Clothing and Gear

By Kathy A. Smith

Wearing the right gear to keep
you warm and dry is non-negotiable, and if you’re at the helm, making sure
you’re sitting in the right chair for your body is also important.

“Proper layering is a necessity
if you’re to get the best performance you can out of the clothing you’re
wearing,” says Mike Jackson, President of Grundéns USA in Poulsbo, Washington.

Jackson, who, like all Grundéns
employees, has a commercial fishing background, knows firsthand that fishermen
are athletes who work in some of the most demanding conditions, so the company
continues to develop new products that can function as light weight and
effective under-layers but also function and everyday outer-layers. To that
end, Grundéns USA will be releasing its newest line of PVC raingear called
Balder at the Pacific Marine Expo, November 20-22 in Seattle, Washington.

“We’ve used a fabric combination
that’s both lighter and stronger than traditional heavy-duty PVC rainwear,”
says Jackson. The Balder jacket features include a Raglan cut for easier
movement, lightweight lined hood, draw cords, and distinctive reflective
stripes on the shoulder.

The Balder bib pant has
reinforced leg cuffs reflective stripes, and grommets above the hip for the
attachment of tools like lobster and crab measuring devices. Additionally,
there is no need for the wearer to remove their jacket for those necessary pit
stops, as the bibs also have a unique strap that keeps the suspender ends from
falling over the back of the wearer when the trousers come down.

Also making an appearance at PME
will be Grundéns new Nightwatch Puffy Jacket that can be worn inside or out. On
the market since September, the jacket also features zippered hand warmer pockets,
a dual adjusting drawcord hem, and can be stuffed into its own left chest
pocket for stowage. “Sixty grams of polyester fill is quilted between two
layers of light rip-stop nylon to create warmth without weight or bulk,” says
Jackson. “Yet the jacket is good-looking and functional enough to be the go-to
piece for a quick spin around the deck to check that everything is tied down or
a quick trip to town for supplies or provisions.”

Also recommended are other
combinations of Grundéns gear for superior comfort on the job. Storm Runner
ultralight raingear with ultralight protection from weather for the upper body
and made from 2.0 layer nylon rip-stop shell with a waterproof/breathable
barrier, can be paired with the Herkules bibs that have a special PVC coating
that resists oils and maintains flexibility in extreme cold temperatures, or
Balder bibs, which also stay flexible in the cold and provide superior
mechanical ventilation to avoid overheating during strenuous work.

Additionally, Grundéns’ popular
light weight Weather Watch bibs, made from heavy-duty 420 denier nylon, like
the Herkules and Balder bibs, are abrasion-resistant, durable and a very
comfortable fit. Worn by fishermen from the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and the
Grand Banks, they’re now also being used by east coast scallop fishermen.

“Cold and wet drains strength
from hearty fishermen faster than anything,” says Jackson. “Our jackets, pants
and bibs keep them dry and warm without extra weight or bulk. It’s a winning

Guy Cotten, Inc., known for its
excellence in breathable foul weather gear, captured the prize for innovations
at the Seawork Show in England this past June for its new line being launched
this fall.

The new Drempro jacket and
Drembib trousers were developed over a period of three years, and are the
result of binding two materials that are not normally compatible; their
Dremtech+, a high-tech breathable and waterproof fabric engineered for
intensive use in offshore conditions, and the Nylpeche, an exclusive PVC-coated
material that is the most hard-wearing waterproof fabric in the marine
industry. According to Patrick Jaquet General Manager, the new line offers
higher levels of comfort, breathability and durability in personal protection

Bogs Footwear, located in
Portland, released its Highliner boot six months ago. President Bill Combs
reports the feedback from the commercial fishing industry has confirmed that
the comfort level and wearability of the boot is very good. “And that’s great
news,” he says, “because outside of dairymen, they’re the toughest on boots.”

The Highliner boot is both
chemical- and slip-resistant. A new feature is its dual-density, contoured EVA
insole with DuraFresh anti-odor protection. It’s a micro-based odor reduction
system that uses the wearer’s sweat as a food source and breaks it down into
carbon dioxide and water, which eliminates the food source for odor-causing
bacteria. The material was developed in Canada for the carpet industry and,
according to Combs, Bogs is the first to use it for footwear. “It’s really
unique,” says Combs. “The more you wear your boots, the more microbes are
produced so the better the odor protection works.”

