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Old 07-09-2018, 16:57   #1
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To Patch Or Not To Patch Aluminum Hull

Asking for a friend (seriously, LOL). My neighbor has purchased a 1962 ChrisCraft 60' Roamer with an aluminum hull which he is reconditioning for use as a AirBnB rental. The issue is that the boat has not been out of the (fresh) water in over 20 years and, as you can imagine, is severely pitted.

He intends to haul it and do a bottom job but I'm wondering if - since the boat will be in fresh water and never leave the slip - if he really needs to fill ALL the pits in the hull?

Also, I bought a fiberglass sailboat in Louisiana and did her bottom there using - at the recommendation of tons of commercial fishermen - TarGard. So, my question is; Would it make sense for my friend to soda-blast his hull and only fill the worst pits, then apply 2-3 coats of TarGard and a coat of cosmetic paint (not ablative)?
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Old 07-09-2018, 18:10   #2
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Re: To Patch Or Not To Patch Aluminum Hull

Quote:
Originally Posted by CapnCrunch View Post
Asking for a friend (seriously, LOL). My neighbor has purchased a 1962 ChrisCraft 60' Roamer with an aluminum hull which he is reconditioning for use as a AirBnB rental. The issue is that the boat has not been out of the (fresh) water in over 20 years and, as you can imagine, is severely pitted.

He intends to haul it and do a bottom job but I'm wondering if - since the boat will be in fresh water and never leave the slip - if he really needs to fill ALL the pits in the hull?

Also, I bought a fiberglass sailboat in Louisiana and did her bottom there using - at the recommendation of tons of commercial fishermen - TarGard. So, my question is; Would it make sense for my friend to soda-blast his hull and only fill the worst pits, then apply 2-3 coats of TarGard and a coat of cosmetic paint (not ablative)?
I might seek the advice of a petroleum tank inspector. This is their meat and potatoes. (I am an API licensed tank inspector). A combination of ultrasound and depth gauge assessment, combined with a basic knowledge of how pitting affects structural strength.

Scattered pitting generally does not affect strength as much as you might think. That said, welded patches may be needed to, and even plate replacement. A coal tar epoxy sealer is a good idea and is frequently done for oil field tanks. But saying anything definitive would be like giving free medical advice, sight unseen.


If you want to know how critical the pits are, you need to know how thick each plate is AND measure the depth. This $19 tool is HUGELY useful for the latter. I've spent many, many hours with one in my hand. Pits often look worse than they actually are, but this will tell you (big article on non-destructive testing coming up in Practical Sailor).

https://amzn.to/2NwblIO


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Old 08-09-2018, 01:39   #3
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Re: To Patch Or Not To Patch Aluminum Hull

Sort of comes down to how thick the plate is and how many and deep the pits are but if the boats still afloat without any leaks the hull is more than likely still sound and one could get by with a coat of coal tar epoxy. However, if he's going to be renting it out for profit I'd be inclined to get a proper survey by a qualified surveyor, there's hoards of rent seeking, ambulance chasing lawyers about and it pays to cover your butt.
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Old 08-09-2018, 10:12   #4
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Re: To Patch Or Not To Patch Aluminum Hull

So, the friend is going to rent it out. Which means, if that's a success, that a batch of landlubbers and unskilled tourists may be sleeping and having drunk parties on the boat every night of the year. (One can hope. But hey, maybe it will be booked by church choirs on tour.)

Now what happens if the pitting turns into a leak and worst case, someone drowns? Eh, yeah, you can't rent it out again until you get the bodies off the boat. Bummer.

I wouldn't call it terribly irrational or unresponsible to have a 20 year old aluminum hull professionally surveyed, and to have some welding done where or if needed. Then apply the right anticorrosion paint, anodes, whatever will keep that boat in prime condition.

But that's just me. A real wastrel when it comes to things like money and boat maintenance.
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