Waterways Ontario
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Fiberglass Maintenance
Keeping Your Decks and Hull Shining
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Fibreglass Maintenance

 

Maintaining your boat can pay off in many ways… and keeping your fiberglass gleaming has particular dividends.  For one thing, it just looks good.  It’s the same as when you put your car through a carwash… it’s just better, peppier… and so is a boat that shines. 

 

For the more practical, however, it costs a lot less to repair little things when they occur rather than to do a whole bunch all at once.  Also, when the time comes to trade up or move on, a gleaming boat demands a lot higher price than one that looks like it’s been dragged through the mud. 

 

So Let’s Get More Specific

 

One of the most critical things you can do is easy.  Wipe the boat down when you come back to the dock. Water has minerals in it, some lakes more than others, and when the sun evaporates the water on your fiberglass deck those minerals can get baked right in the glass.  Just keep a soft, dry cloth or chamois handy and dry the boat after you’ve tied up.  Cloth baby diapers are great – they’re soft, very absorbent, wash up well and last a long time. 

 

It’s also a good idea to protect the boat from the sun’s UV rays… another good reason for a covered slip, or a full canvas cover rather than just a tonneau.  Wax helps, too.  How often you wax the boat depends on personal preference, but wax is like sunscreen.  The more you use it the longer the boat will stay new looking.  

 

Another important “to do” in fiberglass care is to fix scratches and “dock rash” when they happen.  It is best to leave repairs to the professionals, but it’s not usually a big – or expensive – job.  Fixing dock rash, for instance, usually just requires sanding, which sounds pretty straightforward.  But if boaters try a repair themselves and it doesn’t work, it can become expensive to have it repaired. So you’re much better off to let a professional do it in the first place.

 

 

Also any damage below the waterline that exposes the fiberglass, in other words, that breaks through the gelcoat - must be dealt with right away. Deep cracks or gouges let water in and can cause osmosis blisters.  More serious cracks can let water right into the core and it can start to rot.  That’s a big fix. 

 

If you do need major work – make arrangements when you bring your boat in for the winter.  That way you’re ready to go when the next boating season begins, and a lot of shops give great discounts for off-season work. 

 

 

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