Caring for your boat hull

It’s never too late in the season for hull maintenance.  Your hull’s material is what determines how your boat’s outer surface is maintained. In this article, we’ll be referring to that part of the hull that is above the waterline. We’ll save bottom-painting ideas for another time. Whether your boat is constructed of fiberglass, wood or even concrete, we’ll walk through the steps of exactly what needs to be done to care for its hull in the sections below. Let’s start with the most popular material – fiberglass.

Caring for a Fiberglass Hull

One of the easiest – yet most important – ways to go about getting your fiberglass hull ready for the water is to give it a good waxing. How exactly one should apply the wax will likely vary on a case-by-case basis. When in doubt, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. For best results, a hull should be waxed entirely both before and after each and every boating season.

If your boat’s hull is looking dull, and a good wax can’t seem to change this for an entire boating season, odds are the hull has become oxidized. When this is the case, a polish made specifically for fiberglass boat hulls should be applied. Unlike wax, a polish can be applied on an as-needed basis due to its ability to fix problems, rather than prevent them.

Caring for a Wooden Hull

Wooden boats are a different breed altogether. When it comes to wood, many of the applications made with fiberglass in mind may be too intense for the wood itself. Worms, dry rot, and corroding hardware are what to watch for on a wooden hull. A healthy supply of Git-Rot, touch-up paint, personal fortitude and a really big tarp are your best bets for wooden boats.

Caring for a Concrete Hull

Concrete hulls get a lot of bad press. Problems arise when surface cracks are left to draw moisture into the steel framework and the boat deconstucts from the inside out. Concrete boat hulls are typically covered in a layer of a waterproofing agent, such as liquid rubber.

Unlike caring for fiberglass or wood, concrete can typically be treated on an as-needed basis. The most important maintenance regarding concrete boats revolves around reapplying its waterproofing agent. Things like liquid rubber can do a great job of this, just make sure to use relatively thick layers, not like you might with a camping tent. Any waterproofing agent should be prepared and applied according to package instructions for best results.


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