Bolidt antimicrobial decking clears way for cruise industry return

Synthetic applications specialist Bolidt is launching an antibacterial flooring system to improve hygiene on passenger ships and help to ensure a smooth return to action for the cruise industry.

With cruise owners striving to improve hygiene on board their vessels, leading ship decking specialist Bolidt has a solution at hand that could make a significant contribution. The Netherlands-based company has developed an antimicrobial flooring that will limit the spread of multiresistant bacteria on ships and support the safe and successful return of the cruise industry.

Originally designed for use in land-based applications such as hospitals and kitchens, the pioneering technology is not only bactericidal but also hygienic and easy to clean. Jacco van Overbeek, director of Bolidt’s Maritime Division, explains how the current global health crisis led to the solution being considered for cruise vessels.

“Our antimicrobial floor cover has consistently demonstrated its value on land in the healthcare sector,” he says. “We had never considered it for marine applications simply because it didn’t seem necessary. Now the pandemic has heightened awareness on cruise ship hygiene, and we have a product ready to go that could be of great help to cruise lines.”

The material is applied as a coating to the Bolideck® 525 decking used for indoor spaces on passenger ships. Durable, low maintenance and highly adaptable, the 525 system is already an ideal choice for post-pandemic times, says Van Overbeek. Crucially, it can be designed to incorporate safety messaging, which may take the form of static or dynamic signs, such as social-distancing markers or lights indicating the direction in which guests should queue during embarkation. When combined with the hygienic cover, it can minimise the transmission of viruses in addition to bacteria.

Cruise operators and interior designers have already expressed great interest in the antibacterial decking, with Georg Piantino – senior architect at YSA Design, a Bolidt partner – proposing its application as part of a ‘Hybrid Flooring’ concept. Conceived during discussions between YSA and Bolidt, the hybrid floor comprises a layer of carpet fitted on top of the Bolideck 525 system with antimicrobial coating. In the event of a future outbreak, the carpet would be stripped away to reveal the safety markers underneath, also activating the solution’s hygienic and bactericidal properties.

“Certain spaces on board a cruise vessel require plush carpeting to create that luxurious feel, but passenger ships will have to be flexible when they set sail again,” states Piantino. “With the hygiene of Bolidt’s antimicrobial technology, social distance signage and the elegance of a fine carpet, Hybrid Flooring is the perfect example of how vessels can adapt to changing requirements. It will allow a luxury suite to be transformed into a medical area, for instance, in a short space of time and with minimal disruption.”

Innovations like Hybrid Flooring and the antibacterial covering on which it is based exemplify Bolidt’s role as an enabler to passenger ship interior designers. The company’s flexible, sustainable products have become popular with owners of regular cruises, river cruises and expedition ships. “We are committed to supporting operators through these challenging times,” says Van Overbeek. “At our recently opened Innovation Center, we are researching flooring that helps to reduce viral spread not just through safety messaging but thanks to its truly virucidal characteristics.”