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Author Topic:   How to waterproof the hull of a new Whaler for permanent docking?
IMEKAKO posted 10-24-2007 12:39 AM ET (US)   Profile for IMEKAKO  
I am about to get a new Boston Whaler and put in it a dock in San Diego bay where it will stay permanently except for servicing. It will be kept in a bottom liner so it will not need anti fouling paint. But the Whaler manual for this boat has a section on hull blistering which says that it is likely to occur if the boat is kept in warm water for long periods without preventative care. The manual goes on to state

“There are a variety of ways to prevent the formation
of hull blistering. Epoxy coatings can be applied to
the hull, followed by hull painting. An alkydurethane-
silicone marine paint can also be used to
aid in the prevention of hull blisters”

So my question is what epoxy and or alkydurethane-
Silicone would you recommend and specifically what brand? It has to be available for installation ion California. Also how is the hull prepared for this installation. My dealer keeps telling me that I have to use an anti fouling paint too to help prevent blisters but I know that the antifouling paint does not have any waterproofing properties.
Also, does anyone have any first hand experience putting a new boat in the water without any treatment first. What are your thoughts on this.

jenkinsph posted 10-24-2007 10:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for jenkinsph  Send Email to jenkinsph     
A simple way to determine your needs without asking the new dealership might be to look around for well maintained boats near you and find out what coatings these people have had success with. I would definately go with a basecoat that is impermiable (maybe a good Interlux) and then coat with a good antifoulant coating.

There are lots of knowledgeable people on this forum who are located on the west coast who can help you out with the coatings selection.


ScottS posted 10-24-2007 05:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for ScottS  Send Email to ScottS     
I'll answer your last question first. If you put the boat into the water without any bottom paint you will get things growing on the bottom in a very short time. You might need to scrape the bottom after as few as three days. How long it takes depends on how warm the water is and how much the water moves (bringing nutrients in). Trailer the boat until you get a chance to have it painted or you'll be creating more work when it comes time to paint.

As your Whaler manual suggests, a coating of either epoxy or alkyd urethane-silicone will help prevent blisters. Which one is better depends on who you talk to, but definately apply one of these before painting with anti-fouling. To better understand the differences a good starting point is to do a web search for "University of Rhode Island boat blister study". Try calling a few local marinas and ask what works best in your waters. What works best on the East Coast might not be best for California, especially when trying to pick an anti-fouling paint.

Enjoy your new Whaler!


Buckda posted 10-24-2007 07:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Even in freshwater, you will have marine growth, so I don't think you have much leeway to get around putting an anti-fouling paint if you plan to store the boat in the water.

Yoy may wish to investigate if there is an in/out drydock facility in your area. These are great inventions, and keep your boat much cleaner, and out of the UV - you call ahead, and they put your boat in for you, ready for your trip. When you get back, they pull the boat out, hose it off and put it on the rack.

The drawback is that it is slightly more expensive, you can't go hang out on your boat, and it is a little less convenient.

The plus side is that your boat stays cleaner, is less exposed to the elements, and you don't have to paint it. Also, if you're up on a rack, you're less likely to suffer from theft of items left aboard.

If you are set on a wet slip, you will need the barrier coat and an anti-fouling paint to protect against blisters and marine growth, which WILL occur...even with the bottom liner.

Good luck.

IMEKAKO posted 10-24-2007 09:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for IMEKAKO    
Thanks for the information. THe boat has to be wet docked because I have my own dock behind my house and had to pay a small premium here in San Diego to have that amenity installed.
And with a liner there is no marine growth. I checked this out myself kayacking around and looking into the and the boats. The outdives and boats in liners without exception were spoteless adn not a smiggen of any growth on them. THis ia accomplished by cutting off moving water and putting a pool float in the liner which contains chlorine tablets and keeps the water in the liner chlorinated. So I only have to worry about blisters.
jenkinsph posted 10-24-2007 10:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for jenkinsph  Send Email to jenkinsph     
Did you check with Boston Whaler to get approval for the constant immersion in the chlorinated water? If not I would do so and get it in writing first. This may save you some grief if you were to have problems later.

It may be a non issue but it would be reassuring to know.


IMEKAKO posted 10-25-2007 12:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for IMEKAKO    
The dealer said it is a non issue. I cannot find a phone number for BW customer support where can direct these questions.
Also the chlorine level in teh liner is minimal. It does not take much to keep the growth down.
ScottS posted 10-25-2007 12:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for ScottS  Send Email to ScottS     
Sorry, I didn't see the part about having the liner. In that case, I wouldn't worry about having the boat in the water for a little while before getting the barrier coat put on.

