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Hello, so I was recently going back into some marsh with my skiff and hit a small oyster reef. It scratched the gel coat off to the point where the start of the fiberglass is visible. I understand that this is common and/or part of going shallow. However, the suggestion of what to do next is very inconsistent. Three suggestions I have seen: don’t do anything (people say theirs is worse and its not a big deal), do the gel coat work yourself and fill the scratches now (cover the fiberglass exposure to prevent future issues), or go get it done professionally now (if you do it yourself, you’ll mess up and don’t hit reefs in the future). Two main questions: Should I wait to repair the scratches? How should I repair them?

Pictures of deeper scrapes below.

I feel as if I am capable of doing it myself but simply am confused on what to actually think of the matter. Thanks!
 

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The scratches are part of the game. My thoughts are put some gelcoat, epoxy, etc. over anywhere There is exposed glass to seal it. Then sand it a bit if you want to fair.
The other shallower scratches you can ignore if you want to. I would do this work myself.

bottom of my boat looks like the surface of the moon at times.
 

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I picked up a few nicks and cuts the last time I was up around the Waccassassa River area...so I know the feeling.

I'm not sure I would pay for an expensive repair unless you never intend to fish around oysters again or unless you need to do it to sell the boat. The odds of picking up new scars will always be high...

At some point I'll get some color matched gel coat and beg a friend to help me DIY some clean up.
 

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If you can find a color matched gelcoat or gelcoat repair kit then use that on the areas where raw glass is exposed. Everything else it just cosmetic at this point.

Google Spectrum Patch Paste. I have used it in the past. Comes with the gelcoat and catalyst. Just mix, add thick to repair, sand down, compound and wax.

Heres the repair instructions.

https://spectrumcolor-com.3dcartsto...tructions Part 6 - Patch Paste Repair Kit.pdf
 

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I'm working on some repairs myself using Marine Tex... Not skeered one bit... even if it is only temporary... The entire process took me a collective half hour to prep, coat, and sand down... Purchased the 14oz kit from Amazon rather than a big box store and saved about 50%

I'm sure, that at some point, way later down the road, I may want to have the bottom redone... But for now... SEND IT!
 

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Polyester Gelcoat is not waterproof. But it would help prevent water from getting into the glass. If your boat is made with vinyl ester resin it may fair a little better. Epoxy even better. I would probably fix anywhere glass shows. Maybe do a complete resto down the road or before selling. If your boat stays on a trailer that helps it dry out. Either way I don’t think it’s an emergency. But I’m just a keyboard boat builder with enough knowledge to do small projects.
 

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Minor repairs are fairly easy to do yourself. Factory-matched gel coat has gotten very expensive. Ship's stores/West Marine, etc. sell universal kits with tints to get a pretty close match. Just takes time, money and a little finesse to get it shiny and new again. Or you can use Marine-Tex to fill in the deepest gouges, sand it smooth and keep on fishing.
 

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Having recently built a flats boat I’d seal it up with Quick Fair. Systems 4 product that is very much “Bondo”. Epoxy based product that is very user friendly.
 

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I’m a big fan of epoxy with graphite powder on the hull bottom when scratches are going to be the norm. Here’s why... it’s stupid easy to touch up and match and the 5minute stuff can be used for touch up if you have a little extra graphite powder. Will be doing my Shipoke and X2.0 to the chine edge this way.
 

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Whole bottom of my boat is graphite coated. 3-4 coats of primer and then 5-6 very very thin rolled on epoxy with graphite. The boat is still virgin. Taking Monday to get motor installed. Few other details and hope to slash 3rd week of July. End of all this is heck yes graphite/epoxy. Rest of the boat will fail first
 

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JC. What boat yo got? Mine is Bateau XF 20. Just getting finished with rigging
Would that motor happen to be a cherry 90 yamaha by chance?
 
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JC. What boat yo got? Mine is Bateau XF 20. Just getting finished with rigging
Is that XF20 a tunnel? Of so and built to design specs I will say she will run stupid skinny!
 

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Whole bottom of my boat is graphite coated. 3-4 coats of primer and then 5-6 very very thin rolled on epoxy with graphite. The boat is still virgin. Taking Monday to get motor installed. Few other details and hope to slash 3rd week of July. End of all this is heck yes graphite/epoxy. Rest of the boat will fail first
Nothing trumps oyster, good thing you can touch it up easily!
 

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Gel coat is purely cosmetic. The laminate is just as waterproof as the the gel coat. If your exposed laminate absorbs water, you have much worse issues than some scratches. I'd say keep fishing and if you scrape up the bottom some more, just plan on repairing every year, depending on how bad you scrape it up and how picky you are about your skiff. I used to take my Vantage in once a year to get all the little dings patched up but I also had a quart of factory matched gel coat. In your case, I'd get a gel coat repair kit with tints from a marine store and play around with figuring out the right amount of tint to add to get a good color match. Take notes and be organized about it. It has to dry first before you know if it is right match. Once you have the color figured out, give it a go when the weather sucks for fishing.
 

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If you have any intention of having it professionally repaired in the future, ask your fiberglass guy what to use as a temp repair in the meantime. You don't want to use something that's going to make his job more difficult (ie, expensive).
 
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