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You know what is as important as finding the right boat to meet your needs?.... finding the right folks than can service and maintain your boat. While all boats depreciate, boats that are not well maintained in the harsh marine environment deteriorate and depreciate at an alarming rate. When you buy a boat new or used you must factor in the realistic cost of ownership. You know the old saying about boats being a hole in water that you throw money into. Well it's not that bad, but boats are not cheap either, and depending on size, most yachts are right up there with private planes, and in some cases, in line with a home purchase. One thing is for sure... it never pays to let boat maintenance slide. You're best to keep on top of it, do the things you can do yourself and let the experts take care of the rest.

It not just a matter of waxing and oil changes, there are many things that can and do go wrong on a boat. Even a moisture meter on the hull is a necessary evil every once in a while, to insure water is not breaching vent seals, through bolts or fiberglass blisters. If you wait until the balsa core or a stringer gets rotten it's going to cost you dearly. The tough part is finding the right people to work on your boat who are fair and reliable. The best way to ascertain this is to talk to other boaters and find out their recommendations and experiences.

Make sure that you get quotes before the work begins and be sure you know what you are paying for exactly with the service, so there are no unexpected shortcuts or lower quality repairs. In many marinas they want your service business and rightfully so. In most cases, in-water marinas could not survive without some control over what work goes on in their marina. They need their fair share of repair business as well. Be sure to understand what is allowable in terms of offsite services coming in to work on your boat before you book your dock slip. You should also be aware that some marinas frown on owners doing any kind of extensive work on their own and the boat owner may find themselves in an uncomfortable situation where they are not wanted back or are low on priority list for winter inside storage by example. Don't guess! Ask around. Talk to the marina owner and lay any concerns you have out on the table. Compare standard services like haul out, power washing, blocking and reconcile that with packaged prices.

It's not that the marina is trying to rip you off, they have overhead to pay and want to be in business for the long run so the boat owner has to find the right match in marina services for his/her needs. Some marinas are do-it-yourself orientated and some are full service orientated. You will also note that many marinas do have outside services come in but they have preferred companies they like to partner with. The smart marinas have efficient competitive service shops and sub contract partners that offer quality expert work at fair prices. The bad ones... well word gets around.

On last thing - in good economic times most good marinas are filled to capacity. In bad economic times, when lots of docking is available there will also be more flexibility on service and maintenance work costs. If you have some sort of big boat or yacht overhaul, do it when business is slow, not when service staff can't keep up.

Marine Surveyors
Adam BishopBishop Marine Service Ltd.416-346-5003
John BondJohn Bond Marine Surveyor905-885-6486
R.F. David BuchananBuchanan Marine Appraisal
Services Ltd.
705-323-7183 Cell
Ian G. CampbellCampbell Insurance Surveys Inc.613-542-7464
Douglas R. CowieDouglas Cowie Marine Survey Inc.613-546-0411
Barry GoodyearRa Kon Marine Surveyors
& Appraisers
905-853-8100 Cell
Michel Goudeseune 613-475-5405
Wallace GoukPort Credit Marine Surveys416-526-3845
Garry KelseyKelsey's Marine Surveying613-498-1648
Stephen W. LeakeSWL Consultants613-258-9958
John G. Mackay 519-832-5557
Dan McDonaldMcDonald Marine Surveys Inc.416-670-1160
Peter H. McGuireFastnet Yacht Services Ltd.416-239-5782
Nicole McLoughlinMcLoughlin Marine Survey613-544-4532
613-583-7789 Cell
Craig D. MorleyAquaFacts Yacht Surveyors519-786-3438
C. David SandfordDS Marine Surveys905-449-2176
John Vander PerkVander Perk Marine Service Inc.905-468-2814
David H. Wells 705-652-0180
Ian M. White 613-483-0398
Julian Whittaker 519-583-3602
Murray WillitsMurray's Marine Surveying
& Consulting

Marine Salvage
Boyle Marine: 705-368-2239
Sixth Great Lake
Marine Services:

Captains WorldWideBoatDeliveries.com905-715-8795
North Star Yacht Deliveries: 386-937-9885
Great Lakes Yacht Deliveries: 989-684-7943
Blue Peter Marine Services: 613-476-9631
Glad Tiding Tours: 705-529-8479
Global Delivery Service: 832-541-7569
Exploration Sailing Charters: 519-362-2497
Georgian Bay Vacations: 519-301-3526
Captain Chris Bowman:www.chrisbowmancaptain.ca705-326-7991
Grassroots Sailing School: 866-895-8254

