Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hull Maintenance

Fiberglass: Washing down fiberglass surfaces with a mop, brush and fresh water, will go a long way toward keeping your topsides, deck and superstructure looking really good. Occasional waxing and buffing out will complete the maintenance. Any hull damage, such as deep gouges or cracks, is best left to a professional.

If you are going to leave your boat in the water for more than a few days at a time, you should consider covering the hull bottom with antifouling paint. Always, clean the bottom of your boat as soon as it comes out of the water. If you don't and let the accumulated slime dry on the bottom, it takes on the properties of cement and then you have a huge job ahead to remove it.
Some older fiberglass boats used polyester resin on the underwater portions of the hull. Polyester resin will and does absorb water. If your boat sits in the water for long periods of time, it should be examined periodically for osmosis (water) blisters. I recommend having any blistering repaired as soon you can. Then apply an epoxy barrier coat followed by coat of good bottom paint.
Its not a bad idea for your cleats, rails and other hardware get a coat of wax now and then to keep them looking brand new.

Wood: Some people just love the look, feel and smell of wood on a boat. There are not many things more beautiful than well-maintained bright work. The major problem with wood is a fungus growth called Dry Rot. This can happen in any raw wood (except teak) that is exposed to fresh water and then exposed to air over and over again. The fungus will grow in any temperature over 40°. Leaks from rainwater are the main culprit. To check for rot, tap the wood with a screwdriver handle or a small hammer. Good wood, when tapped, will have a sort of ping to it. Wood with dry rot will sound more like a dull thud. Dry rot must be taken care of immediately because it can spread quite quickly.
Before I forget never, put wax on a painted or varnished surface. Why? You'll find out the next time that you try to paint a surface that has previously been waxed. The paint won't adhere to even the slightest remaining wax.