Material choice is a fundamental aspect of marine interior design. The material sets the tone for the overall look and feel of the vessel. When it comes to flooring, key considerations include IMO certification, durability and aesthetics, along with slip resistance, sound absorption, comfort, antistatic properties and washability. These factors combine to enhance passenger experience and safety.

Hospitality design

It is not surprising that the criteria for interior design is similar to that used in leisure and hospitality. The key drivers remain brand identity and custom finishes, with high emphasis on bespoke designs. A cruise ship is generally seen as a floating hotel, bar, restaurant, cinema and retailer. Only the performance specification, such as IMO certification requirements, separates it from the general hospitality or retail sectors.

Different areas on cruise liners require different floor coverings. Some areas, such as bedrooms, are suited to thick, luxurious carpet. Restaurants and bars, where spillages are frequent, require aesthetically pleasing yet easy-to-clean floors. Play areas for young children call for a floor covering that is comfortable and warm underfoot. Slip resistance and washability are paramount considerations for kitchens and bathrooms, while cinemas and theatres require aesthetic and acoustic qualities.

Ferries and yachts

This marine segment often features shorter journey times, quick turnaround and a higher volume of daily foot passengers. While aesthetics and corporate branding are still of high importance, functionality and durability will play even more important roles. Floor covering choices for yachts depend on the vessel’s function. There will be different demands for yachts used as floating restaurants; those that host large sightseeing group trips around city harbours; and those used for travelling further out to sea with small groups of passengers. For commercial vessels, where footfall is high, aesthetics, durability and easy maintenance will be important considerations. But on private vessels where a more luxurious finish is required, comfort and aesthetics will rank as higher priorities.

Washable floor covering

Flotex FR offers a new dimension in flooring for marine vessels. It is a unique product that combines all the hard-wearing, durable characteristics of a resilient floor with the quality, warmth and comfort of a carpet. Made from a solid vinyl reinforced base with a densely flocked surface of Nylon 6.6 fibres, it is extremely stable and has the look of a textile floor covering while being just as functional and easy to clean. Flotex FR is a truly washable textile that has excellent acoustic properties and is slip resistant. It is perfectly suited to cruise liners and ferries, and can be used in areas such as restaurants, bedrooms, cinemas, shops and offices.

The digitally printed Flotex FR offers users the complete freedom to customise the interior space of any marine vessel. Forbo’s design studio can help customers create their own designs and ensures a perfect fit. The benefits of Flotex FR include:

  1. full compliance to IMO marine standards
  2. a smooth textile, velour-like surface that’s comfortable and warm
  3. excellent slip resistance
  4. 100% waterproofing with impervious backing that makes it suitable for wet cleaning
  5. durable construction using Nylon 6.6
  6. ease of cleaning
  7. ease of repair if damaged
  8. antimicrobial properties
  9. improved indoor air quality, independently proven by Allergy UK
  10. excellent acoustic properties up to 22dB
  11. an extensive range of designs and colours or custom design service
  12. high-definition print for complete freedom of design.

Forbo Flooring Systems also has the Westbond FR carpet tiles and Coral Marine FR entrance matting systems in its portfolio. These textiles are also IMO-certified.

IMO Tested & Approved Marine Flooring

For cruise & passenger ferry operators and offshore facilities, one of the most difficult areas in which to maintain a high standard of appearance is flooring.

The sheer volume of intense traffic and IMO certification are the key determining factors when specifying a marine floor covering. Below are 3 recommended floor coverings specifically suited to the marine environment.

Westbond FR IMO Carpet Tiles

Westbond FR is an IMO certified carpet tile range synonymous with quality and offers great warmth, comfort and acoustic benefits.

Available in 144 colours, Westbond FR can be custom designed by flexing different colours together and is well suited to many marine environments including cabins, restaurants, offices and lounge/ recreation areas.


  • Fully compliant with IMO marine standards
  • 50cm x 50cm tile format for easy installation and replacement
  • Design flexibility to suit all interior design schemes
  • Custom colours and designs
  • Offers warmth and underfoot comfort

Flotex FR Flocked Flooring

Flotex FR is a textile, flocked floor covering that meets all the fire safety standards set by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for products used in seagoing vessels. An ideal solution wherever a hardwearing, attractive, hygienic and easy to clean marine floor covering is required


  • Fully IMO tested and approved
  • Excellent slip resistance
  • Durable construction: using Nylon 6.6
  • Easy to clean using standard cleaning equipment
  • Improved indoor air quality (independently proven by allergy UK)
  • Anti-microbial treatment
  • Excellent acoustic properties up to 22dB
  • High definition print offers you complete freedom of design.

Coral Marine FR Entrance & Corridor Flooring

Coral Marine FR is a textile entrance system that is wheelmarked in accordance with the Marine Equipment Directive (IMO/MED), for floor coverings used in seagoing vessels.

It can be used with confidence in cruise liners, passenger ferries, charter boats and other seagoing vessels, in addition to offshore facilities where the "Wheelmark" classification is required.


  • IMO tested and approved
  • Stops up to 95% of walked in dirt and moisture
  • Excellent dirt storage/soil hiding
  • PVC and phthalate free
  • Advanced colouring and choice
  • All 10 references stocked for quick dispatch