YOU NEED A LARGE BARGE?

We have a lot of cutomers who are looking to build large barge systems for house boats and work platforms. Our 37" wide floats work great for such vessels, and we go over a couple framing options below. One option would be built and designed by you of your local fabricator, and the other is a simple bolt-together system that has some limitations. Please read through the information below to learn about your options.

OPTION A:
BUILD A FRAME OUT OF STEEL

If you need a work barge to drive heavy equipment onto, this is the best option. The top of the floats have 2" wide, 4" deep pockets that accept structural steel tube and make for a super strong platform. There are many ways to build a frame system out of steel, and they're all heavy, but this is the way to go for high-capacity, high-impact applications. Welded steel structures are simple and quick to build and don't require any complicated geometry or materials. However, you must protect the frame system with paint, or have it galvanized as a whole when completed to keep it protected from the elements. A galvanized structural steel platform is heavy, but it's as strong and resiliant as you'll get for applications where you have to carry big equipment.

We are happy to have verbal discussions concerning steel frame design, but we will not design a frame system for you. We will not provide drawings, price out materials, provide any strength analysis, or email any details on a steel frame design. If you intend to build a steel frame for your boat and do not have experience with such things, we strongly recommend working with a structural engineer.

OPTION B:
EASIEST SYSTEM TO BUILD

We have a bolt-together system that is a scaled up version of our small pontoon boat kits (small kits go up to 15' in length). This system is minimizes the amount of effort required to assemble the boat and allows for a lot of flexibility in the layout. The kicker is that the aluminum frame components are too expensive to stock, so they are always made to order, and orders from the local extrusion plant with our dies are taking about 4 months to fill. There are are a few other caveats about this design that cause challenges and the positives and negatives of this system are listed below.

POSITIVES:

-Frame system is easy to bolt together and uses standard hardware.

-Main beam extrusion does not require special machine work as slots for square nuts are integral in the design.

-Flange-tube crossmembers are strong and have flat bolting surfaces designed into the part (one operation machining of bolt holes).

NEGATIVES:

-5 month turn-around time (projected)

-Customer MUST order a minumum of 2000 pounds of ANY material in this kit of any given length. That means a minumum of 2000 pounds of Main Beam and 2000 pounds of Flange Tube extrusion, regardless of the needs of a particular boat.

-Each barge module has a maximum length of 244" (2" overhang on either end of 20' boat) and a maximum width of 14' (we are not able to machine parts longer than this due to facility limitations - crossmembers are available up to 18' in length WITHOUT bolt holes machined).

-We absolutely CANNOT ship anything beyond 15' in length at this point.

-Frame systems with shipped lengths (includes protective skid) longer than 15' MUST be picked up at our machine shop in Concord, NH and tractor trailer trucks are not permitted on the grounds of our facility.

If you are a house-boat manufacturer, or if you are have multiple boats to build, this is a great option if time is on your side. If you need to build a boat in the next month or two, this simply is not an option for you. However, if you do have time to spare, this is a fantastic option as it's so easy to assemble.

At this time, a full info table with CAD files is not available, but we intent to post all this info in the near future.

NOTE:

Please be aware that when purchasing our large bolt-together frame kit, you are not purchasing a complete boat with a hull identification number (HIN) or certificate of origin; you are purchasing parts. If using your newly constructed boat on public waterways, you will need to register the vessel as home-built. If using the vessel for commercial purposes, your state may have different regulations for registration or certification that we will NOT be able to help you with. For further information on this, we strongly recommend contacting your local DMV, RMV, or DNR. We are not experts in registering newly built commercial craft and will not be able to aid you in the process.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: What are the floats made from? How are they constructed?

A: All of our boat kits use super tough HDPE plastic floats with closed-cell urethane foam filling. The HDPE plastic shells are rotomolded parts that are made from the same material that pick-up truck bed liners and snowmobile skis are made from. Our floats are individually sealed units, but in the event that one is punctured, you simply can't sink. To see all the details on our plastic float construction, please visit our MODULAR PLASTIC FLOATS page.

Q: How quickly do the kits ship? How does shipping work?

A: Our "Option B" frame systems are the only large barge systems that we sell and they take a considerable amount of time to fill orders as the frame components are manufactured per order due to the high-dollar nature of the parts. Frame systems are only able to be shipped when the frame components are no longer than 15' with protective shipping materials and they ship from our fabrication and machine shop in NH. Frame systems of longer lengths must be picked up at our NH location and tractor trailer trucks are not permitted on the premisis. We will not palletize frame systems with components over 15' in length and we have maximum shipment weights of 1100 pounds per skid.

Floats ship from our partnering factory in Arkansas. If you're close enough to physically visit the plastics facility in AR, you're welcome to pick-up your floats in person with prior arrangements. If ordering an "Option C" frame system, we will not hold floats until the frame system is complete. Material and shipping prices for our floats fluctuate too much to facilitate this. We will not arrange international shipping for our "Option C" frame systems. The overall weight and dimensions of these kits makes international freight far too difficult to arrange.

Q: How do I mount an engine or a motor on these frame systems?

A: We do not manufacture transoms for our large barge systems. Due to the custom nature of these systems, you will have to source or build an appriate transom if you are looking to power your barge. We currently have no plans to design or build transoms for our large barge frame systems.

Q: If I ask really nicely, will you build me a steel frame system (Option A) ?

A: No.

Q: How do I get the "Option B" frame system quicker than the 5 months stated on this page multiple times?

A: Develop a time machine, set the dial backwards by 5 months, and place your order then.

Q: What do I use for decking?

A: At this time, we do not offer an appropriate decking for our large barge systems. The aluminum decking that we offer for our small scale boats is not engineered to handle the weight that our large barge systems can handle. When decking one of our large bage frame systems, we recommend using either thick wood planks, thick marine grade plywood, or the type of aluminum decking that is used on heavy-duty cargo trailers. DO NOT USE PRESSURE TREATED WOOD on our frame systems. The copper content in residential construction type pressure treated timber eats aluminum in wet environments and completely voids your frame warranty.

Q: What is the warranty on these kits?

A: Our floats have a 1-year warranty that covers manufacturing defects. This period starts the day that the floats leave the factory. 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. Our "Option C" frame systems have a 2-year warranty that covers manufacturing defects. This warranty starts the day that the frame kit is shipped and is a 730 day period. The frame kit warranty covers the cost of freight for customers in the contiguous US (Alaska and Hawaii are not included), but not the cost of installation or assembly. For non-US customers, for both floats and frame kits, replacement parts themselves are covered under warranty, but the cost of freight is not included. If you receive a product 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, and abuse are not covered under warranty.

Q: How is payment accepted?

A: As any order for an "Option C" frame system will total over $7000, payment must be in the form of a bank-to-bank wire transfer, ACH payment, company check, or certified bank check. Personal checks are not accepted for these systems. 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 provided 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.