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  1. #1
    Petty Officer 3rd Class
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    Default Chips, bubbles in gelcoat

    i need advice. i looked at a '76 wellcraft airslot and i was turned off because it has alot of blisters in the gel coat and in some spots 1/4" chips where it just flaked off. can it absorb water through this?

    what causes this? the boat is in otherwise great condition and it is dirt cheap but i am concerned that due to the blisters and cracks that it may have absorbed water. i can easily repaint it but hull strength is most important. the boat had been moored at one point as well. thanks.

  2. #2
    Supreme Mariner
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    Default Re: Chips, bubbles in gelcoat

    If the blisters are below the waterline, the absortion of water caused them, and they need to be fixed. There is lots of advice on how to fix, however, it is serious effort.

  3. #3
    Vice Admiral Yacht Dr.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Chips, bubbles in gelcoat

    There could be a few different reasons for what your describing..

    Is this on the bottom ? .. at the waterline ? ..

    Have some pics to show .

    YD.

  4. #4
    Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Chips, bubbles in gelcoat

    Gel coat is not impervious to water. The blisters you see could be osmotic blistering. A few are simply the beginning stages of more to follow. Those should be repaired with efforts taken to avoid storing the boat in the water. Also, moisture, if any, can much more readily leech from inside your hull outward creating the same type of blisters. It is easy to find raw glass and voids which act as capillaries and channel water every where. If there is any moisture in your FRP behind the gel coat, it can also freeze compounding problems. We have also seen stringer systems broken loose inside hulls caused by frozen water.

  5. #5
    Commander redfury's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chips, bubbles in gelcoat

    I'm working out the blisters in my hull currently, you can see them on the last couple of pages in my restoration thread ( link below )

  6. #6
    Chief Petty Officer stubbsboogie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chips, bubbles in gelcoat

    Sounds like it is osmotic blistering.Over time gelcoat can absorb water in between it and the glass. They are a nightmare to fix.

    We had major blistering on our previous Glastron. It was our first boat and had been kept in the water for 7 or 8 years, which is what caused the blistering. I looked into fixing them and was told by my local boat DR. that I did not need to worry about them. That as long as it was not stored in the water it would be fine. Some may rupture and those need to be filled with marine tex. But ortherwise they are more cosmetic and not normally structural, they can be but not normally.

    google hull blisters and you will get a ton of info.

    btw that Glastron I was telling you about I sold to my inlaws and they use it everyweekend. That has been a couple of years ago now.
    May you live long and lucky

    1991 Sea Nymph
    25 Yamaha

    2006 Rinker Captiva 192
    Mercruiser 4.3 Alpha One Gen II
    TU TU TANGO TU

  7. #7
    Commander redfury's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chips, bubbles in gelcoat

    as long as they aren't much bigger than a dime at the biggest, I wouldn't worry about them too much unless you are more concerned with resale and cosmetics.

    I'm tackling mine for cosmetic reasons. I knew they were there when I bought the boat and paused for a moment to consider whether I wanted to buy it or not. The answer should be obvious.

  8. #8
    Chief Petty Officer JBF 1962's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chips, bubbles in gelcoat

    I've got a few in a couple of spots, but they are really small, no where near the size of a dime, but they should probably be addressed before they grow...
    1985 Thundercraft Magnum Express
    260 hp MerCruiser

  9. #9
    Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Chips, bubbles in gelcoat

    Had a bunch on the bottom of my bought new boat after a couple of years. It sat in the water from May to Oct. I was told the cold water makes it worse. The boat is docked in my garage now and has no more blisters. When done using it, it comes out. Besides, the boat launch is 1/8 mile away.
    1986 Century Riviera 6 Meter 350/260 Alpha 1

  10. #10
    Supreme Mariner
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    Default Re: Chips, bubbles in gelcoat

    Supposedly boat builders have addressed the blister issue and resoved it in the newer boats. Some use vinylester gelcoat, since it is more water resistent than poly gelcoat.

    The answer for us older boat owners, or those unsure what kind of gelcoat we have is to use an epoxy barrior coat on the hull under the bottom paint.

  11. #11
    Chief Petty Officer JBF 1962's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chips, bubbles in gelcoat

    Is there a particular type of epoxy barrier coat to use, or should I just go to my local marine supply store and see what they have?
    1985 Thundercraft Magnum Express
    260 hp MerCruiser

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