Having a boat is a significant investment, but that doesn’t mean that you need to buy brand new. In fact, some enthusiasts have taken on the daunting task of bringing life back to boats that have already undergone the test of time.
While it is true that restoring a used boat—also known as “refitting”— isn’t easy, it is not impossible. What you need to remember is that there are proper ways of accomplishing this task.
Lucky for you, we have a list of 7 things you need to do to refit an old boat to successfully bring it back to its former glory:
1. Make sure you have enough money.
You may have undertaken boat restoration to save some bucks on your boating life, but the fact remains that even restoration costs a lot of money.
Because of this, it is imperative that you estimate the costs before you even decide to refit a used vessel.
This way, you can prevent the refitting job from becoming something that can cost more than you can afford.
2. Analyze the boat’s condition.
Another major factor that will make or break your refitting journey is the basic soundness of the boat.
Like in restoring an old house or car, you should choose a watercraft that won’t require too much work in its structural elements.
3. Have the right tools, skill, and time.
Refitting old boats takes commitment as well as the right tools and skill to accomplish the task.
It also takes something called “sweat equity,” or the capability to provide approximately 25 percent of manual labor.
4. Clean the boat and asses potential work.
Before doing anything major, make sure that the boat is cleaned, inside and out.
Once you do this, you would also be able to see every small detail that may need extra work, so it is best to do this task before anything else.
5. Empty the fuel tank.
Refitting also requires emptying the fuel tank, engine, and gear case.
6. Replace everything that is worn out.
Fittings and fixtures— from the through-hull fittings and cleats to the old belts and hoses— should be replaced when they are already worn out. Even fiberglass components should also be checked and changed if necessary.
7. Check for rotting wood.
Wood is organic, so it is susceptible to rot. Make sure to check for potential decomposition in the seat bases and deck floor.
Once you find some issues, you should be able to deal with the problem by replacing the old wood with marine-grade plywood.