It’s every boat owner’s worst nightmare: the dreaded hole in the fiberglass. Letting on water is worrisome enough, but if you leave the issue unaddressed, you’ll find that it can lead to long-term water damage that can detract from your boat’s appearance and performance. This is more than just a cosmetic change: you need your boat to perform at its best. To keep your boat in top shape, you need to know how to fix a hole in a fiberglass not just soon, but now. Here’s a quick guide.
Know Your Tools
To start out, you’re going to need some specific tools to handle the job, including:
- Sanding equipment (including either a disc sander or an electric dill with a similar attachment)
- Buffing attachment for drill
- Hull patching
- Boat Caulks and Sealants
Once you’ve taken the time to prepare all your equipment, you’re ready to evaluate the first steps and fix a hole in a fiberglass boat.
Diagnosis & Repair
If your boat is so damaged that it needs major repair and replacement just to stay afloat, you need to talk to a professional. But we can address cosmetic holes that won’t have your boat sinking anytime soon. Start with a proper diagnosis of the situation. With your boat on dry land, take a look at the hole from both perspectives (if you can). Use a flashlight to get a full sense of the damage.
This next step may seem a little counter-intuitive: You’ll actually wear into the hole itself by sanding down the edges. That helps prepare the foundation for the patch you’re going to lay down. So, even if it “looks worse before it gets better,” you’ll find that the process is actually fairly simple. Sand off the hole and then clean the area so that it’s ready for the next steps.
Adding Your Patch
Using a patch kit or proper marine sealant, it’s time to add in the patching. Some experts suggest using a backing piece made out of light cardboard to ensure smooth adhesion and a proper fit. Make sure that you include that step before you apply any of the sealant or patching. If larger holes, a fiberglass repair patch might be necessary for a proper repair.
Here, the key is to provide a consistent, smooth patch. You don’t want it to be bunching up in some areas and thin in other areas. Remember, this is going to end up on your hull, and your hull should always be smooth and consistent. Once applied, give your patch plenty of time to dry and set before you bring your boat into the water again, but don’t be afraid to test it once you’re sure that the patching is properly set! Now you know how to fix a hole in a fiberglass boat!
Need more help? Be sure to check out all of the different boat repair products we have on sale here at BoatLIFE. You’ll find caulks, sealants, and proper cleaning materials to help you for many common boat repair and hull maintenance needs.