Speed Boat Maintenance

Properly maintaining a speed boat is as essential to smooth running as giving it fuel. Speed boat maintenance reduces the chance of breakdown, which will result in lower repair costs. It also will reduce the chance of being stranded by an inconvenient breakdown. Most important, keeping the recommended maintenance schedule maintains the longevity of the speed boat, helping owners get more years and more value from their investment.

Most speed boats come with a manual that explains in detail what maintenance that particular boat requires. While every boat is different, there are a few common maintenance tasks that can extend the life of every speed boat.

Annual Maintenance

Like their human owners, speed boats require an annual checkup. During this “check up”, the oil, lower end fluid, and drive oil should be changed, as well as all filters. If the boat spends a lot of time in saltwater, change the zincs every year and have the boat bottom painted. This will not only keep the speed boat looking pristine, but also clean the fiberglass and remove barnacles and debris.

Winterizing the Speed Boat Engine

A good time to perform annual speed boat maintenance tasks is while the boat is being winterized. Winterizing a speed boat is essential if it will exposed to cold and/or damp weather. First, the engine should be flushed with water. Once the engine is drained, it can be washed with soapy water, and then rinsed. Drain all fuel from the carburetor and hoses so evaporated fuel does not build up.

Once the engine is clean and dry, lubricate the cylinder walls and pistons and apply water resistant grease to all other moving parts. Polish the outside of the engine with a high quality wax.

Other Winter Maintenance

The speed boat engine is not the only part requiring winter maintenance. The fuel filter and water separator should be replaced annually to prevent clogs. Before winter, make sure the fuel tank is full and add a fuel stabilizer. This will prevent condensation build up and deposits. Bilges can be clean with hot water and a stiff brush, then thoroughly dried before being sprayed with lubricant and antifreeze. It is also a good idea to thoroughly clean the boat both inside and out to prevent buildup.

It is essential that owners consult their speed boat manual or an experienced marine mechanic before attempting to complete any of these tasks themselves. Once they feel that they are capable of performing their own speed boat maintenance, most or all of the supplies can be found at a marine supply store or from online sources. Spending a few hundred dollars every year in speed boat maintenance can save thousands a year in repairs. It also ensures that owners get the most use out of their boat.

Wendy Pan is an accomplished niche website developer and author.

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How to Choose the Right Carpet for Your Yacht

Do you own a boat with an interior cabin? Then one of the most essential things that you need to take into account is boat refurbishing, which entails choosing the right type of carpet. This personal touch can make the cabin safer, neat and more comfortable.

When choosing a boat carpet, the first thing you need to consider is the water proofing and the backing type of material. Don’t go for a regular carpet as it will easily accumulate mold and dirt, may be a poor fit and may be damaged quickly. To ensure value for money, choose one with a manageable shag and rubber backing to reduce mold build up.

Another thing to take into account is the boat carpet’s color. It is crucial to match your boat’s color scheme and to select a carpet color that will not make dirt visible. Is there an area to carpet that is trafficked? Then select a darker color to completely mask wear and stains. Meanwhile, if there is an area that you prefer not to be accessed with shoes on, like a bedroom, then a lighter color is fine.

To ensure that the recarpeting and refurbishing job will be done in a professional way, entrust only a reputable luxury yacht refurbishment company.

Boat and Yacht – Teak and Holly Sole

Most Boat and Yacht flooring is usually Teak and Holly sole which takes a lot of abuse in foot traffic. It has a great look, and enhances the interior. On some boats or yachts, it is an option, but some boats come with the teak and holly sole as standard. Whether you have a Powerboat or Sailboat, the problems are what to do when it wears out, and how do you know it is time to do something. Here is what to do…

I have to tell you, not only did I dread to do this, but feared how it would come out. I did not want it to look worst after a fix, I wanted it to look better. I heard all kinds of stories from Boat owners, and some looked to sell their boats or yachts instead of repairing the teak and holly sole. You could not do just part of the flooring like a hatchway, it would stick out…You would have to do all of the flooring, once you started. With determination after looking at what new Teak and Holly looked like, I decided to take the plunge. The supplies are very inexpensive, and the results even after the first brush stroke is amazing!

