If you’ve got an aging or damaged boat that has sentimental value, you might be ready to tackle a restoration. Here are 11 tips to keep in mind.
1. Take an inventory of your tools, and then roll up your sleeves and start. It’s that simple.
2. Clean the boat from stem to stern so you can see exactly what you have to work with.
3. Remove all the water, leaves and debris from the boat. Organic material is your enemy.
4. Identify what’s broken. Seat bases? Fiberglass components? The steering system?
5. Remove the old fuel from the fuel tank, as well as the old oil from the engine and gear case.
6. Remove the old belts and hoses on the engine and replace them with new ones.
7. Check the through-hull fittings to make sure they are still properly sealed. Also check the seacocks to make sure they are in working order. Replace any broken ones.
8. Look for cracking and crazing in the fiberglass around fixtures and fittings, such as cleats. Make sure load-bearing fixtures have a proper backing plate.
9. Old boats may have lots of rotting wood. Check the deck floor, seat bases and especially the transom for sagging, rot or decay. Strip old wood out of the boat and replace with marine-grade plywood or a modern cored composite.
10. Go to YouTube and find at least three step-by-step DIY videos that say the same thing. These guys might not be “experts,” but they at least have experience.
11. Have a specific job in mind? Look up instructions in the DIY section at boatingmag.com/how-to/diy-projects.