Fiberglass Repair - 1971 Nauset

Repair or modification of Boston Whaler boats, their engines, trailers, and gear
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Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2016 10:16 pm

Fiberglass Repair - 1971 Nauset

Postby ShorLine » Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:42 pm

I recently acquired a 1971 Boston Whaler Nauset that is in excellent overall condition. There are a few areas on the bottom of the hull where the gel coat has been damaged by an incorrectly fitted trailer (which I am replacing with a new trailer). In addition, there was a hard hit at some point at the rub rail height on the port side which needs to be repaired. I would like to have the gel coat restored to original condition and will probably want to buff out the entire boat when this is complete. I have also ordered a new rub rail that will be installed. Looking for a recommendation on the best fiberglass repair shops in Michigan to complete this work.

Second question: there is a bracket adjacent to the motor for the original steering cable on the starboard side of the hull - since this is no longer in use, is it acceptable to remove this and have the area repaired at the same time?


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Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula

Re: Fiberglass Repair - 1971 Nauset

Postby jimh » Sat Jan 14, 2017 12:02 pm

If the repair is limited to the gel coat layer, just about any artisan who can perform good gel coat repair could be able to make a repair to to a 1971 Boston Whaler boat's gel coat. There is nothing particularly unusual about the gel coat. The repair should be done with care to match the existing color of the gel coat, which is now 46-years-old, and not likely to be the same as its original hue. When matching color, be certain to remove all surface oxidation from the old gel coat and to buff it to a lustre that will be comparable to the new gel coat repair area. If this is not done you will probably be disappointed in the color match of the repaired area to the rest of the hull.

If the repair involves repair of more serious damage to the laminate structure of the 1971 Boston Whaler boat, the repair must be done according to the specific recommendations from Boston Whaler for repair of damage to their hulls. Boston Whaler explains the process in their literature, which is reproduced in the REFERENCE section at


In the pictures posted above the damage appears to be confined to the hull keel. Since the hull keel is not visible when the boat is in use in the water except to fish and divers, there really is not a particularly essential reason that the repaired area be absolutely undetectable by eye--no one is going to see it unless the boat is on the trailer and you take it some sort of boat show competition for restored old boats.

Minor repairs as needed in this case are easily done by almost anyone with a bit of skill in working with resins and colors. I have repaired many small abrasions in the bottom of the hull of my several Boston Whaler boats. I wrote a long narrative of the process that I used on my first boat, whose hull was damaged in the same way as the NAUSET hull we are discussing here. You may find that my description of the repair might be useful and perhaps might encourage you to try it yourself. See

The Epoxy Cure

I have since used WEST System epoxy resin, usually thickened with their fillers and sometimes with a (very tiny) bit of acrylic artist pigment, to make many subsequent repairs to all the hulls of my Boston Whaler boats below the water line. I strongly prefer using epoxy resin because it always cures and when cured is waterproof, and particularly I prefer WEST System because of the way it is packaged and sold in small repair kits which provide the most convenient and long shelf life means of having the repair materials on hand.

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Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2017 8:07 pm

Re: Fiberglass Repair - 1971 Nauset

Postby Lisaschilling » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:34 am

Thanks for sharing your wonderful post - I had the same question ... probably many on this site do!

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Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2016 9:29 am

Re: Fiberglass Repair - 1971 Nauset

Postby Wweez » Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:22 am

Personally, I would lean toward polyester or vinylester products. The boat is made of polyester and you will have fewer gel coat problems. Yes you may get gel coat to cure over some epoxies; however there will be failures and that is frustrating. I do enjoy the curing regularity of epoxy, it sticks better and is tough; however there is then the gel coat.

Just an unsolicited thought; that trailer roller you show is adequate. I might think of replacing it with a wider, poly roller, if practical might look at the others while you are at it. Easier to hit, non-marking and it will keep the metal supports farther from your hull on the average day. Replacing old rollers is always a good thought. Each time I have seen one fail, I had the thought, "that roller is not real old"; but it was always much worse than it looked. Thank You all for indulging my wanderings.

Have fun with your boat. They are just a nice manageable boat to tinker with and use and enjoy.