The main Boat supplies are sandpaper (220 grit) and varnish. You will have to decide if you want a satin or gloss finish on your yacht or boat. Read the labels including the precautions, applications and techniques. Other supplies would be masking tape, brushes, rags, and thinner.

There are different wear points on the teak and holly sole to talk about first. If you have just worn down teak and holly with no bare spots, that’s good. If you have a few bare spots, which means you’re down to the wood itself, you will have a few extra steps. Also look at the back of your boats’ hatchways or removable sections to see if the wood behind has splintered or split. Also see if there is too much flex as you step on it when they are in place. Now is the time to repair this before or after redoing the finish on the teak and holly sole.

Refinishing your boat or yacht floor:
Basically it is just sanding and you can do this with a light power sander or by hand with a sanding block. I did a hatchway first and moved it to a comfortable area to do the work. Making sure there is no grit or dirt on the surface, I sanded by hand with 220 grit sandpaper, giving the teak and holly sole a dull even finish. If you have bare spots, sand the wood lightly to get the gray out and feather slightly the finish around it to the bare spots. Take a rag slightly damp with thinner and clean off the surface area to get all sanding dust off. Do this each time after sanding or before varnishing. Thin the varnish by 20% and give a coat over just the bare spots. I waited until dry or 24hrs to add the next coat. Sanding the area I just coated first. This time I thinned the varnish 10% and coated all of the hatchway. Waiting the drying time again, I sanded (220 grit) again and coated this time with the varnish full strength. I found the varnish likes to be warm along with the surface I am putting it on. It flows and lays better, making your sanding easier in between coats. If I had deep gouges, I would apply a little extra varnish in that area or give it an extra coat or two bringing the surface even with the rest. Of course sanding in between and feathering the edges. You will now see a nice build-up of coats and great luster on your boats’ teak and holly sole!

How many coats? It is up to you, but having at least 4 or 5 is minimum. Having 6 to 8 is better, especially in high traffic areas and you can do more! After I did the first hatchway, and seeing it come out great, I felt comfortable doing more in larger sections. I did the outer areas in the cabin first, and slowly worked my way out. You can do as large of an area that you feel comfortable with. On some of the boat hatches and sections that were split, soft or cracked, I found that fiberglassing the underneath was the answer. It stopped the splitting, cracking and softness/flex. You may just need a good coat of resin thinned out to soak in, to a few layers of fiberglass to hold things together and take out the flexing.

This is easy and the varnish hides and makes everything on your boat look great. Just don’t have a bunch of sanding dust flying around while varnishing. Try to keep the area as dust free as possible. The dust that sticks to the varnish sands out, and on the last coat, what sticks won’t really be seen on the floor. What will be seen is the great new finish and luster! It’s easy, and Why not?!

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How to Repair Fiberglass Cracks on Boats

Discovering fiberglass cracks on a boat is every boat owner’s nightmare. Although fiberglass can be considered as a sturdy type of material, cracks cannot be avoided due to the constant stress a boat can encounter on sea. Every year, maintenance costs can set back hundreds of dollars on a boat owner’s wallet. But this need not be the case anymore. If you’re a boat owner looking for a way to maintain your boat without having to spend so much money on it, then why not learn how to repair fiberglass cracks on boats yourself?

Do you want to know how to repair fiberglass cracks on boats? Then you need to need to know the basics about fiberglass first. You have to understand that the advantage with fiberglass is that it is one of those materials that are easy to fix. You don’t need to order in special supplies or tools just to get started. Most of the things you will need to know how to repair fiberglass cracks on boats are readily available in your tool shed.

To get started, you have to check the cracks on your boat if it is just a simple stress crack or if it is a void. It’s really easy to differentiate between the two. A stress crack looks just like a crack an eggshell could get. As soon as you find a crack on your boat, try to get it repaired immediately so that the crack will not cause further damage that will be more difficult to fix. As for a void, you’ll be able to assess a void by touching it. If it feels like there’s a dip on any smooth part of the boat, then most likely it is a void.

