Which Foams are Ideal for Floatation and Buoyancy?

While foam is used in many marine applications—from engine insulation and sound dampening to deck seating—the types of foam used in flotation applications have many specific properties that make them the ideal material for the job. When searching for the ideal floatation foam for manufacturing products, it’s best to ensure that it is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard regulation Number 33 CFR 183.114. 

Use the following information as a quick guide for choosing the right floatation foam for your marine application.  

Look for the Ideal Floatation Foam Properties

While floatation foam is mostly known for its high buoyancy, not all buoyant foams are created equal. There are many other foam properties to take into consideration. 

Durabilityhigher quality foams will make for longer-lasting products. 

Mold and Mildew Resistance: when water is involved, it’s wise to invest in foams that are resistant to bacteria and mold growth. These foams tend to be dense and non-absorbent. 

Water Resistant: foams used in marine floatation applications should have a heavy resistance to hydrolysis, which means the material will not easily degrade or break down when submerged in water. 

Is There an Ideal Type of Foam for Marine Floatation Applications?

When it comes to foam used for floatation, different materials can be used for different applications.  Most of these will be closed cell materials.  The beaded EPE and EPP materials meet the US Coast Guard regulation mentioned above. 

 Fabrication options include die-cutting, vertical and horizontal contour cutting, hot wire cutting, plank lamination, water jet cutting just to name a few.  This allows you to achieve any size and shape. The foam also comes in a variety of color options. 

Closed-cell foam has a higher compressive strength and dimensional stability than open-cell foam, which means it acts as a better insulator while also being more resistant to water and air leakages. Because of this, it is far more suited for marine applications, particularly floatation. 


Need foam options for a marine application? Get in touch with the foam fabricators at Amcon. We can help you find and fabricate the best foam for your next project.