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Q: How sturdy is this umbrella?
A: This is an "industrial strength" umbrella. It has a heavy duty all steel frame with zinc plating to prevent rust. The shade is made of heavy canvas, reinforced at wear spots. Obviously, anything can be broken, with with a reasonable amount of care, you can expect your River Buddy umbrella to last for years.

We, Steve and Al, have had our umbrellas for six years and they are still in good condition. Steve did flip in Skull on Westwater, and he and the umbrella both survived (see next question)

Q: What happens if I flip?
A: Well, unless you are a complete dumbbell and can't read instructions, you will have furled the umbrella before going through any rapid that you might possibly flip in. As part of our "market research" we went through Skull in Westwater at 13,000 cfs with the sunshade mounted, in the furled position, of course. Steve's cataraft flipped on Skull's huge standing wave and went floating upside down a couple miles downstream before eddying out. After Steve swam out of the Room of Doom he caught a ride on another raft and found his still upside down in the eddy. We turned it back over and found the umbrella completely umdamaged (see photo). We invite users to email us about their experiences.

Q: What about high winds?
You will no doubt notice if the wind is blowing your boat back upstream and take action to furl your umbrella long before the wind becomes a danger to it. The umbrella has been wind tested up to 40 mph without turning inside-out. Naturally, you will want to furl the umbrella before the wind gets up to 40 mph. or you won't be able to control your raft. This is why we have made it possible to furl the umbrella in the "blink of an eye."

Q: How do I know when to furl the umbrella?
A: The rule of thumb is: "When in doubt, furl!" You can always put it up again in a few seconds!

Q: When I furl the umbrella won't it be in my way?
A: The offset mounting system is designed so you can quickly rotate the mounting pole and swing the furled umbrella out of your way and tie it with the attached Velcro strap, all in just a few seconds.

Q: How do I mount the sunshade on my boat?
A: First, read the mounting section of the web site. If you still have questions about mounting if on your particular raft or boat, call us at 1-888-44SHADE or email us at Be sure to give us your phone number so we can call you back. If you have an unusual frame, we can build custom brackets to mount this sunshade in almost any situation.

Q:Does the umbrella make a good lightning rod?
A: We really don't know, but unless you are doing a Ben Franklin type of experiment, take your umbrella down in the event of a lightning storm. We will not be responsible for any misuse of our products in scientific experiments or any other unintentioned activities-such as jousting, fishing, etc.

Q: What do I do when the passenger on my boat complains about not having an umbrella of his/her own?
A: The cheap way to solve this problem is to simply order another bracket so you can move the umbrella to different locations on the boat . However, the "How to Save Your Marriage Handbook" recommends that you simply order another umbrella for your passenger.

Q: Can I hang life jackets on the pole?
A: Yes, as you can see in some of the photos, the pole makes an excellent place to store your life jackets.

Q: What kind of maintenance does the sunshade require?
A: The umbrella comes with a convenient storage bag to keep it from getting roughed when transporting it. When you get back home you need to dry the sunshade, like you dry all your gear, before putting it in storage. Our experience is that The umbrellas experience more wear and tear during transport than on the boat. The cover will last longer if you remove it from the frame and put in in the carrying bag separately.

Q: Can I get a cheaper umbrella?
A: Sure…go on down to Walmart and get a lawn umbrella and a bunch of duct tape. But your umbrella won't last and may be broken when you need it. Remember the old adage, "You get what you pay for." You can buy a cheaper one, but you can't buy a Better sunshade.

Q: Does the sunshade work in the rain too?
A: Yes, if the wind isn't too strong, you can use it to keep the rain off too.

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