Knowing how to repair fiberglass involves having a little know how on how to use a sander or buffer. A sander or buffer is needed to ground out the stress and any other damages the boat has achieved. After achieving a smooth surface on the damaged part then it would be the perfect time to start applying the new fiberglass. Always follow instructions included with different solutions you’ll need so you can start applying the new fiberglass. Make sure you choose a crack sealant that is both affordable and very effective so you are able to get your money’s worth.

If you’re an avid sailor, knowing how to repair fiberglass cracks on boats can prove to be a very essential skill. As long as you have the right tools, supplies and a positive mindset, then you’re all set. Not only will it save you hundreds of dollars in repair bills, but it also gives you the fulfilling feeling of being able to fix your won boat.

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Gelcoat Repair

Undoubtedly at some point during your period of boat ownership gelcoat repairs will be necessary. After all, a boat is a big investment (well maybe not an investment) and for the most part boaters take pride in the appearance of their boat. What is worse than a freshly cleaned and waxed boat with a noticeable scratch or chip?

All is not lost when this happens. In fact gelcoat repairs are quite easy with a little bit of knowledge and some good ol’ elbow grease.

Before making the repair you should check to make sure that the damage is contained to only the gelcoat and has not damaged the fiberglass or that there is no structural damage. If the fiberglass is damaged or you suspect structural damage, have your boat inspected by a professional.

Perhaps the most difficult part of gelcoat repair is matching the gelcoat color with your hull color. This can be easily accomplished with a little bit of research. Try contacting the boat manufacturer or research on the internet. More often than not, you will find the exact color can be ordered to match your boat. If you cannot find an exact color match you will have to mix a coloring agent with the gelcoat to obtain the desired color. Mix a small sample of the gelcoat and the coloring agent, let it dry to ensure it is the correct color when it dries.

If you have a scratch or chip it is best to use a gelcoat paste. Gelcoat paste will allow you to fill the scratch or chip with minimal coating. In most cases, one application will suffice. Liquid gelcoat will take many applications to build up the scratch in order to make it flush with the adjacent surface area.

I found the following steps will produce the best finish and minimize the cleanup.

1. Preparation
When you are satisfied that the gelcoat you have matches the existing color it is time to prep the scratched or chipped area. To do this get some masking tape and mask off the four sides around the chip leaving a small area of good finish exposed (approximately 1/4″-3/8″ around the scratch on all sides). This will prevent excess gelcoat from adhering to the surrounding surface areas that have not been damaged.

When the taping is finished, sand the scratch and the exposed area around the scratch inside the tape with some 80-100 grit sand paper. You want to sand the area enough to lightly scuff up the exposed surface, but not so much that you make an indent or damage the fiberglass. Next sand the scratched area to remove any loose flakes or debris. You want to sand enough to make sure that there will not be any possible voids when applying the paste (create a “V” groove of the scratch). Gelcoat paste can bridge an opening when applied which will create a hollow void when it dries. Once you have finished sanding, wipe the area you sanded with some acetone to remove any wax or foreign debris.

2. Mixing and Applying the Gelcoat
Mix the paste and the hardener as indicated on the instructions supplied with you gelcoat. Once it is mixed apply the paste to the scratch. Do not put on to much paste or it will ooze out beyond the taped area. After the paste is applied, using a utility knife razor blade or a plastic scraper remove the excess paste with one smooth steady drag across the surface. You want to straddle the edges of the tape on either side of the scratch with the blade or scraper. This will give a finished surface of gelcoat slightly higher than the rest of the area when the tape is removed. Make sure that you level the paste and scrape off the extra before the gelcoat hardens. Do not keep trying to scrape and level the paste to get a perfect finish. Believe it or not this will only make it more difficult to sand and finish later.

3. Sanding and Finishing
After the gelcoat has fully hardened (follow manufactures drying time), remove the tape and begin sanding the repaired area with 150 grit sand paper. When sanding, do not sand the repaired area below the adjacent surface. Use a small sanding block to help ensure an even surface with the adjacent surface.

When the new gelcoat is flush with the adjacent surface, change the paper to 220 grit wet paper. Again using a block, sand the repair, this time use a small circular motion keeping the sand paper and the area slightly wet. Feather the repaired area into the old gelcoat until you cannot detect a ridge or bump in the repaired area (use caution to sand the area flat if it is on a curved area).