I'm pretty sure all of the epoxy coatings will require a top coat for protection from the sun. I don't know about the other type.


highanddry posted 10-25-2007 07:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
Did y'all see that thread on the about the CS that had blisters--wow--takes your breath away.
Whalerdog posted 10-26-2007 09:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerdog  Send Email to Whalerdog     
BW has it on there site but I don't think it tells you if you leave your boat in the water to epoxy coat it? Pretty sad state. It only happens rarely, if it happens to you it may not seem so rare. Dealer Marine Max knew I was leaving boat in the water. They bottom painted it and charged me of course. What happens if my hull blisters? Should they have know this could happen and offered a barrier coating? I would think so. I had boats in the 60's & 70's and don't remember this. I raced boats for years and never heard of this, granted they were trailered and never painted.

You buy a boat and now can't leave it in the water? I was told I didn't have to paint it but would need to clean it every two weeks. I have the boat in the back of my house and like the ability of just untying it and going for a short ride with no hassles of trailering. Anyone ever ask BW for the correct procedure? Thanks!

highanddry posted 10-27-2007 10:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
There is no freaking way I would leave my Whaler in a slip or on a mooring. That is like taking a sack of crisp 35,000 dollars and then hanging them on a tree limb in the front yard and watching them blow away. Between vandalism, damage from blisters, sun and UV damage, salt corrosion, alage, barnacles, rust, WATER LOGGING and depreciation and the suspision and sure knowledge that a bottom coated hull has either been left in the water or it has been damaged would steer me clear of such a boat. Not only that, bottom coating paint--aniti fouling paint--is not going to do diddly squat for blistering--you must use an epoxy barrier coat first. Trailerable boats are best kept on a trailer. The drying out period helps prevent blistering. I would have no fear of leaving my boat in the water as we often do for several weeks at a time (1 or 2 etc) but if it is was going in for weeks and months I would worry about blisters.
IMEKAKO posted 10-28-2007 12:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for IMEKAKO    
What you say about keeping the boat in a trailer is so abslolutel true that it cannot be refuted. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending how you look at it, my house is on san diego bay and in my back yard I have my own private dock,which at the moment is empty. I NEED to keep the boat behing my hosue so I can use it 4 or 5 times a week. Nothing like coming home from a hard day at work and taking my lady friend for a put around the bay and going to a local on the water resturant. The nearest launch place for a trailer is miles away so if i kept it on a triler I would be luck to use it once a month. Pluse I like to wake up in the morning and go have cofffee and read teh NYT on my boat. It would not be the same if the boat was in a yard on a triler. Then I would probably be reading teh Washington Post. So you see my prediciment. But I appreciate ll of your input and find it very helpful. Obvioulsy there is no one correct answer.
highanddry posted 10-28-2007 10:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
Well, I understand and that is why they invented lifts and those drive on floating docks. If you have room for the boat then there must surely be room for a lift of some sort.
Whalerdog posted 10-28-2007 11:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerdog  Send Email to Whalerdog     
So what happens to real large boats nobody wants them? I have my boat since Aug and it sits docked at the backyard. L ove going out and snacking on it, looking at it at night with the light on it, and dropping four lines and leaving the dock. I have 70-+ hrs on itand if I trailered it even though the ramp is 5 minutes I just wouldn't use it near as much.
prj posted 10-28-2007 05:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for prj  Send Email to prj     
"... like to wake up in the morning and go have coffee and read the NYT on my boat. It would not be the same if the boat was in a yard on a trailer. Then I would probably be reading the Washington Post." : )

Welcome to the community, Professor!

IMEKAKO posted 10-28-2007 06:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for IMEKAKO    
I do have room for a boat lift on pontoons. Here because of the tide you cannot have a fixed one. And all I can say is that sitting in my living room and looking at the water, seeing a boat sitting way up high on fiberglass pontoons is kind of like drinking domestic champagne vs. the real stuff from France: it is practical but not very romantic.
I will take blisters over a boat lift.
highanddry posted 10-28-2007 08:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
Well, then you will just have to barrier coat and then bottom paint it. You bought it to use so have at it. Boston Whalers will blister and if you have read all of the "research" on it then you proably know that about the only thing predictable about blistering is that once it happens you got a mess to deal with. If I lived on the water, my boat would be in a boat house or lift.

You did see the tread on the Carolina Skiff that blsitered--horribly?

Plotman posted 10-29-2007 12:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
The fiberglass resin that BW uses is no different than any other boat manufacturer.

If you are going to leave your boat in the water all the time, even with a liner, you are still going to want to bottom paint it.

