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Sunk Boat Repair Tips

When most people hear the phrase “sunken boat,” they think only one thing: shipwreck. The boat must be totaled. But a boat sinking where it can be retrieved sometimes means that it can have new life even after sinking—especially with the right repairs. Here are a few sunk boat repair tips that may help you in this process.

Why Did Your Boat Sink?

The first question you should ask is the simplest: why did your boat sink? Is there a significant leak you weren’t aware of, or were you watching when the boat sank?

Without solving this fundamental question first, you’ll have no idea about the true extent of the repairs needed. For example: a small leak in your boat’s hull can lead to long-term sinking if the boat is unattended. This kind of leak can generally be repaired (using our tips below) if the resulting damage to the boat wasn’t catastrophic. But other substantive damage might require repair and replacement that far exceeds your budget. If you’re unsure about the causes of your boat sinking, make sure to call in a professional and have them examine the boat for themselves.

Repairing A Leak With Sealant

Assuming that the problem is relatively minor, and that you simply have to fix a leak, you might have the opportunity to repair your boat using sealant. If that’s the case, you’ll want to follow these steps:

  • Confirm that this is the only problem. Although a minor leak in your boat can cause it to sink over time, make sure that there aren’t other problems you’re unaware of before you attempt repairs. You want to make sure that your time and effort will be worth it.
  • Clean the boat and let it dry. Your salvaged boat may take some time to “recover” and fully dry out. You can aid this process by leaving your boat in a well-ventilated area with plenty of air around it.
  • Use the appropriate caulk/sealant for your materials. A proper seal on a boating material means that you’ll want a sealant that’s been specifically formulated to adhere to that material. Have a look at the Boat Caulks & Sealants available here at BoatLIFE, and browse through descriptions to find the sealant you need. For example, Silicone Rubber Sealant will adhere to fiberglass, plastic, metal, and even wood. Find a precise match on the label before you order.
  • Allow proper time to cure, then inspect. A good sealant like Silicone Rubber Sealant will give you a quick cure—just some 24 hours. Make sure you inspect the area again to get an idea of whether your boat might be seaworthy.
  • Try a low-risk test to make sure your boat isn’t still taking on water. Low-risk tests can include spraying your boat down with a hose and looking for water transfer, or even dipping your boat in shallow water at a boat launch where the boat will be easy to salvage and bring back up to solid ground again.

Want more products for properly repairing a leaky boat? Browse all the items at BoatLIFE for everything you need.

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