Change the sand paper to 420 grit wet paper. Wet sand the area until the repair area has a uniform appearance and blends in with the surrounding surface completely.

Again change the sand paper using 660 grit wet sand the area and finish off with 1000 grit wet sanding paper.

Once you are satisfied with the blending of the sanded area, dry off the area. Apply rubbing compound to the repaired area. Buff the area in a circular pattern in order to get a high gloss. This may take a couple of applications, reducing pressure on every application, to reach the desired finish which should match the glossy sheen of the original surface.

Finish off with a fresh coat of wax. If done correctly, the damage should be undetectable when you finish.

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Pros and Cons of Building, Repairing and Maintaining Fibreglass Boats

Pros and Cons of Building, Repairing and Maintaining Fibreglass Boats

Building boats is fun if you use the right material and tools. The material you use to build boats must be durable, light and flexible, which is one of the major reasons for popularity of fibreglass and aluminium.

Though there is a great demand for aluminium boats today, especially among fishermen, fibreglass is not far behind. More number of people around the world purchases their own personal boats to enjoy rowing and fishing whenever they want to and there is great demand for boats made of both metal and fibreglass.

Boats made of fibreglass and aluminium is available ready in shops. However, there is no match for the thrill and experience of building your own boat. If you are planning on building a fibreglass boat, it is highly recommended to gain enough knowledge on pros and cons of this material.

There are many advantages of using fibreglass for boat building –

  • Low maintenance – Fiberglass boats require very low maintenance and as compared to a wooden boat, you do not have to constantly keep checking for rot.
  • Sturdier than metal – Fibreglass is also sturdier than aluminium metal boats that are prone to dents which may destabilize the boat by creating an imbalance in the center of buoyancy.
  • Easy to make the hull – It is easy to construct the hull of a fibreglass boat as it is just a continuous, single piece and requires no assembly.
  • No shrinkage of planks – As fibreglass is a plastic material, it is highly resistant to moisture and therefore there will be no shrinkage of planks.
  • No corrosion or electrolysis in water- Fiberglass is an inert material and is therefore not prone to corrosion or electrolysis in water as in aluminium boats.
  • Simpler to construct the boat – Fiberglass boats as compared to wooden or even aluminium boats are easier to construct. It takes only a quarter of the time to construct a fibreglass boat as you require no particular skill. All you must know is how to make a mold and get a basic training on boat building.

All these advantages apart, there are many disadvantages in choosing fibreglass to build your boat.

  • You cannot use any fibreglass variety available in the market. It is necessary to import a particular type of fibreglass suited to make boats whenever you want to.
  • Once you decide upon and fix the molds and design, it is not possible to make changes. So, it is very essential to pre-determine the type and style of boat you want before cutting the fibreglass.
  • If you take your boat anywhere near factory dumps, you may expose fibreglass boat to damage from chemicals and suffer huge investment loss.

Of course, the advantages of owning a fibreglass boat far outweigh the disadvantages. Fiberglass is a material that is easy to repair and maintain in the long run as compared to metal and wood. Even after repair, the material will be as good as new due to the unique nature of the polyester resin. With great confidence, it is possible to make both structural as well as superficial repairs in a fibreglass boat.

If you have decided on building a fibreglass boat, here are a few essential repair tips –

Before starting the repair work, be sure to remove any loose material from the area. Sand the gel coat and smooth edges. Dry fit your repair cloth after cutting it to size. If you opt for first layer applications that are heavy duty, then it is recommended to choose woven roving. If on the other hand, you choose first layer lighter applications, then you can use the chopped strand mat.

Fibreglass resin is a polyester compound that hardens with the help of a catalyst. It is recommended to catalyze only the exact required amount of resin as the speed of the chemical reaction depends on ambient air and material temperature. After wetting the area to be repaired with the catalyzed resin, it is time to apply the first cloth layer.

After applying the required number of cloth layers smoothen the final layer. You can add wax to the resin used in the final layer as it helps isolate resin from atmospheric oxygen and allows for complete hardening of the surface. After you complete the repair process, sand the surface and apply a gel coat to make your boat absolutely original and new.

