Dealing With Damage To Your Fiberglass Boat
Fiberglass construction is widespread on boats and pleasure crafts because it holds up well in water and is a relatively durable material. Damage to the hull will often require the vessel to come out of the water and is usually best handled by a boat body damage repair shop or service to ensure it is done correctly.
Hull And Body Inspection
The underside and sides of a fiberglass boat are often the most exposed and can be damaged by getting too close to something and impacting it. If the impact is significant enough, the fiberglass can crack or sustain deep gouges in the material that will weaken it, causing it to fail with time.
If you have hit something with your boat, it is good to take it to a boat body damage repair for an inspection and estimate to fix the damage. Repairs to the fiberglass are not overly complicated, but they do take time and need to be done correctly or the repair can delaminate from the original fiberglass, causing a leak or other problems.
Often fiberglass boats are covered in a gel coat instead of paint, so once the repairs are made, the boat body damage repair service will also need to replace the gel coat, matching the color and texture to the original.
Repairing Your Boat
When you take your fiberglass to the boat body damage repair shop, the tech working on the boat will need to remove the gel coat and grind the fiberglass down around the damage to allow the new fiberglass material and resin to bond with the existing material. If you have a hole in the boat, the tech may need to cut out material around it to make it easier to repair, but for deep scratches and gouges, the area is sanded to allow a patch without cutting through the craft.
Several layers of fiberglass cloth and resin are layered over the damaged area and allowed to cure. Once the damage is filled, the tech will grind the area smooth to ensure you cannot see the repair later. Once the patch is ready to be sealed, the tech can mix the gel coat to match the current color and consider the amount of fading or weathering that the original coating has.
The goal is to make the boat look perfect again, so matching the coating is vital. Once the tech is happy with the color and weathering match, the new gel coat can be applied to the outside of the boat and allowed to cure for a few days before the boat can go back in the water.
For more information on boat fiberglass repair, contact a professional in your area.