I would use a good ablative paint (doesn't build up layers like the old-style) and put whatever the paint manufacturer recommends as a compatible barrier coat underneath. Micron, Petit and others all make good paints.

If you can't enjoy your boat, what is the point of having it. Have fun.

Mobjack posted 10-29-2007 02:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mobjack  Send Email to Mobjack     
If I were to go out and buy a brand new boat, I think I would certainly consider a boat lift. My father has one for his whaler because he doesn't like painting bottoms anymore. However, with my old classic montauk my situation is similar to IMEKAKO's in that I have the boat on a spring line at my dock, which is less than forty feet from my front door. I can come home from work, change clothes on the way through the house, grab a beer, and be fired up and out of there in less than five minutes. Even a lift adds some time to that, and it is a big hassle(not to mention a few thousand dollars) to run power to the end of the dock, get permits, new pilings, etc, when the setup I have right now only costs me the money for a fresh coat of good ablative paint.
I love it because it is so simple. The previous owner kept her in a covered slip for the twenty years he owned her, and the hull is damn near perfect. he was religious about painting it, and I would bet she was in the water 80% of the time. The only thing the salt took its toll on was the engine, which has the corrosion to show for it. However, I run the boat way too much for an engine to last twenty years, so that doesn't matter anyway.

From time to time on this site I hear people talking about hull blisters. In seven whalers now, I have yet to encounter anything that I would call a blister on one of our hulls, which included production years 1979, 1986, 1989, 1997, 2001, 1983, 2007. What gives? what causes these things, how do they manifest, which types of users(mooring, trailer, lift) have had the most trouble with them?
I am fortunate to have this kind of access available to me, I figure why not make the most of it.

Bella con23 posted 10-29-2007 02:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bella con23  Send Email to Bella con23     
I found this extensive article relating to the formation of hull blisters. A little dry reading, but interesting no the less.

Whalerdog posted 10-29-2007 08:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerdog  Send Email to Whalerdog     
Thanks for the link good reading.
IMEKAKO posted 10-29-2007 11:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for IMEKAKO    
That is good reading and it makes you paranoid, especially if you see the post referred to above in Hulltruth and see the pictures of the blisters on a new boat. But my last boat was a Shamrock and it was at my dock for 9 years without ever coming out of the water. It was not in a liner so I had a dive service clean it every 3 weeks. When i got a traler for it and pulled it out, the hull was PERFECT, not a single blister on it. So I think it is the luck of the draw. My preference now is to put it at the dock and see what happens.
swist posted 10-31-2007 08:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
Having to deal with launching and retrieving a trailerable boat every time you want to use it to me would kill half the fun of boating. I have kept five different brands of such boats on a saltwater mooring for 22 years. I keep up the bottom painting regimen meticulously. I've never had any problems with blisters or any other kind of hull damage. (And at least two of those boats were bottom-of-the-line el crapola).

Having the boat accessible by tender in 5 minutes, and then left at the dock as long as I'm going to be hanging around, makes the quality of boating life immeasurably better than the trailer routine, assuming you have this option.

Boats belong in the water, not on a trailer.

blackdog54 posted 10-31-2007 10:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog54  Send Email to blackdog54     
Welcome. Which Whaler are you getting? What part of SD are you going to be docking in, Mission or SD bay?

We have a modest number of Whaler owners here in SD and are due for our 2nd annual meet up. Please let me know if you are interested in being notified of the plans.


IMEKAKO posted 10-31-2007 08:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for IMEKAKO    
Good to be here. I am in south san Diego bay. And please do keep me informed of raft ups.
I agree with that keeping a boat o trailer is like going to the Sturgis Rally and seeing Harleys being brought in on trailers. It is obscene.
Buckda posted 11-03-2007 09:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     

I'm jealous of your current situation and quandry about the boat!

Where I to permanently moor my boat in-water, whether chlorinated, fresh or salt - I'd add the epoxy barrier coat and anti-fouling/ablative paint.

Given California's "Green" standards, I'm surprised they allow you to put chlorination tablets in a liner like that...the thought never even crossed my mind.

Anyway - See if customer service at Whaler will make a recommendation for your situation; and make a record of the conversation with your boat materials.

You seem like a guy who has taken certain precautions in life (and a fair amount of risks) to get where you are - The factory recommendation will help mitigate the risks of choosing the wrong product for your situation.

Good luck - and welcome to the club.

Chances are one of the shutterbugs on this site will eventually get a shot of your boat in the water - I know I have a bunch of Long Beach Whaler photos from my trip down in that region of the country last spring...and some others from San Diego a year ago when I was down there.

Good luck and let us know what you choose so it can help other members who might find themselves in your situation in the future.


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