Fiberglass boats are best for easy maintenance and repairs. Choose the material you want for building your boat after careful consideration depending on your specific requirements.

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Fiberglass and Gelcoat Application Tips For Boat Hull Repair

Spaying gelcoat

When spraying gelcoat with a preval sprayer, strain your gelcoat after it has been reduced and activated using a paper disposable strainer then disregard the plastic strainer attached to the straw from the preval sprayer. This will give you a heavier and more consistent spray.

For over-all gelcoat refinishing use the same mix and steps as shown in the instructional instead of a preval sprayer, apply using an automotive spray gun, (no special tip needed). Gelcoat has to be thinned the same for a suction feed or gravity feed spray gun although using a gravity feed spray gun will leave more orange peel than necessary.

To apply using a suction feed spray gun will give you a smoother surface as gelcoat is more atomized throwing a finer spray yet releasing most solvents when spraying with around 60lb psi with in line water separator, keep your spray gun moving to avoid a wrinkle in the gelcoat over lapping each coat. The heavier the coat is applied the more micro pin holes will exist, using a suction feed spray gun will give you a better quality finish.

Never spray gelcoat in direct sunlight during a hot day, the surface will skin too fast trapping solvents creating pin holes leaving a dull finish at job completion.

Spraying gelcoat on the entire boat deck or hull be sure to prime first to cover all pin holes and repaired areas also to avoid blistering especially near the waterline, apply 4 coats at waterline and below, remember you will be sanding off at least a coat leaving you with 3 coats needed for a water bearier, 2 coats are fine for the rest of the vessel. Use Duratech vinylester primer some recommend polyester primer though it may be too brittle and eventually the primer may chalk beneath the sprayed gelcoat and chip or flake off easily. using auto primers for a gelcoat refinish is a bad idea, spray at least 5 coats of gelcoat when re-surfacing a complete boat deck or hull.

For gelcoat spot repair be sure to sand far past the repaired area to be sprayed to make sure your gelcoat spray does not exceed over the unsanded surface, use the proper grit for sanding during the final prep.

To avoid a wave or warped finish at job completion, never use tape around the area, it may only create a step as overspray build up exceeds onto the tape. Let your polisher remove any fine overspray that traveled onto the unsanded gelcoat if any, if using tape or masking paper stay clear of the area to be sprayed at least a couple feet.

Spraying true colors, red, blue, green etc. and your color is a bit off give a bigger blend line and spray 3 coats of clear gelcoat over the base color and 1 to 2 ft each side of your color blend.

Let your gelcoat cure for at least 48 hours before sanding that will give you a better blend after polishing as the blend line will be much harder and thinner without breaking away leaving a gelcoat repaired area invisible at all angles, using the proper gelcoat additives of course.

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Buying a New Boat? Fiberglass Vs Aluminum – A Comprehensive Guide

Thinking of getting a new boat? Have you decided if you want a fiberglass or aluminum (tin) boat? Below is the advantages and disadvantages of each type of material.

Fiberglass is often referred to as a no maintenance material. This however is not the case. The day after you take a new boat from the showroom the fiberglass will start to deteriorate. When fiberglass is left out in the elements, slowly over time it will chalk, fade and stain. Any bumps or scratches will one day need to be repaired to bring back the appearance of the fiberglass. And if the boat is moored in the water it is essential to have the boat anti-fouled to minimize algae build up.

Fiberglass does however have a long life span and the above wearing happens over a great number of years. With a little care such as covering your boat when not in use, hosing down after using and the occasional clean your fiberglass boat will maintain it’s good appearance.

In regards to performance, many boaters prefer fiberglass as the boat sits lower in the water and goes through the water better.

Aluminum boats have their own problems too. Dents are more noticeable in aluminium boats and need to be regularly knocked back into shape by a professional. The main problem most people have with aluminum boats however is that they ride on top of the water rather than through it. This means the ride will be bumpier than it would be with a similar size fiberglass boat.

So what’s good about a aluminum boat? The main advantage of an aluminium boat is they can be a lot lighter than the same size fiberglass equivalent. This is especially true for small dinghy’s and car-topper boats. Small cars can tow aluminum dinghy’s easily whereas if you have a fiberglass boat you will almost certainly need a large car to tow it. Aluminum boats are also easy to repair if you do spring a leak or the hull is penetrated.

