Fresh Airboats

A one-woman shop creates unique wraps for an unusual vessel.

Tonia Suarez of Painterchic Vinyl personally sees every one of her projects through, from start to finish.

“I’m a one-woman shop who does everything from design to printing to installing in-house, and I specialize in custom boat wraps,” says Suarez.

“Airboats are very challenging to design for, as well as wrap, due to the unique shape that each one has,” she says. “Because every airboat is custom designed and built to the owner’s specs, there are no two airboats exactly alike. Each boat brings me a new challenge and I love every minute of it!”

For two recent projects, Suarez printed with a Roland TrueVis VG2-640 printer onto 3M IJ180mC-10 with a 3M 8518 Scotchcal Gloss overlaminate. “The first one was for Alumitech Airboats and the second for Whirlwind Propellers,” she says. “Between the two of these boats there’s approximately 400 square feet of vinyl used to create these one-of-a-kind wraps.” 

Suarez specializes in boat wraps, but airboats bring a special level of difficulty to the table. These boats are unique in many ways, and are essentially amphibious as they can traverse both land and water, which makes them perfect for the Florida landscape. 

“They’re used in so many different industries beyond recreational riding, such as search and rescue teams and first responders in disaster relief, the oil industry, ecotourism, commercial and charter fishing, utilities, seismic and archaeology research, and even the military,” says Saurez. “These boats are put into extreme conditions all around the world from the frozen tundras of Alaska and Canada to the Equator, and each of these conditions requires a different approach for its environment.” Suarez has found that the aforementioned 3M products work best for the industry and the extreme conditions.

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