Avoiding Big Yacht Repair Costs

Don’t Turn a Small Hole In Your Boat Into a Big Hole In Your Pocket!

If you’re a boat owner or are thinking of owning a boat in the future, there are a few things you should know. As everything else in life, when something is used multiple times or exposed to the sun, water or any harsh environment, there’s always a risk of something breaking, cracking or getting damaged. When something like this happens, it’s best to fix it sooner rather than later so this doesn’t become a headache later on.


Over time, the paint and gelcoat of your boat take a beating and start to deteriorate. And that’s because the coat of your boat is like the human skin: It can crack, peel, blister, change color, wrinkle or distort over time. In many cases, some of these symptoms can lead to a deeper issue which will cause you a big hole in your pocket. So, it’s always good to inspect the vessel thoroughly on a regular basis. Let’s take a look at some visual warning signs that could be signaling a problem before it gets worse.


  Star Cracks


What are they? They are cracks that radiate from a single point.

Where do they start? Usually from the point of impact, above or below the waterline.

Why do they happen? Local/ sharp impacts.

Is it severe? It’s low-priority but should be assessed and taken care of.


Star-shaped cracks usually happen when heavyweight is dropped into the cockpit or by hitting a small piece of flotsam. In most cases, star cracks won’t grow and shouldn’t raise that much concern, but if it’s a large crack (more than a couple of inches in length) you should immediately assess this issue because it may contribute to a structural damage. A rule of thumb to live by is “The larger the crack, the more concern you should have.”


Leakage/Wet Core 


What are they? They are water-soaked cores between the fiberglass layers.

Where do they start? They usually start showing in the hull, topsides, or the deck.

Why do they happen? By improper build or an improper accessory installation.

Is it severe? Very high-priority and should be assessed as soon as possible.


This type of problem is common on light, faster boats. The core materials used to build these types of boats are cork, balsa, PVC, or urethane foam and other various honeycomb materials.


A lot of these problems occur when there’s bad isolation of the core at through-hull fittings and port-lights; screws penetrating from the interior installation, and fasteners that are not properly sealed. Most repair companies can detect these type of issues by using a moisture meter.


You can see this type of distortion by the flatness of the gel coat finish and/or its rippled appearance. A dark color can also contribute to the distortion. Discoloration coming from fittings is another sign that water absorption has occurred. The wet core may also freeze, resulting in cracking caused by venting or expansion.


Cracking Due to Bad Construction


What are they? Separation of parts; cracks through the hull shell.

Where do they start? Stringer. Bulkhead, transom attachment.

Why do they happen? Poor workmanship or quality control.

Is it severe? Extremely high-priority and should be assessed immediately.


In order to lower the risks of losing a lot of money in repairs, is always good to take some time and inspect your vessel on a regular basis. If you see a problem that could turn into a big deal, do not let it just hang – Contact Chi Yacht Refinishing!