stops you from sinking if you do manage to puncture a float. The exact materials and their data and MSDS sheets are listed below.
HDPE plastic shell: DOW HDPE DPDA-3220 NT 7
Urethane foam filling: Foam Supplies, Inc ecoFoam
Our 18" floats have a 0.24" wall thickness, 27" floats have a 0.30" wall thickness, and our 36" floats have a 0.31" wall thickness. Walls will measure thicker in corners of mounting flanges and abutment surfaces. The thickness of our float walls have been determined by strength requirements after production and material requirements for the part to hold its shape during production. Each float section is an independent sealed unit.
Q: What is the warranty on these floats?
A: Our floats have a 1-year warranty that covers manufacturing defects. This period starts the day that the floats ship to you. This is a 365 day period and the warranty covers the cost of freight for customers in the contiguous US (Alaska and Hawaii are not included), but not the cost of installation. For non-US customers, replacement parts themselves are covered under warranty, but the cost of freight is not included. If you receive a float and find a defect, please contact us as soon as possible and we will replace the part or parts after clear pictures of the defect or defects are received. Crash damage, misuse (including full submersion due to over-loading), and abuse are not covered under warranty. Warranty coverage is 100% at the discretion of Tiny Pontoon Boats and Silver Lake Fabrication LLC.
Q: What happens if one breaks?
A: Our current line of floats are brand new as of 2023, and although we have thoroughly tested our floats, they are made from the same materials as our prior floats that were in production for over 30 years. In the years of us selling our floats to the recreational, mining, robotics, and work barge community, we have had only a couple customers tell us that they punctured a float. Those two customers' scenarios were pretty extreme (one float was run over by an excavator and the other float was rubbing against an exposed bolt head on a dock post bracket for months without a bumper). They really are tough as nails, but if you have the misfortune of piercing one, you can either easily replace the float, or repair it, but when the damage happens, you won't sink due to the non-water absorbing urethane foam inside the float. If you choose to repair a float, remove it from the vessel (or at least pull the craft out of the water), let it drain in a dry area for a couple days, and use a HDPE plastic welding kit (often advertised as a kayak repair kit - they use the same material). This is a kit that comes with a special electric soldering iron-type tool and some plastic welding rod. People who kayak use this type of kit to repair their boats after rock damage. These kits are obtainable for about $60 on eBay or Amazon.
HDPE welding kit search on Amazon
Q: What do I use for a frame? Does TPB build frames or provide plans?
A: We have an extensive line of aluminum framed boat kits for our 18", 27", and 36" wide floats. Our small systems use the 18" and 27" wide floats and are available up to 15' in length. The frame systems we offer for our 36" wide floats are available for boats up to 20' in length and are listed on the BigAssPontoonBoats.com page. We also offer a single industrial robotics frame system with 36" wide floats on the Robotics Pontoon Platforms page. Our frame systems come with all the components to bolt together a solid base for pleasure and industrial vessels.
Q: Can I add your plastic floats to my existing boat as a "third pontoon"? How do I do this?
A: This is a common use for our 18" diameter and 27" wide plastic floats, but we do not offer mounting kits for other brands of boats. For liability reasons, we do not provide written instructions on how to do this either. If you would like to discuss the installation process, please give us a call and be ready to take notes. We will not email "3rd pontoon" installation instructions.
Q: How do your floats hold up if the water freezes? Will the ice break them?
A: This question comes up a lot when speaking with customers in colder climates. We have a few Canadian customers that have informed us that they've built floating rafts and work barges that stay in the water year round, including through the winter where the ice freezes solid around the floats, and they have provided no reports of failed floats. However, we do not know how loaded the vessels are and have yet to receive pictures of those vessels from the frozen north. As these customers used our prior line of floats that use the same materials, we expect similar results with our new floats. We can say for certain that a couple inches of ice won't hurt our floats, but we do still recommend at least pulling your vessel onto the shore if it is not being used during the winter if your area gets a hard freeze.
During the winters of 2019-2022, we froze one of our 6'x6' rafts in the ice here in NH and we have found no damage during those three winters. As we have new floats for 2023, we are freezing a similar raft in the ice for the 2022/2023 winter season for similar testing. We expect similar results, but we will update our info here when the ice thaws in the spring of 2023. Of course, we'll continue to do this year after year to compile more survival data.
Q: What's the patent info?
A: Our new floats are officially and legally patent pending as of the acceptance of our application on 8/16/22 at the US Patent and Trademark Office. This is a "non-provisional design patent" and the application number is 29/865,839. Our floats will remain patent pending until the complete patent is granted.
Q: How is payment accepted?
A: For domestic orders totaling up to $7000, we are able to accept payment via credit card, check, or electronic bank transfer. Payment for orders totaling over $7000 must be in the form of an electronic bank transfer, company check, or certified bank check. We do not accept foreign checks, credit cards from outside North America, or physical personal checks for orders totaling over $7000. Payment is due at the time the order is placed, and no order will be placed into our production queue before payment is received. "Net" payment terms are not offered by Silver Lake Fabrication LLC. This is a steadfast company policy. All prices shown are in USD and are subject to change without prior public notice.
Q: How do returns and cancellations work?
A: Simply put, they do not work. We DO NOT accept returns and we WILL NOT cancel an order. We work hard to get orders out the door as quickly as possible and provide the best service that we can. This means that when you commit to a purchase, we have committed to fill the order in a timely manner. Once an order is placed, the money you've paid goes into materials and labor specifically for your order, and we don't get that back, even if you change your mind. We repeat, WE DO NOT ACCEPT RETURNS AND WE WILL NOT CANCEL ORDERS.