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Author Topic:   Suggestions for minor (major?) hull repair for 13' Whaler
Sean Hoffmann posted 07-24-2000 09:37 PM ET (US)   Profile for Sean Hoffmann   Send Email to Sean Hoffmann  
Hello folks,

I Made my first boat purchase just over a week ago, a 13" Boston Whaler whose hull was refurbished in 1992 (the boat's titled as a 1992 model). Thus, this is probably the first of many requests for help.

The Whaler was well taken care of and maintained by the previous owner. Anyway, after I towed it home last weekend, I noticed that about eight inches of the main V, about midway in the bottom of the hull, is missing. In other words, the outer metal hull material has been scraped away, and I can see and feel the inner hull glass and laminant inside. After using the boat Saturday, it was still dripping a little water from the hole overnight.

My question is, what's the best way to repair this? Is it a task I can do myself, or am I looking at big bucks to get it repaired elsewhere? If so, my wife will kill me. Here's another monkey wrench: The boat sits on a crank-on trailer. Therefore, when launching and trailering the boat, that section of the V has to roll on the middle and rear trailer rollers.
Which tells me that a simple patch from a fiberglass repair kit may not do the trick because it would have to be majorly reinforced.

I've gotten feedback from posting my problem on other boards. Response has ranged from: I have major problems due to water seepage in the hull, don't worry about the water seepage, repair it yourself, take it to an good fiberglass repair shop, etc.

What do you all recommend? I appreciate your responses!

jimh posted 07-25-2000 01:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
You can judge the depth of the damage by the color.

If you are still in the gelcoat layer, the damaged area is the same color as the surrounding gelcoat.

If you are into the laminate layers, the color is bluish.

If you are into the foam interior, the color is brownish.

If you have exposed the foam you have a major problem when you put the boat in the water. Don't do it! Fix this first.

If you are into just the laminate, you could use the boat, but you are going to get things wet that should not get wet. Not recommended.

The best thing to do now that you've been in the water with this damage is to:

1. Let the boat dry out on the trailer until no more water comes out of the damaged area. You might want to tilt the boat on the trailer to encourage water to come out. You might want to resort to more drastic encouragements like a vacuum pump.

2. Once you get the water out, repair the damage. Since this area is seldom seen, you do not have to worry about cosmetic repairs, just get a good water-tight and strongly bonded covering of epoxy and perhaps epoxy-saturated cloth over the damage. Fair the repair into the rest of the hull, and don't worry about how it looks too much.

Most important, don't put the boat back in the water until you make a repair to this area or you are inviting more serious damage.

You can probably fix it yourself for less than $50 in materials.

See for more information on making repairs yourself.

If you don't want to tackle this yourself, depending on where you live, you can get this fixed by 'the local fiberglas repair guy' and it might cost you a couple hundred bucks.


bigz posted 07-25-2000 06:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    

Jim's right about no more water --- if it was still dripping after you hauled out you have water in the core --- best to let her sit a week or two in the sun and try to dry it as much as possible before attempting a repair.

My advice in the mean time have a pro look at her to determine the best course of action because of the area involved!It just may need the area opened up--- and new laminations built before gelcoating!

Don't understand when you say "metal" hull material --- there isn't any metal in a Whaler hull!

Welcome to the forum --- Tom

PS --- just remember you already have an investment in the boat -- so don't go throwing good money out the window with make shift DIY repairs --- spend the money and have it done right --- unless of course you know what your doing with fiberglass --- this isn't a minor top side gouge ---

Sean Hoffmann posted 07-25-2000 10:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for Sean Hoffmann  Send Email to Sean Hoffmann     
Thanks for the input, Jim and bigz. I took a closer look at the damage last night. Bigz, you are correct. No metal in the hull (I should have known this). A portion of the gray outer hull material (the layer the paint sits on) on the keel (approx. four inches long by an half inch wide) is gouged away, exposing a feathery-like material (glass or laminant?). I can feel about a quarter of an inch into the gouge. I don't think a whole lot of water got into the hull. Some water seeped out overnight after having it in the water over the weekend. I'm talking about a few drops, not pints or quarts. The trailer has been tilted to maximize drainage, although water is no longer draining. The interior material (foam?) is still damp, and I'm letting it dry--it's been 100 degrees in my garage everyday for the past few weeks, so it should dry quickly. It looks like the entire keel has been repaired sometime in the boat's past. Lots of uneven application of epoxy.

Enough of my rambling. To make a long story short, I will look into getting some estimates for the repair. I'd hate to try to repair it myself without knowing what I'm doing.

Thanks again for your help. I'm certain I'll have more questions as time goes on.

Sean Hoffmann

bigz posted 07-25-2000 11:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Sean good decision --- make sure you have whomever you get check the entire hull for problem areas --- sounds to me like it was run either over something or run aground hard either situation merits a full underside inspection -- more areas might have been filled and the bottom paint covering them --- just a few thoughts which might be of some help -- Tom
david in boston posted 07-25-2000 11:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for david in boston  Send Email to david in boston     
I had the same problem with a 17' montauk. I bought the hull without engine for $600. it had the same wear on the bow keel as you describe-about a 2-3ft x2" area worn thruogh to the foam. I brought the hull to my town dump to wiegh it on the truck scale and found that it was the correct weight for my model and year (I asked Whaler about the weight) so I knew there wasnt much water in the hull. I also tapped the hull all over with a plastic mallet listening for dull thuds that would indicate the foam was water damaged, and found none as well, so confident that the hull was good, I found a fiberglass guy here in boston that fixed it up perfect for $400. it was a lot of work. He had to grind away 4-5 inches around the hole, and fill the void with epoxy waterproof filler, then layer upon layer of glass to build up the keel with ginding and shaping between each layer of glass. took a long time to finish but looks great now. I didnt bother with gelcoat, just new bottom paint. repowered with a new 70 hp tohatsu engine and Ive benn taking it 10-15 miles out fishing off Martha's Vineyard and Cape. Its a great boat. let me know if you have any questions. David

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