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How To Repair A Bow Eye On A Fiberglass Boat

People on paddle boards and on boat

When you tow your boat, it’s amazing how one little hook can be responsible for so much weight. It’s no wonder that the bow eye deserves your attention—as well as effective repair if it’s damaged. Here’s how to repair a bow eye on a fiberglass boat.

Inspecting Your Bow Eye

So, what kind of problems does a bow eye usually have, and how do you know the signs of these problems? One of the most important things to watch for is the bow eye slowly pulling out of the hull. Because the eye takes so much weight and force over the years, the continuous strain makes it difficult to identify the issue right away. But, as it develops, the strain can slowly loosen the bow eye and throw everything askew.

The key is to inspect the bow eye regularly, making sure that you spot any loosening or movement before the bow eye pulls through entirely.

How to Repair Your Bow Eye

What happens if one quick inspection shows that your bow eye is pulling through? It’s time to repair it immediately. No more towing should be done until you have the situation handled.

Here are the basic steps on how to repair a bow eye on a fiberglass boat:

  • Identify the stem of the eye bolts & remove nuts. Look for the stem of the eye bolts and remove the nut(s) holding them secure. Keep in mind that your bow eye may have more than one bolt. If there are multiple bolts, repeat the same step for each bolt.
  • Examine the eye fitting. This is your chance to look for signs of corrosion or damage. Needless to say, you don’t want something as important as the bow eye to be corroded. Left unattended, an issue like this can lead to tow problems in the future.
  • Replace if needed. After you identify the damage, you should replace the bow eye if you have any doubts about its ability to handle towing in the future. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Repairing the Area Around the Stem

It’s not just the bow eye that needs help if you discover damage. The area around the stem could probably use an update, too. This is what you can do to repair the area to make way for a new boat eye:

  • Sand the area behind the stem. This will give you a fresh start.
  • Clean the area with solvent. We might recommend using our Life-Calk Solvent & Cleaner.
  • Add fiberglass cloth. Add layers of woven fiberglass cloth along with epoxy, being sure to follow your individual product instructions.
  • Flatten its shape. While the fiberglass remains soft, you have the opportunity to flatten its shape near the hole for the bolt.
  • Drill & replace. Then, you can drill through the layers you’ve added and install a new boat eye (or re-install an undamaged boat eye). For extra security, use a backup plate with as much strength as you can find.

Maintain Your Boat with BoatLIFE Products

It may be a small thing, but the quality of your boat eye and its fitting will be integral to feeling safe and secure when moving your boat out of the water. Be sure to inspect it regularly and arm yourself with great boat cleaning and maintenance products so you’re prepared whenever you need to make repairs. Browse our vast selection from BoatLIFE!

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