Boat Repair Overview
What is Boat Repair?
The feeling of being out on the sea, the wind whipping your hair, spending time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. There are a million reasons to buy a boat, and once you have one you want to make sure it lasts for as long as possible.
As soon as you see a deep crack or scratch, especially in the parts of the boat with laminate (near windows, at the bulkhead), it’s time to begin the repair. While innocuous in and of themselves, these flesh wounds are forebodings of future damage, damage that is much more costly and time-consuming to repair.
In some ways, preventative maintenance repairs are predictable. Why? The typical cause of discrepancies in the gelcoat is the natural process of the outer layer of the boat flexing. That said, you should have a system in which you regularly check the boat for signs of damage.
This inspection may well be before you set off sail each time. Check what you can of the hull, examine the bulkhead and all the windows, the curved deck, the cabin panel, and other places where the Gelcoat may be flexed or stressed.
Boat repair is a standard part of any boat owner’s life. In this guide, we’ll go over the essentials for boat owners new and old who want to begin repairing their boat on their own.
What Problems It Solves:
Boats are expensive to buy, and as this is the case, even boat owners with no technical experience can learn a thing or two about boat repair. There are essentially two categories of boat repairs that we talk about when we talk about boat repair.
The kind of boat repair many people likely think of first is breakdown repairs. In a breakdown repair situation, the boat or some part of the boat is not working anymore. The engine could have failed, plumbing and HVAC systems might have broken down, or perhaps there’s some damage to the canvas or upholstery. Depending on the nature of the repair, these fixes can be costly. In many cases, a professional should perform these repairs.
In this article, we’ll talk about preventative maintenance repairs, and what to do if you encounter a problem. As you spend time out on the sea, even if you’re incredibly careful, cracks and holes are apt to appear in your boat. The cracking and crazing of the boat wall is just the consequence of the entropic power of water and the physical strain marine voyages put on buoyant material.
That said, you have power over even the disintegrating effects of water through preventative maintenance or scheduled seasonal repairs. The adage goes, “a stitch in time saves nine.” That old chestnut is just as true with preventative boat maintenance as anything.
If you see a deep crack or scratch in the hull of your boat or otherwise bear witness to the cracking, crazing, and blistering of the gel coat that is relatively common in ongoing boat maintenance, the time has come to begin boat repair.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Boat Repair
Boat repair is a necessary, ongoing process that all boat owners must face. The advantages of boat repair are limitless, as they are simply a natural part of owning a boat. Repairing your boat will ensure that the boat will stay functional for future use and mitigate the cost of future repairs.
The disadvantages of boat repair are the disadvantages of living life itself: repairing a boat takes time, effort, and careful planning. As many will tell you, however, a boat is worth repairing just as life is worth living.
Boat Repair Process
In order to ensure that your boat is kept in tip-top shape to avoid any future financial burdens, you should seek out the best professionals for the job.
The team at Marine Matcher offers free consultations to determine a boat contractor in your local area that can best suit your needs. Marine Matcher can match you with contractors providing preventative maintenance, seasonal repairs, and more in-depth repairs.
In addition, Marine Matcher can help you with boat lifting, boat storage, detailing and washing, or any other servicing needs you may be looking for.
The process is simple:
- Step 1: Fill out the online form with your name, email, and phone number.
- Step 2: Tell Marine Matcher about your project details by proceeding with the online form
- Step 3: You’ll receive an email with up to three suggestions of boat contractors in your area that meet your expectations.
- Step 4: From there, you can select the contractor you wish to work with and be on the way to getting your boat back in shape.
Costs of Boat Repair
If you keep up with preventative maintenance repairs on a boat, the overall cost of repairs can be kept to a minimum. By regularly servicing your boat with a professional boat repair company, you can avoid any costly damages in the future.
When considering boat repair with a damaged boat (defunct engine, significant damage due to impact), the costs become much higher. Not only does it take much longer to repair a broken-down boat, but the level of expertise required is also much higher. You may easily pay over $100/hr for high-quality repairs, and your costs can shoot up to $3,000 or more.
DIY Solutions for Boat Repair
If you aren’t quite ready to reach out for boat repairs, there are a couple of other options you can take.
You can elongate the life of your boat by performing simple maintenance tasks that may help avoid any other necessary repairs. A basic maintenance checklist should include:
- Check the Engine(s)
- Examine the hull and topsides of the boat
- Ensure all electrical systems are working properly
- For larger boats, check the plumbing and HVAC systems
- Clean and oil any stubborn hinges, tracks, and zippers
- Power wash canvas or upholstery
Some small DIY maintenance tasks can be performed on your own without the help of a professional in order to keep your boat operating at its full potential. One of the most important things to do is to keep your boat clean and well lubricated.
Perform routine cleanings of the gel coat to avoid any cracking or wear. By applying a proper solution of boat soap and waxing your coating, you’ll ward off a chalky appearance and have the ability to better spot any threatening issues.
Consistently spraying and cleaning canvas or upholstery will prevent mold or bacteria growth on the surfaces.
If you’re boating in saltwater, brackish water, or muddy water, you should be sure to flush your engine with fresh water after a day out. This will avoid the debris, salt, and scale from building up in your engine and causing blockages to the important cooling water flow.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can use Flex Seal on a fiberglass boat. That said, it’s not a long-term fix. You need to invest in a more serious fiberglass repair if you want to fix your fiberglass boat for the long term.
When applying gelcoat, many wonder if they can apply gelcoat over existing gelcoat. The short and sweet answer is yes! If, however, you have a different medium, that medium will typically need to be removed before gel coating. Paint, for example, needs to be removed before gel coating.
The natural flexing of the boat causes cracks in the gelcoat. That said, gelcoat can also crack during the application, which is why hiring a professional is essential. It is not always obvious why the gel coat has cracked during the application. A typical reason for this cracking is that there is too much catalyst in the mix.
Gelcoat takes around two to four hours to cure. Be sure to allow it to fully cure before spraying and polishing. If you don’t, you may end up with an under-initiated gelcoat.
Gelcoat is much thicker than paint and is designed to protect the material underneath. In the case of a boat, the gelcoat protects the fiberglass in a way that paint simply can’t.
Find a Boat Repair Contractor Near You
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Tell us about your project and we'll follow up with an email to help you find up to three of the best marine construction contractors for your project.