Bogs has also recently
introduced a new boot developed for the food processing industry. The Bogs Food
Pro High and Food Pro High Extreme (insulated version) boots feature the new
Bogs Bio Grip outsole for an unprecedented combination of slip and chemical
resistance. The outsole is also self-cleaning for additional traction in
debris-laden surfaces. The boot’s soft and flexible rubber upper can be rolled
down in warm conditions and a rigid, wide steel shank offers extra support,
plus it meets all ASTM slip and chemical resistance standards. The boot is 100
percent waterproof, has 2mm EverDry with Bogs Max-Wick™ to keep feet dry (dries
completely overnight), and is comfort rated from temperate to 14F.

“Highliner and Food Pro solve
the two biggest issues in commercial fishing and food processing,” add Combs.
“Slip resistance on wet, slimy surfaces and the ability to stand up against
harsh cleaners and petroleum products.”

The XTRATUF Legacy boot
continues to be a popular seller for the company. “We’re all about slip
resistance and delivering performance boots in any kind of weather that keep
wearers safe, protected and warm,” says Sean O’Brien, Global Director, Retail

Slip resistance is taken care of
by the signature Chevron style outsole which allows any fluids, ice or debris
to flow naturally out of the lugs in the outsole in order to enhance the grip.

The XTRATUF neoprene Legacy boot
is offered in three different height styles that are completely watertight,
have built-in cushion insoles with arch support, and they protect against a
variety of abrasive contaminants. The 15-inch knee-length boot is the most
popular because it not only protects knees but it can be rolled down.

In addition to the Legacy boot
for adults, the company has recently seen growing popularity with the Legacy
kids’ boots, even outside Alaska. The kids’ boots are perfect to pull on and
off quickly and they keep feet warm and dry in any weather conditions.

No matter what boot fishermen
choose to wear, they are guaranteed top-of-the-line comfort and durability.
“People are so loyal to this product,” says O’Brien. “Our goal is to help
people stay on their feet and work longer hours because with most of these
fishermen, the longer they can stay on their feet and work, the more money
they’re going to make.”

Sometimes sitting down is the
way to make money. When it comes to helm chairs, sitting down can also go a
long way to help the body deal with long hours at work.

“The old fishermen believed you
needed to stand up all the time and didn’t need a seat or you’d fall asleep,”
says Greg Carman, Sales & Marketing Manager at Llebroc Industries in Fort
Worth, Texas. “But you actually don’t get as fatigued as fast if you’re sitting
down. When you stand up too long, your knees, hips and back take a pounding,
which can shorten your career.”

For more than three decades,
Llebroc built seats for major players in the automotive industry, but they
switched to concentrate more on the marine industry when the economic downturn
occurred in 2008. “We’ve always designed our seats around comfort and H
points,” explains Carman. “H points are the way you sit in the seat and how the
seat fits you.”

Llebroc offers four different
major product lines of marine seats, including a wide variety of All Weather,
Billfish Series 1 chairs that include Bandera, Aspen and Sierra products,
Series 2 chairs that also include Tradewinds, Omega, Nautilus options, plus
several Shock Mitigation seats. Carman says their Series 2 line is the most

“It’s becoming more popular
because it features a solid all-aluminum frame, and the cushions are modular,”
he says. “You can order an arm and it takes just three screws to remove it and
re-attach a new one. If the seat cushion gets ripped, you can order just the
back or bottom, which has just four screws to attach it to the frame. The frame
is good for life.” Llebroc has added its AquaFlex Shock Mitigation System into
the seat bottom, allowing the foam to ride on a webbed suspension instead of a
hard piece of plastic or wood, with which most seats are built. This webbing
enables a person to sit in the seat rather than on it.

Series 1 and Series 2 seats also
come standard with an adjustable footrest as well as adjustable backs, fore and
aft adjustment, and adjustable headrest, arms and height adjustments.

Carman says seats with shock mitigation
are new on the market. “It’s a shock absorbent system that virtually eliminates
the jarring shock of going over rough water from reverberating up your spine,”
he says. “The military has tested this feature and it has worked so well that
they’re seeing fewer personnel injuries and long-term disability claims.” As
far as material goes, Carman says nylon fabrics have great durability but the
company has just discovered a new 36-ounce vinyl that is proving to be far more

The Wyzenbeek Test, which is
used to measure a fabric’s resistance to abrasion by the action of a small
machine on a wheel, creates a “double rub” with one up and one down stroke,
which will eventually wear the fabric down. “The Ultra Leather we put on the
Series 2 seat and the Mordura Fabric will pass 500,000 double rubs. Incredibly,
the new Olympic vinyl we’re going to start using will do a million double

Helm Chair offers a two-year
warranty on Series 1 chairs, three-year warranty across the board on the Series
2 line, and will take care of any manufacturing defect that may occur on any of
their products.

“Comfort and durability are what
fishermen are looking for,” says Carman. “I can say with confidence that we
offer some of the most durable and comfortable seats in the industry.”