Mailport: December 2013
I bought an Achilles dinghy seat from an online retailer this past spring. The cushioned dinghy seat has several pockets under the seat where I was keeping my air and water pump, boarding ladder, flashlight, and engine key for my new dinghy. After one season of use, all the metal zippers are frozen in place from salt corrosion and fall apart if you attempt to move them. A representative of the online retailer suggested the product was only intended for use while you were on the dinghy and that the seat and everything in it should be taken off when not in use. Ridiculous.
I contacted the retailer, and they sent me a new replacement bag, but it has the same poor-quality zippers. It was a good product for the short time I used it. If the manufacturer had used heavy-duty plastic zippers and slides, it would be a great product, but it should not be sold to anyone for use on salt water.
Indian Summer, 1990 Sabre 38 MK II
Anemic, metal zippers on marine gear are a pet peeve of ours as well, and they’ve often been the reason products ended up in our “Gear Graveyard.” Unfortunately, like Achilles, many marine manufacturers use them on gear that will see saltwater duty, so be sure to check out our online archive for tips on protecting zippers from corrosion with products like Shurhold’s Snap-Stick (PS, November 2009). To un-stick corroded zippers, try using vinegar; see the September 2009 PS Advisor for specifics. And if you just can’t free a frozen zipper, there's always the Zipper Rescue Kit (PS, Dec. 1, 1998) from ZRK Enterprises, www.zipperrescue.com.