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Old    David Hickman (evadehickman)      Join Date: Apr 2008       05-03-2009, 10:08 AM Reply   
Owning a boat is a learning process, right? So we beached our boat a few times and now have some scratches in the red gel coat. I'm hoping someone can educate me about how big a problem this is:

1.) Should I fix it right away because the lack of gel coat in those areas allows water to permanently damage the exposed hull underneath?

2.) Does anyone know of a good way to be able to beach a boat without scratching the hull? I've been thinking about getting a keelguard, like this: Any feedback or other ideas? Seems like a keel guard protects a limited area....
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Thanks - feel like an idiot, but that usually precedes knowledge...

Dave
Old    Aaron Ware (99_slaunch)      Join Date: Oct 2005       05-03-2009, 11:16 AM Reply   
How deep are the scratches? Are they deep enough to see the fiberglass? If they are only cosmetic I would just wetsand a little and buff. Can you get a few pics of the damage?
Old    David Hickman (evadehickman)      Join Date: Apr 2008       05-03-2009, 2:12 PM Reply   
I don't have pix now, and boat is stored an hour away, so maybe next week. Meanwhile, I can see white beneath the red gel coat, but none of the scratches is very deep or gouge-like.

I don't know what wetsanding is - would I be able to make it red again? Is cosmetic repair something I should have done professionally?
Old    George Aslinger (mobv)      Join Date: Jun 2002       05-03-2009, 2:36 PM Reply   
The only way to make it red again is to add some red back. You can order small amounts of gel coat repair material from Spectrum. Fill the crack then sand and polish with 3m Finisse It to get the final glossy shine.
Old    Eric (wakeboardin2k4)      Join Date: Sep 2006       05-03-2009, 8:38 PM Reply   
Well if you have to start learning gelcoat somewhere I would say under the hull is a good place to start so that if it's ugly you can hide it better.

Now depending on how new your boat is you may be able to order gelcoat through your dealer. That's going to obviously give you the perfect color match. Otherwise you should start at West Marine or something like that for a color match. Don't attempt to make you own color.

After finding your color you need to man up, put fears aside, and take a dremel tool to your hull and remove enough gelcoat so that the NEW gelcoat can adhere to the hull. I'd say only 1/4" to a 1/3" deep.

When you are applying the new gelcoat put it on only the area that has been dremeled BUT make make sure you put a plentiful amount of gelcoat on that area and make sure it's built up high enough. You will have to sand it down so that the new gelcoat is even with your old gelcoat. Once you lay the new gelcoat put a large piece of wax paper over the new gelcoat and use some tape to hold the wax paper to the boat and new gelcoat. Don't push the wax paper down, it is there to keep anything and everything off the new gelcoat. Leave it overnight with a warm, bright light, in a heated area (unless it's warm out where you live).

Next day remove the wax paper and start with 220 grit sand paper. You can do this dry, it doesn't have to be wet sanded ((wetsanding is sanding down a surface such as gelcoat with wet sandpaper not dry. It makes the sandpaper less coarse)). Try to use a sanding block over your bare hand because obviously your hand is less even than a block. After getting the new gelcoat realllly close to even with the 220 grit. Switch to 320 and bring it down to even with the original gelcoat. From 320 on dip that sandpaper and block into a bucket of soapy water. After 320 go to 600 then 800 and 1000 grit and then use rubbing compound and wax and enjoy the beautiful look of your gelcoat. You can buy a variety pack of sandpaper at advanced auto parts. Good luck. If people have any other suggestions or better ways to do gelcoat please chime in. I do gelcoat work 2 or 3 dozen times a year at work and this procedure has worked for me but I'm always open to new ways of doing this type of stuff.

I wrote all this on my iPhone so pardon my spelling errors.
Old    David Hickman (evadehickman)      Join Date: Apr 2008       05-04-2009, 7:26 AM Reply   
Thanks everybody - I'll look into ordering some color match from my dealer. And Eric, that's a long iPhone message to type - thanks man! Any more ideas, keep em coming...

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