Boat deck leaks might not be as serious as hull damage, but they contribute to a variety of problems, from waterlogged bedding to wood rot and pervasive rust. In many instances, the necessary boat repairs are relatively easy and inexpensive, as long as the source of the issue is identified before extensive water damage occurs. Understanding the common causes of deck leaks will help you avoid creating additional problems with your vessel.
What Causes Deck Leaks?
Poor Hardware Installation
The deck of almost every modern boat has a core made of balsa wood, plywood, or foam, making the surface strong enough to support passengers and equipment without adding excess weight. While this construction technique is effective, it also renders the deck vulnerable to water penetration, causing the core material to rot.
Water often enters the deck through gaps and cracks caused by poorly designed, badly manufactured, or incorrectly installed hardware. Unfortunately, design flaws are often difficult to detect until the damage has already occurred.
Owner’s Boat Modifications
Many owners attempt to modify their boats by installing or removing hardware, using screws that penetrate deck’s core. Even if you caulk the fastener before application, the slightest shift in the fiberglass hull will cause the seal to move as well, leading to potentially serious leaks and costly boat repairs.
Removing hardware incorrectly can be just as destructive, leaving holes in the deck and allowing water to saturate the material. Many boat owners attempt to use putty or a similar sealant to cover the gaps between the deck and the hull, but this is usually ineffective due to the way fiberglass expands and contracts in response to temperature changes. If you plan to install or remove hardware, it’s best to consult a boat repair professional first.
If a leaky deck is standing between you and your next aquatic adventure, let a team of experts handle the repair work. Since 1974, boat owners in Lahaina, HI, have relied on Central Pacific Marine to provide high-quality parts, extensive expertise, and long-lasting boat repairs. Visit their website or call (808) 661-3349 to learn more about their services.