Some Tips to Remember When Repairing the Hull of Your Fiberglass Boat

When your fiberglass boat has some dents and dings, you want to repair these as quickly as possible. These dents can quickly get worse so that they become chips that go all the way through the body of the boat, and it then becomes unsafe on the water. Some owners put off trying to make their own fiberglass boat repairs, but with some simple patching compound and a bit of knowhow, it's not as difficult as you might assume. Note a few tips to help you through.

1. Removing decals, pinstripes, and numbers

If you need to remove any markings on the outside of the boat such as decals, pinstripes, and numbers, use a heat gun on a low setting. Allow the heat to permeate the marking, and it should peel away. If it still seems tacky, increase the setting just slightly so the adhesive melts.

2. Prepping deep gouges

Deep gouges probably have a rough edge, and you can remove these with a rotary tool that has a burr nose bit. This is like a drill bit but with an edge that feels like smooth sandpaper. This tool makes quick work of smoothing out those edges so you can add filler or patching compound.

3. Preparing filler

When preparing any type of filler, you want to note the ratio of filler mixture with water, gel coat, or other materials. Usually the filler should be the consistency of peanut butter; any thinner and it may simply run through the gouge and over the hull of the boat, and any thicker and it may not adhere to the boat itself and may simply chip off. Remember too that you should note your boat's model number and manufacturer when ordering any filler, as the gel coat material added to it is usually tinted to match the hull of your boat. Using a generic filler will mean needing to repaint over the patch.

4. Buff and wax

Even with the best filler and gel coat mixture, you still should be prepared to buff down the patch and then wax over it. This will help to make the patching compound smoother and make the outside of your boat more attractive. The wax will also serve to protect the patched area so that the filler doesn't chip or crack when you hit the surface of the water, or become dry and brittle when you have your boat stored for the winter.