How is shark able to make Affordable Suspension Boat Seats?
We are often asked how we are able to provide affordable suspension boat seats when traditionally seats like ours sell for up to three times the price. It is a good question and one which we are happy to answer directly …
Is it because they are made to a price?
No, we don’t cut any corners in the making of our seats. We only use the best materials and processes and test everything rigorously. Our quality system is what the marine industry expects from a New Zealand made product. All our injection-molded seats and suspension parts are corrosion-proof, require no coatings and the colour is all the way through. Our focus is on people, this is why we focus so much attention on not only saving backs but every detail like making sure there are no sharp edges or pinch points or protrusions so passengers won’t get scratched or bruised when moving around the boat. We are extremely proud of our product and customer feedback is incredibly supportive. Shark suspension boat seats are molded and assembled by our own trained staff in New Zealand. Our products carry a 3 year global warranty and we have an excellent record of longevity, reliability and support.
Is it because they are new and untested?
No. Our suspensions have withstood the test of time for 10 years and all of those are still in service. Happy customers include Navies, Coast Guards, Government departments, Tour-boat operators, hundreds of fishing boats and small private boat owners worldwide. We also test them in the lab to a million impacts at 10G. The industry norm is to test only a few thousand full impacts which can represent about a year of recreational use, but we prefer a test which simulates decades of use. Furthermore, life-testing is only one of 5 kinds of testing performed on Shark seats.
Performance has also been tested not only at Shark, but independently confirmed by NATO testing at the famous RAFCAM facility in Henlow (Bedfordshire UK) and also by the University of Canterbury. Shark is the only suspension boat seat company with published results. You can see this on our website and facebook page. The other 3 types of testing are crash-testing (to make sure the seats endure a crash with a passenger strapped in), in-boat testing as well as simulator testing (we made our own boat-motion simulator). We may have gone a little overboard here but we want to be sure people are getting a product that is safe and can withstand the hard impacts that are experienced on the water.
Is it because they are lacking important features?
No. Shark offers a wide range of plinth/base options. You can chose from a range of handholds, footrests, swivels and bases which include quick-release, sliding on rails and height-adjustment. There are also many seat options that you can add or take away parts from to make a personalised seat for you. These include headrests, handles (front and back), arm rests and lap-belt. We aim to deliver these at an affordable price so more people are able to experience the safety benefits of a shock mitigating boat seat.
Is it because they lack performance?
No, quite the opposite… our FLEX suspension has 225mm of vertical travel (double what is usually achieved) to ensure you are safe when the seas are rough. On the water, forces come from all directions at any time. This is why we think its important for our suspension to protect against sideways and fore-aft impacts. Only shark protects against these lateral impacts with a supportive movement of 1mm for every kg of force to avoid whiplash and sudden impacts to ribs and limbs.
Ok so why is it then???
The reason is simple; shark honours our commitment to ALL boaties: to relentlessly pursue more affordable suspension boat seats whatever it takes, because suspension seats are as important on a boat as seatbelts in a car. Many boat operators are unaware of the damage that can be done to a person’s spine until it is too late, so we aim to help people understand that too. We protect people on all kinds of boats from recreational boats to NAVY vessels. We hope our passion for helping people will make a difference in the marine world and improve the lives of the people in it.
Ok so how??
We achieve these goals by investing heavily in high-volume processes: this means robotics, tooling, injection molding and high-tech materials. Continual testing and development not only helps us make the products safer but also helps us find more efficient ways to make our products, which leads to lower weight, less waste and greater affordability. This is similar to the approach that transformed the affordability and popularity of automobiles (Henry Ford) and computers (Apple, Microsoft). Our mission is to save backs by putting appropriate suspension seating on every boat.