They cannot always be avoided, even if you navigate very attentively and with concentration – cracks and holes in the boat material. It is then important and essential to repair the boat. Don’t put off maintenance and repair, because even a small amount of damage can quickly lead to serious and costly consequences. You should also tackle the boat engine repair quickly if problems arise. If you are lucky, you will only have to replace a seal, but cracks in the housing are not uncommon, allowing water to penetrate. This poses an immediate danger to the entire electrical system.
Whether it’s cracks in the material, damage after an accident or wear and tear on the drive technology, boat repair is essential to keep your boat seaworthy. In the following, we, as Yacht Shop professionals, show you the most common types of damage to your boat and tell you what options you have in the event of damage.
What damage makes boat refurbishment necessary?
Cracks or crazing in the GRP (glass-fibre plastic), cracks and blistering in the gelcoat are common and occur over time. They are due to heavy use during the season and deformation of the material. If you discover such damage, you should have the boat repaired immediately. The longer you wait, the deeper the cracks become and the more the stability is affected.
In addition, grounding is one of the most common causes of damage that requires the boat to be repaired. In this case, it is usually the engine’s drive train that is affected. While sailing yachts with long keels usually survive grounding almost without damage, modern sailing yachts with fin keels have considerably more difficulties with this. You should consider these special features when buying a yacht.
Collisions with flotsam or other ships as well as over water can cause considerable damage. Damaged screws or shafts, cracked railing feet, damaged anchor brackets or bow fittings – the list is long. Furthermore, the electronics can lead to problems. Rare, but not completely excluded, is a cable fire. Frost damage in winter storage can be avoided in advance by storing the boat correctly.
What can I repair myself on a boat and what is better not to?
You can find a number of repair kits in the shops, including instructions on how to repair a boat, with which you can repair minor damage yourself. In any case, you should have some manual skills. In the case of deep damage to the glass fibres, in the gelcoat or even fractures, you should always consult a professional for boat repair. Keep in mind that such damage can significantly affect the stability of the boat. This type of damage requires not only the right tools, but knowledge of procedures and materials that only an expert possesses.
How can you carry out small repairs yourself?
In principle, GRP repairs should also only be carried out by experienced ship owners. GRP is a fibre-plastic composite made up of several layers of plastic and glass fibre. When repairing boats, epoxy and polyester resins are usually used, which, in the ideal mixing ratio, can be used to repair minor damage and cracks. GRP is easy to work with both when cured and in a soft consistency. This is especially necessary if you want to repair leaks in your boat.
Otherwise, the material can be cut as well as milled, sanded and polished. All with the aim of creating a water-resistant surface after the boat repair. If you have discovered a small crack, clean the area, sand it first and then seal it. For chipped areas or osmosis damage, you can use an epoxy filler to fill them. Most products are suitable for above and below water. Then laminate the boat with epoxy or polyester resin and seal it with topcoat.
You can also do your own work on minor damage to the gelcoat, such as cracks, scratches, dull spots or cracks. Polyester gelcoat can usually be repaired easily. Small scratches can be sanded and polished. Special boat polishes are available for this purpose. The repaired gelcoat should then be coated with a long-term sealant.
Important: Wear breathing and eye protection when repairing GRP. If, on the other hand, you want to repair gelcoat, you should also wear gloves to avoid injuries and etching.
Do you have a defective boat engine? Have the damage repaired directly by a specialist. Our experts will be happy to help. In some cases, owners also want to sell their yacht. In this case, we are also your professional contact persons.
Our recommendation for boat repairs: the Yacht Service from Merk & Merk
While there are some repairs you can do on the boat yourself, you should always leave major damage to the GRP or gelcoat to an expert. For a boat engine repair, get professional support directly. When it comes to boat repairs, you can rely on Merk & Merk’s many years of experience. As part of our yacht management and service, we carry out repairs, conversions, maintenance and servicing with an in-house team of 35 yacht specialists. With our in-house spare parts warehouse, we always have the right part for your boat and can ensure a quick replacement. We would be happy to advise you.
Repair before the boat: Report damage to the insurance company
If you have an accident or discover damage, report it to your insurance company immediately. This is the only way you will receive compensation for damages in the case of liability damage to compensate for the economic disadvantage or, within the framework of comprehensive insurance, the cost coverage for restoration.
Would you like to learn more about our services? Please feel free to contact us, we look forward to hearing from you.