What Is Starboard Material: Understanding Marine Grade HDPE

Those in the marine industry are probably already aware of the many perks of starboard material, which is often used to replace wood, plastic, or laminate items on their boats. But others might be wondering: What is starboard material? No worries—we have everything you need to know about this versatile material.

What is starboard material?

Starboard is a plastic sheet material made of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and infused with UV inhibitors. In fact, it’s one of the few materials that is nearly impervious to UV exposure. This makes it highly durable, even in the harshest weather. Starboard material will never rot, delaminate, or fade.

What are some other benefits of starboard material?

Starboard material’s durability means that it doesn’t require any painting, finishing, or maintenance. Its textured surface can hide minor scratches. But what is starboard material’s superpower is that it’s strong, starboard material can still be bent or thermoformed into different shapes and various effects and is easy to work on with woodworking tools including jigsaws, circular saws, drills, sanders, and routers.

In addition, starboard material comes in a variety of colors so you can match it to your boat’s décor.

Are there any drawbacks to starboard material?

Of course, to fully answer the question, what is starboard material, you also need to consider any drawbacks. While there aren’t many, working with the material does have some limitations.

For instance, starboard material cannot be painted, sanded, or glued. And while starboard can be used for a variety of boat projects, it can’t be used for structural purposes, such as planking your wood boat, replacing your plywood deck, or installing engine stringers. That’s because its flexural and tensile strength-to-weight ratio is much lower than wood, so it needs to be supported every 15″ to 18″ in every direction. Starboard material also needs to be mechanically fastened or welded to an area—it is virtually impossible to glue.

What is starboard material used for?

Starboard material can be used for a variety of boat projects, including:

  • Bow pulpits
  • Boat hatches
  • Doors, frames, and trims
  • Grab rails and handles
  • Rod holders
  • Drink and tool holders
  • Steps
  • Dock boxes
  • Tray tables and furniture
  • Countertops and tables
  • Fish cleaning stations
  • Swim platforms

What is the best way to clean starboard material?

One of the biggest perks of starboard material is that it’s virtually maintenance free. But if you do need to clean it, you can use a variety of products, including Soft Scrub, household bleach, Magic Eraser, citrus cleaners, and denatured alcohol.