So which material do you pick? You need to first look at what you will be using the boat for. Once you have worked this out it should give you a clearer picture of which material to choose. If you are still not sure, have a test drive in both boats and see which type you prefer best.

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Fiberglass and Gelcoat Repair Information For Boat Hull Repair

Matching gelcoat

Matching gelcoat can be easy! Keeping this trick in mind. Place matching gelcoat in two categories, color value and shade value, blending the different pigments into your gelcoat to reach the same color as the boat. You want the gelcoat your mixing to become a little darker than the boat, this will give you a better visual on where you are with your color match. If the boat is more on the yellow side as your gelcoat looks more on the brown side then add a very small amount of yellow to bring closer to the boat color, once you obtain the colors to be some what in sync then use the shade value. Shade value is the color only lighter or darker, once you feel your color looks roughly close it’s time to make your gelcoat a couple of shades lighter by adding white gelcoat, a very small amount at a time until you obtain the correct shade value. You may use a very small amount of white pigment but using too much white pigment may give you a dingie transparent effect leaving you with a poor match.

Use small strings of tint using a toothpick to add to your gelcoat one string at a time checking color before adding more tint, most off whites start out by using dark yellow or yellow gold followed by dark brown and light brown at times, then add a touch of black for the rich oyster colors. When adding dark tints such as brown, green or black do not use strings of tint as they are too powerful, add eye droplet size or less is best when mixing a pint or 1/2 pint, keep tinted gelcoat in a cool place.

If tinting gelcoat avoid colors in tubes as this may only make you frustrated and could give you a very poor repair also leaving you with colored speckles in your finish. Color tubes have a short shelf life and are not the same pigment as professional tints, unless you just don’t care about the color.

When matching true colors, red, blue, black and so on use neutral gelcoat for base using clear gelcoat would be too transparent and should only be used for top coating. Clear gelcoat is most used with metal flake repairs.

If matching with white gelcoat you may want to bring a chip sample to your local fiberglass supplier before purchasing white gelcoat to see if the white gelcoat is darker than the chip sample, if so search for a brighter white. It is very important to start with a high quality bright white, many white gelcoat products appear to be bright white but may have a light grey or pink cast to them making it difficult or impossible to get a good match as many are intended for mold work or tooling.

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Tips For Boat Maintenance

Here are some of the tips which can help you keep your boat up and running:-

o Flush the engine each time it’s used in salt water. Use “earmuffs” over the water intake and a freshwater hose. Tilt engine and rinse underneath to prevent salt buildup.

o Fill gas tank on the way back a full tank resists water build-up from condensation.

o Wash entire boat and trailer using soap and water. Zip Wax (by Turtle Wax) car wash soap contains wax and will not strip the wax from your boat. Do not use bleach or Soft Scrub except in emergencies. Re-wax the affected area after using these harsh products.

o Scrub the deck with a non-skid cleaner

o Dry all the metal, glass and flat surfaces. Standing water will leave mineral deposits and etch surfaces.

o Cover boat to protect it from sun and rain.

o Every 75 hours: replace spark plugs, clean fuel filter, change lower unit oil, grease engine/drive via the zerc fittings and inspect everything.

o Every 150 hours or once a year replace the impeller and fuel-water separator.

Engine/Running Gear maintenance tips include:

o Change oil frequently – following manufacturer’s minimum recommendations or once each season.

o Check and replace any belts or hoses that appear to be deteriorating.

o Check for oil and/or water leaks every time before leaving the dock.

o Flush your engine with fresh water after operating in salt water.

o Check impellers and pumps to anticipate a failure.

o Watch for the beginning of corrosion and take measures to stop it before it becomes a problem.

o Check and service transmissions and lower units according to manufacturer’s recommendations.

o Change fluids on a recommended schedule or at least once each season.

o Keep shafts and props in clean and good working order.

o Check all though-hull fittings. Make sure that their valves are operational and can be opened and closed.

o Check all water strainers to make sure that they are clean and free of debris.

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