What To Do When The Hull Of Your Fiberglass Boat Sustains Damage
Boats made from fiberglass have some advantages over other materials, and while they are durable, damage can occur to the hull if you hit a rock or some other object in the water. Repairing the hull often means taking the craft to a marine shop that handles boat fiberglass repair and restoration.
Scratches And Gouges
Hull damage that involves deep scratches or gouges in the fiberglass is not uncommon. If the boat passes over a rock or foreign object under the water that you can't see but is high enough to contact the boat, the object can leave a deep gouge that needs to be addressed.
Fiberglass is strong, but the material under the gel coat can absorb water over time if the surface is broken. A deep gouge can also affect the hull's structural integrity, so a shop with boat fiberglass repair experience must fill and repair the area to ensure the hull is sound.
If a fiberglass boat strikes a solid object in the water, it can damage the hull severely. In extreme cases, the object could punch a hole through the hull, which would require the boat fiberglass repair shop to cut out material, build a patch for the hull, and then resurface the area around the damage with new fiberglass.
Many times, large areas that are damaged by impacts to the boat's hull require the repair tech to access the inner and outer wall of the boat to determine how far the damage goes. If the damage is limited to the outer shell, the repair may be more manageable without taking the entire boat apart, but the boat fiberglass repair service will be able to tell you what the craft needs once they inspect the damage.
If the damage is on the fiberglass deck of the boat, the same repair process is typically used, but if the boat has a wood deck over the fiberglass deck, it will need to come off to access the damage most of the time. If the damage is severe enough, the tech working on your boat may need to cut a section of the fiberglass out and rebuild the damaged area, then lay new fiberglass over the area to tie everything together.
Boat fiberglass repair can be very involved, and it is crucial to take your boat to a marine service that has experience working with the material so that it is done correctly. If the fiberglass is not repaired correctly, it can delaminate over time, and the layers of new fiberglass may separate from the original boat hull.
On the deck, you will notice it in most cases, but if this occurs below the waterline on a boat that travels at high speeds, the result could be a catastrophic failure.