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Old 06-15-2012, 11:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hull Repair

I have a fiberglass hull with some dings and scratches. What is the best way to smooth out the hull?
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Old 06-16-2012, 08:27 AM   #2 (permalink)
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First you need to be sure of the hull material. All modern Yamaha many Kawasaki hulls are not fiberglass, but SMC (sheet molded compound). In addition they are painted and not gelcoated. You cannot use polyester resins to repair this type of hull, since polyester resins will not stick (many of the gelcoat repair systems are polyester).

If your hull is truly fiberglass, you can get gelcoat repair kits that match the color to do minor repairs for scratches and small dings like this one: http://www.boatersland.com/fib108000...FYFo4Aodsw253Q.

Deeper gouges in an SMC type of hull would need to have some type of resin repair as a first step. West Marine makes a nice kit that comes with all the stuff you need for more extensive damage, and it will work on any type of hull material since it is epoxy. Once the deeper gouges and damage is repaired with this system, then you would paint to finish the surface.
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Old 06-16-2012, 11:14 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Ernest - You are correct. I checked my manual and the hull is SMC. What repair method would I use for an SMC hull?
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Old 06-16-2012, 07:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I like the West Marine kit: Overton's : West System Fiberglass Boat Repair Kit - Boating & Marine > Maintenance > Fiberglass & Gelcoat Repair > Putties & Sealants :

The West kit has everything you need to repair damage from small scratches, to deep gouges, and even holes in the hull. Once you get everything filled and sanded smooth, then you will need to paint the surface. If you want to match the paint on the ski closely then check here: Paint Search :: Step 1 - ColorRite
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks Ernest! When I first asked this question it was for a planned unnecessary but desired repair. However, these repairs are now almost a necessity.

I had an incident in rough seas today and the ski took on moderate to heavy damage to the hull above the waterline from a large rescue boat bobbing against it. Its a very long story...

I was also glad that you helped with the towing tip. I had vice grips with me (less than ideal - I'm looking for a hose pincher that will be more gentle to the hose) and clamped the line off.

My ski is at a Marina overnight until I can return in the morning with a new battery. I will post pics of the damage tomorrow night.

Question 1: The large boat that was bobbing against my ski left its red paint all over the port and bow sides of my ski. I haven't made an attempt to remove the red paint yet, but do you have any recommendations?

Question 2: The product you listed says its a fiberglass repair kit. My hull is SMC (my original post was incorrect). Is this product and paint recommendation good for my SMC hull?

Question 3:Also, the ski is overnight in a Marina sitting in the saltwater. I didn't really have many options. How bad is it to leave the ski docked in the saltwater for 18 hours?

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Old 06-28-2012, 09:52 AM   #6 (permalink)
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1. I suspect the paint or what ever it is will come off fairly easily with some rubbing. If not I'd try something mild and work up. Goof Off, I think is the name of some stuff that will probably work if nothing else will.

2. You can use any type of epoxy system (which is what is in the West kit) on SMC.

3. Should be fine. I'd just do a through flush, and hit the metal with some type of anti-corrosive spray.
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Old 06-28-2012, 03:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Here are pics of the damage.

The only unaffected part of the ski is the starboard side. Since there is such a great deal of damage, I was thinking of repainting the entire ski and changing the color scheme. Is this a good idea or not? I don't know how good these touch up paints will be when I'm applying them by hand.
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Hull Repair-jet-ski-damage-1small.jpg   Hull Repair-jet-ski-damage-2small.jpg   Hull Repair-jet-ski-damage-3small.jpg   Hull Repair-jet-ski-damage-4small.jpg  
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Old 06-28-2012, 05:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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OK, damage doesn't look too bad, but now you have us on the edge of our seats to hear the whole story.......rough seas, rescue boat, getting towed back???? Lets hear what happened.
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Old 06-28-2012, 06:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I launched at the Hackensack River in Secaucus, NJ (incase you want to see our path on a map). I was with one other jet ski. We rode into Newark Bay, then into the Upper Bay. We were playing around in the rough waters around the Statue of Liberty - we had a blast....until the rest of the problems came about.

We started on our way back, maybe went .25 mile back when we stopped to talk for a minute. After that, my ski wouldn't start (no dash, no sounds, no cranking....nothing) I popped the seat (tough in the swells we were in) and checked the battery connections, which seemed ok. I was stumped because the battery was 2 months old. I tried again. This time I got a display on my dash reading low voltage, but no cranking. The dash quickly went blank. I then clamped off my cooling line with my vise grips and got the tow line out. I put the seat back on, gave it one last try, but got nothing out of it.

We decided to tie the bow of my ski to the stern of the other ski. We successfully tied them up after some time, but the ski of my riding partner became very unstable before we even began towing. He kept getting dumped and felt like he was taking on water. He popped his seat and said that he didn't see water inside so he kept trying and kept tipping. Last ditch effort, I attempt to get on his ski and it tipped right away.

I had a handheld VHF radio with me (great product by the way, I'll leave a link to it at the bottom of this post). I put out a distress call for two disabled jetskis. A moment later it was very clear that my partners ski was sinking (despite the fact that he didn't notice water under the seat before). I then put out a Mayday call on the radio. Seconds later a Newark Fire Department boat came our way and we flagged them down (BIG BOAT - Their deck was about 8' above the water line and was about 40' long)

The Fire boat stops, they tie up to my ski on the starboard side of their ship, and pull me aboard. They throw a ring out to my partner and pull him aboard.

At this point his ski is completely submerged with only 6"-8" of his nose bobbing around at the surface. His stern and my bow are still tied up. His ski then makes its way under the starboard side of the fire boat and pops out on the port side. My ski was then being pulled right up on the starboard side of the ship as it bobbed up and down giving my ski blow after blow after blow.

Finally, the crew was able to fish the line between the two skis and cut it. Both skis were brought around to the stern of the fire boat and towed to a Marina in Liberty State Park. The firemen (aside from the captain) were out on the boat only this one day for a special trip. They loved every minute of the rescue.

The folks at the Marina were very helpful through everything too and allowed us to keep our skis there overnight.

So what actually happened??
My partner told me yesterday that when they craned his ski out of the water, only one plug was in.

As for my ski, I arrived at the Marina first thing this morning with a new battery in hand. I replaced it and it still didn't start. I then checked the terminals on the cable for corrosion and found the terminal on the positive cable hanging on by a thread. I went to a local pep boys, bought a new terminal, crimped it on and rode the ski about 2 miles to a public ramp within Liberty State Park.

Thats the story and I'm sticking to it. Something to tell my grandkids about...

Useful handheld VHF Radio
UNIDEN MHS125 Floating Handheld VHF Radio at West Marine

A few very important things about this radio. Many radios say they are waterproof and are even called submersible. However, if you research their waterproof rating you'll see that they may only be splash proof. This radio cost me some extra money but it was worth it. it has a waterproof rating of JIS-8/IPX8 and can withstand being submerged up to 1.5M.

The radio came off my vest when I went overboard and I found it bobbing around on the surface. It was also submerged while I was swimming and still worked. The radio is highly recommended.
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Old 06-28-2012, 07:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Wow! Definitely a good story for the grand kids. Glad you managed to get your ski back mostly in one piece. I guess it could have been much worse. Sorry to hear about your buddy. Hopefully he will be able to salvage his ski. He needs to get the water out of the engine ASAP, and get that thing running to have any chance.

I think you just sold some VHF radios too. A must for any offshore riding IMO.

Thanks for sharing. You may help someone else down the road. Good luck getting your ski repaired!
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