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Gel Coat Repair

1997 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  The_Skiff_Shop
I have an older dolphin Renegade that needs some gel coat repair.  The bottom looks like i drug it down the road without a trailer and it has some wear spots were the trailer bunks have rubbed away the gelcoat.  The boat is sound it has just seen alot of use.  Well I took it to Dolphin to have them give me an estimate to do some repairs, Dolphin said I needed to re-gelcoat the entire bottom and it would be a min of 2800 in labor and 300 materials :eek:. (I do have to say they were very nice and had some sweet skiffs getting worked on) That was a little out of my price range I am a part time employed grad school student, I was think a couple of hundred to fill in a few of the bad scratches. 
This got me thinking I could do the work myself, am I deluding myself??? What is involved? Pulling the motor/hatches/tower and flipping the boat then a lot of sanding.  I was thinking I could do the prep work myself then hire some one to actually apply the gel coat.  Since I have never done this kind of work before does anyone know of any classes in SW FL for this or some one I could hire for the day just to show me what not to do?  The boat may be used and abused but it is all mine with no boat payments.  I will post some pictures of the bottom of the boat later.  Any advice would be welcome.
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7,717 Posts
You could do the job yourself using epoxy.
Wouldn't have to flip the boat as long as you don't mind
wearing full face protection and working under the hull.
It's going to be an awful lot of sanding and filling.

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415 Posts
It's pretty hard to offer an opinion for the repair without seeing it first hand. Even pictures won't show enough to make an accurate assessment. Refinishing the bottom while on the trailer is not the most ideal but doable. Stands would make it easier. I've done it both ways. Let's just say, you don't "flip" a 36'r ;)

First you have to decide if you want to gel coat or paint.

If you use epoxy, you will have to paint.

Like anything else, it really isn't that hard if your used to working with the materials and it also has a learning curve if you want to do it yourself.  The quality of the finished product is mostly dependent on the prep. ;)

You have a couple of options. 

First would be to seek out a local company to do the repair.  I'm sure your area supports a number of qualified shops.  I would seek one that is very busy. ;)

The second option would be to do the work yourself.  If you choose this route, seek out a local material supplier that handles a full line of fiberglass products.  They will normally offer good advice for the application and will be familiar with the products they carry.  Keep in mind that by the time you buy or rent the tools to do the job, the savings will most likely diminish unless your a tool junky like myself.  Also, the consumable shop supplies will eat you alive.  Those that do this for a living buy in volume from multiple sources to keep overhead down. ;)

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