Article reposted with permission from News From The Bow
Editor’s Note: John Conlon has more than 20 years of experience in the boating service industry. He is parts manager at Lockwood Boat Works, Inc. in South Amboy New Jersey. In his first installment of “From the Parts Department” John discusses products used to waterproof your boat. His comments are applicable as soon as the snow melts, before launch day. Checking for water leaks and correcting them early will improve the quality and safety of your boating season. In upcoming articles John will update us on fuel treatments, engine commissioning and Econea (possibly the future of anti-fouling technology).
From the Parts Department
By John Conlon
Have you had enough of winter yet? It’s time to think spring and get your priorities in order.
Having every part and product move through his department gives John a unique perspective within the marine industry.
Number one- Boating!! Realistically because of the economy and employment situations for some of us it’s not number one but it could and should be up there on our list. We all need a diversion from our normal routine and boating is a perfect escape.
Early spring is the right time to check out and prep your vessel for the coming season. Inspect your boat inside and out as soon as you can get aboard. Look carefully for any leaks into the boat’s interior. In many cases new leaks can be easily repaired with an inexpensive product available at you local boatyard. A few of my favorites are mentioned below.
Marine Tex epoxy putty comes in white and gray (gray being more resistant to heat). It can be used for filling holes and small cracks, and normally cures fully in 24 to 48 hours.
3M Premium Filler or High Strength Filler (the same product but with strands of fiberglass added for added strength) can fill gaps and holes, and cures in 30 minutes. It comes in three sizes.
VC Watertite is an underwater fairing compound that cures in four hours.
Splash Zone is a fairly new product. It comes in three sizes, and can be used to seal wet or dry surfaces. It cures in 8 hours, even in water.
Epoxy Sticks (made by Fiberglass Evercoat) come in two versions; one strictly to repair aluminum and the other for all other surfaces. It’s easy to use. Just pull off what you need, mix it in your hand, and apply.
All of the above products can be used above or below the waterline. Interlux and Pettit each make a surfacing putty, however these can only be used on dry surfaces above the waterline.
Please make sure you prep all surfaces properly. 90% of the success of your job is contingent on proper prep work. Temperature is also key. “Surface Temp” is normally what is referred to when temperature is discussed. Remember too that the term “metals” normally doesn’t include Aluminum. Aluminum generally requires a specific prep procedure. Aluminum releases oil when abraded and this needs to be removed before proceeding.
Pot life (the time between mixing and drying) of your repair product is also important, so be sure to mix only what you can use. Cure time requirements are essential. Pay attention; your lack of planning will not make the product perform quicker.
The general rule of thumb when caulking is that silicone should only be used above the waterline. However, Life Caulk and 3M’s 4200, 4000 and 5200 products can be used above or below the waterline. Remember too that any polysulfide product might react to plastics, so pay attention to what you’re bedding or filling.
Inspect your boat, plan your jobs, get the right product(s) to meet your needs and have fun. If you have any questions or need recommendations feel free to contact me. THINK BOATING!!!!
Editors Comment: You can reach John directly with questions or comments at (732) 721-1605, or email him
More great articles like this can be found on News From The Bow.