“As we add Big Top structures we continue to save labor hours on every project, Of course that means our bottom line improves, profits go up and that makes everybody happy.”

Matt Nichols, CEO, Nichols Bros. Boat Builders, WA


Building Boats in the Pacific Northwest

Nichols Bros. Boat Builders in Freeland, Washington just north of Seattle builds and refurbishes ships and barges for companies around the world. They refit, sandblast and paint vessels hundreds of feet long. In an open-air environment this work is laborious and nearly impossible to contain. Traditionally shipbuilders have used run of the mill tarps on a large scale to cover vessels throughout the process. It is time consuming to tie and re-tie the tarps as work progresses down the vessel. The space is tight and it’s tough to move around with welding torches and sandblasting equipment. Historically, it’s been a challenging work environment.

Big Top Helps Nichols Improve the Bottom Line

Both accommodating in width and height, eleven Big Top structures now cover their yard providing shelter for their ongoing projects. They easily move the structures from one job to the next or down the length of their larger vessels as they complete work section by section. Sandblasting and overspray are contained and they can work through the harsh wet and windy winter months of the Pacific Northwest, a feat nearly impossible before.

Big Top Fabric Structures Helps Marine Businesses Stay Functional: Container Storage

Fabric StructuresBig Top Fabric Structures is proud to custom-manufacture fabric buildings for a variety of different applications. Let’s dive in and take a look at how one of our buildings was the perfect solution for one business’s specific need:

When it comes to transporting goods, there are many moving pieces, including storage in between modes of transport. One of our clients provides this type of interim storage for marine salt dredgers, and so they needed a structure that could not only protect the imported salt from the outside elements, but also the expensive equipment that they use to separate varying forms of salt crystals. This was a custom application, so they contacted the right place – Big Top Fabric Structures.

Big Top was able to work with this particular company closely to build the perfect salt-storing structure. It is completely enclosed and provides superior protection for the company’s weather-sensitive goods and equipment. It was designed with separate bays that allow for the separation and sorting of different grades of salt. Plus, this structure is complete with a covered loading bay so the salt can be moved to another mode of transport without being exposed to the elements, which helps this business stay busy.

Another great feature of our fabric structures is that they don’t require a permanent concrete foundation, and they can be constructed relatively easily, so they are often more affordable than traditional metal buildings.

For more information about the fabric structures that we custom-manufacture for businesses and organizations across the globe, contact Big Top today. We will be happy to help you build a structure that meets your needs.

Big Top Delivers Fabric Structures to the Nicols Brothers Boat Builders

Nicols Brothers Fabric Structures

Big Top’s Buildings Bring More Productivity to the Shipyard

Nicols Brothers Fabric StructuresThe National Geographic Quest is a state-of-the-art exhibition ship that is designed to navigate narrow inlets and wildlife-rich passageways that are inaccessible to larger vessels. With spacious viewing decks and exploration tools like a SplashCam and a hydrophone that allow one to see and hear beneath the waves, not to mention kayaks, snorkeling gear, and other equipment, the National Geographic Quest is truly a one-of-a-kind vessel that allows travelers to experience the outdoors like never before.

The National Geographic Quest was made by the Nicols Brothers Boat Builders in the northwestern United States. The company specializes in steel and aluminum vessel construction, repair, and major conversions, and is capable of completing vessel construction from production engineering to turn-key delivery. The company’s full-service departments include: ship fitting, production welding, pipe systems, electrical, joinery, machine, paint and HVAC, operators, and production support.

Shipbuilding is an intricate and complex process. For example, shipbuilders often have to meet deadlines, but because shipbuilding is a process that takes place outdoors, their schedule can be significantly impacted by the weather. There are many tasks that can be pressured by the weather, too, such as painting and sandblasting.

The Nicols Brothers Boat Builders have more than 11 Big Top buildings at their shipyard to protect themselves from Mother Nature, keep production moving forward, and increase their bottom line. Our buildings allow the Nicols Brothers to be more efficient in painting and to sandblast in controlled environments. Our shelters can be lifted and moved by crane, which enables the Nicols Brothers to build in modules.

Contact Big Top today for more information about our fabric structures. As a custom manufacturer, we take pride in our ability to work closely with our customers and build structures that accommodate their specific needs.