Repairing Aluminum Metal Boat Leaks

       By: Matthew Burton-Clay
Posted: 2010-08-14 05:21:27
Repairing Aluminum Metal Boat LeaksAluminum is the material used to make some of the finest yatches in the world. There are many commercial crafts that are below 100 feet in operation today made from aluminum. Very high speed ships that measure more than 300 feet in length are also made from light weight aluminum.Aluminum boats do not have a core that delaminates or rots; they do not blister like fibreglass voids and face no skin-to-core bonds. As most of the hull-to-deck joints are welded in a firm manner, you cannot find any fasteners or rivets that are at a risk of getting loose and causing a leakage. Aluminum vessels are single piece vessels that are versatile, strong and durable.Even if there is a dent on the deck or hull, you can use a carbide saw to cut the dented surface and weld in another patch without worrying about matching the gel coat or worrying about core compression or scarf ratios. With sufficient backing, it is even possible to weld towing bits, chocks, cleats and pulpits to the deck.These are factors that make aluminum metal boats very popular today. Fishermen prefer metal aluminum boats due to its durability, flexibility and ease of maintenance. These boats can be pulled out of water using a boat trailer, can be carried on a pickup truck and can also be keeled out of lakes. As you browse around the market, you can find a variety of different shapes and sizes of aluminum metal boats. You can both purchase a pre-painted boat or an unpainted one and paint the color of your choice.Apart from the required regular inspection and maintenance, the only time aluminum boats will require repair is if it develops a leak. Just like a leak on the roof of a house, it may sometimes be difficult finding the source of leakage in a metal boat.Rather than punctures due to sharp objects and rocks, aluminum boats may develop leakage more at the rivets. This could be caused by impacts with rocks and other submerged articles and rough boat handling.It is very easy to patch rivet leaks. If you are a novice, you can just take your boat to a aluminum welding shop and get a durable repair done. Gash leaks less than one inch in length can also be filled with other home based methods.To first identify the source of leakage, dry the interior of the boat and place the boat on the water. Be sure to place many people around the boat at the stern, mid ship and at the bow to detect water coming in. Keep markers handy to mark the area as soon as leakage is detected. If leakage is under a seat, mark the seat with a note. Similarly, if the leakage is at the seam rather than on a rivet, note and bracket the area.It is recommended to fix the leak on the outer side of the hull as the patch will be pressed against by water pressure. If possible you can fix both the inside and outside of the hull with a patch. For a seam leakage however, especially if hidden below the keel, you have no alternative but to patch it from the inside.There are many books and online websites offering valuable information on repairing aluminum hulls. Most of them recommend using aluminum brazing rods used with a propane torch, applying pain on the bed liner and using weld epoxy. One of the most widely used leak repair compound is the sealant. Application of sealant is similar to caulking where the rivet and aluminum surface must first be cleaned prior to application. The patch thus formed is very durable and lasts for ages.Leakage can also be fixed using an aluminum patch and propane torch. The surface must be cleaned well before using the propane torch and applying the patch. In case the surface to be repaired is painted, then you must first remove the paint using a wire brush or sandpaper. The area must then be heated until it is possible to wipe on the solid sealant stick. This method can effectively fix cracks, leaking rivets and small holes.If there is a leak in your metal boat, it becomes a nuisance and takes away the pleasure of fishing and boating. You can fix these leaks using easy sealing options available. When you apply these sealants in a proper manner, they provide patches that are durable and long lasting.Matthew is a Boat Building & Boat Repairing expert. For more great tips on steel boat building, visit
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