Boat Cosmetics

Most boats these days are constructed with GRP fiberglass. Fiberglass under a microscope is very porous. The outer gel coat which is sprayed into the mold before the fiberglass is layed down, comes out like a shiny hard surface - but it too is relatively soft and porous. Some manufacturers like Hatteras marine paint the gel coat when in production. Formulated boat paints such as Imron, Awlgrip, Interlux (and others) are actually more durable and less porous than gel coat. Even painted surfaces do need waxing, but if your boat like most boats has gel coat as the outer layer, then compounding and waxing is essential to maintaining the integrity of the boats finish. Sun is the great oxidizer of all things. Gel coat as far as oxidization goes breaks down fairly quickly and gets more porous and pitted and losses it's shine. Gel coat is not very thick, so once it gets really oxidized and abused it can be hard to bring it back with waxing. Gel coats vary in quality ... and if you ask any professional polisher they will all tell you which boat manufacturers have good gel coat and which have poor gel coat. In general, cheaper boats more frequently have poorer gel coat finishes. Professional polishers will often quote higher prices for manufacturers that use poor gel coat because it is twice the work to get the expected results.

Compounding and waxing is the process to bring back the shine to your boat and more important it protects the boat from the suns UV rays that cause the ongoing process of oxidization. A shiny waxed boat not only looks better, it reflects sunlight rather than absorbing sun lights UV rays. Boats should be compounded and waxed a minimum of every second season in Canada. In Florida boats should be done at least every season because of the strong sun and longer season. Compounding smooth's the gel coat and removes fissures on a microscopic level so the wax can be applied and polished. If you wait four years to compound and wax you are waiting too long and the time spent at that late time will exceed the time by more than double than if you had of done it in the second year. There is no cost savings to waiting too long. In addition the boats resale goes down and a purchasers survey would likely identify the gel coat oxidization as a problem.

My own belief is that hulls should be compounded and waxed EVERY year. Topsides should be waxed EVERY year and compounded & waxed every second year. In addition to controlling the oxidization it makes your boat easier to wash and removes stains that boat cleaners cannot touch ... because the process is removing a small layer of the gel coat.

As far as wax goes, I like the synthetic waxes which do not tend to yellow over time. My preferences is to wax all of the topsides including the non skid. I have never found that this is a problem as long as you wear boat shoes on your deck when the surface is wet. They also sell wax specifically for non skid. Many polishers will just compound the non skid and don't wax it. My own preference is wax it and protect it.

Ask around your boatyard or marina as to who does good polishing work. Most marinas provide the service either with in house staff or via a preferred external contractor. There are good ones and bad ones - so it pays to check around. Some will even remove all dome fasteners from the fiberglass ... compound & polish and then reset them with fresh silicone.

In the long run it pays to compound and wax your boat as part of your regular maintenance plan.

Epoxy Bottoms Pay Off

An epoxy bottom paint on your boat hull will accomplish two things.

  1. Done properly it will create a permanent barrier coat and will virtually end any possibility of osmosis water penetration into the gel coat. Over time osmosis can cause blistering and all boats can develop this problem given time and the right conditions. High vinyl resin content (vinyl ester) when used by the boat manufacturer will go a long ways in preventing blistering but epoxy bottom is still the way to go if you want ultimate protection and long term satisfaction.

  2. Epoxy bottom finish is the perfect primer for your antifouling bottom paint and will allow far better adherence than bottom paint on gel coat.
epoxy The best time to apply an epoxy bottom barrier is when the boat is new or at least before the boat has been bottom painted. Acid wash the bottom first to make sure any wax or algae contaminants are gone. Then go over the bottom with a 3M pad just to scuff it up enough to get a good bond between epoxy and the fiberglass hull. If you are just looking for bottom paint adherence then two epoxy coats will do. If you want complete barrier coating then four epoxy coats are necessary. Between each coat you must make sure to apply the following coat when the existing coat is still slightly tacky. Use the proper breathing protection to avoid the fumes from the epoxy curing.

There are many epoxy bottom paints but one common epoxy paint that has a good track record and is relatively easy to use is Interlux Interprotect. It comes in a two part kit resin and hardener that is already proportional to mix. Once it is mixed it can be mixed and rolled on just like bottom paint. Note: if your boat has been bottom painted previously, you must sand off ALL the bottom paint and acid wash before applying the epoxy bottom. Once you have the epoxy barrier coats on you can bottom paint with any good anti fouling. An epoxy bottom is a bit of work but well worth it if you plan to keep your boat a long time and you like to sleep at night. It will also make the resale value of your boat stronger and you will have no trouble recovering your investment when it comes time to sell. It may even make the difference between someone choosing your boat to buy over a competitors boat when and if you do decide to sell.

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