Over the past 4-5 years, the issue with vinyl in boats getting pink stain has really left lots of people scratching their heads. Many Upholstery shops have lost lots of money warrantying the issue to just have it come back again a year later. We have been searching for an answer and never really felt we ever got a good answer until the2016 MFA’s Marine Fabricators Conference. We have always known it was some kind of mold, mildew, or some kind of microbial because when people go to Lake Powell for the week it slowly lightens up or disappears completely only to return as soon as they put their boat away. We have had people tell us it was the cover, the foam, the thread, dirt, food, and the vinyl. As the years went on and we saw the issue more and more, we started to really get our own understanding of what we thought it was. We ruled out the cover because it was happening with all different types of cover material. Same went with foam, we would see it on different foams and even in some cases, like a big sun deck, one piece of vinyl would have the pinking and not the one it’s sewn to on the same piece of foam. We started to feel that something had been taken out of the vinyl product that was allowing this to happen. And our suspicions were confirmed by Jim Cowan of Premier Performance Interiors, who deals with OEM upholstery for many manufacturers. A few years back the vinyl manufacturers were told that they had to stop using arsenic in the production of upholstery vinyl and they had until 2015 to comply. As it turns out some manufacturers complied sooner than others leading up to today with all of them in compliance and with no more arsenic in the vinyl. So, our kids will live longer but our vinyl will pink. The microbial that is causing the pink dye has always been there but the arsenic had prevented it from getting to the surface of the vinyl. When the pink dye reaches the surface it is there forever. That is why it is much more noticeable on lighter colors, darker colors hide the pinking much better. The question is who wants dark vinyl at Lake Powell, not me. What can be done? How to prevent? We will try to answer those questions soon enough in another post.