Once a hull is rotted out, the cost of repair is so astronomical there’s really not much you can do except kiss your investment goodbye. However, you can’t stop boat builders from using low quality plywood and other materials for hull structure members, and you can’t stop the structures from absorbing water, so what can you do?
Identify The Problem(s)
Building a boat with subpar materials is in fact a problem, but it’s one that doesn’t really have a solution other than builders stepping up to make better products. However, there are several specific problems that can contribute to rot, which can sometimes be combated. Boxing the stringers and not having proper drainage, for instance, can cause leaks in your deck and windows. Also, fiberglass made with chopped strand mat, even when it’s painted over with gel coat, is extremely porous. And speaking of gel coat, builders that rely entirely on gel coat to make your structures look nicer neglect to account for the fact that water will get right through, eventually cracking the gel coat and causing further water damage. Poorly encapsulated wood framing systems are another problem, as water is able to get in but not out. And of course, wood that is exposed entirely poses obvious risks.
What Can You Do?
Once you know what the problem is, you can take your next steps toward correcting it. In the cases of extremely low quality plywood being used, or exposure, there unfortunately really isn’t anything you can do. You may be able to try to clean it and coat it with dilute resin and then again with undiluted once it’s set, or try painting on a wood preservative, but those are not always reliable permanent solutions. For glassed over wet wood stringers, you can use a hole cutter to expose the wood and let it dry out, and if it’s really bad try pulling a vacuum with tape and poly film, but you will have to go back and make sure the holes are glassed up again once you’re done. Your biggest concern should be making sure everything is properly sealed so that it’s as watertight as possible.
Save Yourself The Headache
The best way to make sure you don’t purchase a boat with these specific problems, costing you way more than you’re ready to spend over time, is to trust an experienced marine surveyor, like me at CAS Marine Surveyor! I can easily get down in there and inspect your hull for subpar materials and give you an honest evaluation that will surely help you make the most informed decision moving forward. If you are considering the purchase of a new or used boat and are looking for a marine surveyor, call Christian today at 1.810.531.0992 or fill out the form in the sidebar to schedule your free consultation.