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QuickMick 10-23-2009 09:56 AM

Quick Fix for tiny leaks?
So I just bought a used boat and spent the night on it in a storm to asses possible leakage. Four small leaks (the drip every 5 min variety). One on the aft hatch, two on ports, and one in the fiberglass in the cockpit near the entry way. They are by no means much to worry about, but I plan on replacing the hatch/ports and refurbishing the topside so I dont need an elaborate solution, just a quick fix as I do the various projects.
Any suggestions on the best compound for a quick/temporary fix? Just some silicone caulk? thanks much, Quinn

4arch 10-23-2009 11:21 AM

Congratulations on your new boat!

First, avoid using silicone on a boat at almost any cost. It leaves behind a nasty residue that's almost impossible to remove and that future paints or sealants will never stick to. The only way to get rid of it is to sand it away - which you don't really want to be doing to gelcoat if you don't need to. Save that stuff for your bathtub at home.

I don't really know of any quick fixes for your situation that won't ultimately make it harder to do the job right when you're ready. I think if it were me I'd just make sure the water wasn't getting to the headliner, interior woodwork, or upholstery and just live with it until I could fix it. If you're not going to be using your boat much over the winter you can always make a boom tent with a plastic tarp to keep most of the water away.

pedcab 10-23-2009 11:24 AM


Sika Corporation | USA

Or, alternatively, good old duct tape:)


WinterRiver 10-23-2009 12:19 PM

You can squish some butyl tape around where the leaks are. This can be removed very easily later. I did this around a hatch and a winch that were leaking, and they stayed dry until I rebedded them. You'll want to put it around the entire hatch, not just where the leak seems to be, since water will wander a long way from the source.

Whatever you do, don't block the leak from the inside. You want the water to drip, not work its way into the core or other structural components.

On my boat, there once was a leak from one of the light fixtures. Some previous owner just used caulk around the wires to stop the leak from dripping. The only way I discovered this was by removing the headliner, all looked dry when the light was removed, except for the odd location for caulk. Under the headliner was a wood backing that was rotten and had to be replaced. Yuck. It would have been a better idea to find the source of the leak and repair it! All fixed now...

Check out this link from Maine Sail on how to seal deck penetrations: Sealing the deck

CapnRon47 10-23-2009 09:56 PM

you could sprinkle sawdust above the leaks and wait for the water to wash the smallest fibers into the leak; ala Slocum!

DwayneSpeer 10-25-2009 03:07 PM

Toilet bowl ring wax is a good temporary sealant but the butyl tape is probably the best although I've found it not all that easy to remove. It is so sticky that getting it all off is really a chore.

sck5 10-25-2009 09:47 PM

Sometimes vaseline will work on an old port gasket. Not for long. But worth a try if there is nothing else.

knuterikt 10-26-2009 05:42 AM

You can try Capt. Tolley’s Creeping Crack Cure
Capt. Tolley's Creeping Crack Cure

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