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Boat Repair How-To

Brush up on your boat repair how-to.

Those who are serious about boat repair may consider attending a marine training school for a formal boat repair education. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
Those who are serious about boat repair may consider attending a marine training school for a formal boat repair education.

With a bit of boat repair how-to knowledge, boat owners can fix many simple problems on their own. Cosmetic repairs, in particular, can be easy to do, but a boat owner can also repair some of the more complex issues, such as replacing the rigger or fin.

While there are many things that the average boat owner may be able to fix, it's important to know when to take the boat to a professional for repair. Electrical problems or major structural damage, for example, may require professional help to ensure safety.

Basic Boat Repair

Some of the most common boat fixes that owners can do themselves are paint repair, fin replacement and fixing small cracks. Kaschper offers a repair manual that helps boat owners fix many of these problems. This guide also offers tips on cleaning the boat prior to repairing it.

For scratches or chips in the paint, clean the affected area with a degreaser to ensure that there is no debris around the area. Using a small paintbrush, fill in the scratch with the paint. If the scratch is deep, it may take several layers, or require filling the scratch with putty before applying paint. When the paint dries, lightly sand the area with sandpaper to even out the look.

To replace a fin, remove the old fin and clean the area, checking for any debris. Use a level to check that the boat is level and if not, make adjustments using wood. Assuming there is no damage to the boat, use marking tape to mark the area where the new fin will go. Place the new fin and hold it in place with tape. Use epoxy to create a permanent bond, but do not remove the holding tape for twelve hours.

If there are small cracks in the boat, these can be fixed with a fiberglass cloth and epoxy. Make sure that the area is clean and sand the area to create a groove. Soak the fiberglass cloth in epoxy and place it in the groove. Continue to apply epoxy to build strength. Once it has dried, sand the area to make it even with the rest of the boat and apply paint.

Further Resources for Boat Repair

Boat owners would do well to learn about boat repair on an ongoing basis. One of the most basic resources for boat repair is from the manufacturer itself. A boat's owner's manual may contain information on how to diagnose and fix problems.

Additionally, DIY Boat Owner is a quarterly magazine that offers articles and tips on how to repair boats. The magazine prints older articles on their Web site and offers a free copy of the magazine to new subscribers.

Those who are more serious about boat repair may consider attending a marine training school for a more formal education. Schools such as WyoTech offer a complete boating repair training program, suitable as a starting point for a career in boat repair. This program gives students training in repairing motors and other electrical components of boats.

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