If you live in one of the 11.9% of American households that own a boat, there’s a good chance you’re going to need to know how to make some basic repairs.
If there is any structural damage, you’ll need to have a professional fix it up. But small holes in the fiberglass boat hull are pretty easy to repair yourself.
If you’re new to the terminology, the hull is the outside shell of the boat. A few small holes are normal, usually resulting from running into rocks on shallow shores. The best repair approach is using a fiberglass patch.
While applying the fiberglass patch is simple enough, there are some tips you can use to ensure the repair to your boat hull goes swimmingly. Keep reading to learn more!
1. Empty the Bilge
The bilge is the area between the hull and the rest of the boat. The bilge get water in it, which is then pumped out by the bilge pump.
Since it’s normal for some water to be in the bilge, a lot of people don’t think to drain it completely when they’re repairing a boat. But this is an important step, because removing the water ensures the patch won’t get any moisture on it and can set properly.
To ensure you’re able to get the water out of the bilge, make sure you’re performing proper maintenance on the pump. There are a few ways you can do this. Find more tips about bilge pump maintenance.
2. Inspect for More Damage
An unfortunate reality of damage to the hull is that there’s usually more than what you can see. Even if the hole is small, the area surrounding the hole has been weakened by the damage, too. The best approach is to cut away the damaged area entirely.
While this seems counter-productive, you’re saving yourself work in the long run. If you only patch the hole, the weakened bit is likely to break next time you’re on the water.
3. Don’t Rush the Repairs
Fiberglass patching is a slow process of applying layers at a time. And each layer needs time to dry properly so that it can set before the new layer is added to it. The total process takes around 2 days, depending on the size of the hole you’re patching.
If you try to rush it, then layers won’t dry properly. This weakens the patch, meaning your boat repair is not adequate.
4. Follow Up on the Repairs
You’re not done because you finished the repair. Always take note of what areas you repaired, and check them after the next trip on the water. This way you make sure the repaired spots are holding, and the damage has been fixed.
Repairing a Boat Hull
Making repairs to a boat hull is not as difficult as it seems. Save yourself a lot of time and money by making the repairs to the hull yourself.