Holes and Small Cracks in bottom of hull


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Oct 23, 2020
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Linwood NJ
Hello all!

Today when removing the transom wood to replace it on my 15’ StarCraft, I found a soft corroded spot in the aluminum which is now an approximately 1” hole just above the waterline.
I flipped the boat upside down to power wash it and found numerous stainless bolts with some type of epoxy over them where there should be rivets. In these spots, there are several stress cracks in the bottom of the hull which are seemingly being caused by the bolts putting too much pressure on the aluminum.
I have been using this boat for two seasons now and surprisingly there is only one tiny
leak which actually is not where these bolts/epoxy are. My plan for this season was to just do some gluvit to hopefully stop that tiny leak. I know I should remove the bolts and re-rivet those spots, but I’m hesitant to do that for several reasons - I want to use the boat next week, don’t have any equipment to do it, and I’m concerned the stress of redoing rivets near the stress cracks will make them worse, turning this into a bigger project.
Any recommendations for a cheap and simple fix? If it holds up for a couple years I’ll be happy - hopefully there’s a new boat in my future by then.
The "Goop" company makes a coating for aluminum boats that is an epoxy but has fiber in it.. Designed to fill small holes and cracks, you might look into that. As far as the bigger holes, you will have some patching to do.. You might consider getting a piece of aluminum at least .060 thick to cover the whole transom on the outside with sealer in between. Rivets or SS screws and nuts to hold it together. I am sure others will chime in with some other ideas. Is the wood inside solid ??

The hole collapsed when I removed the old transom wood, which was pretty rotted. All the other holes are screw holes which will be covered when I put the new transom in. I’m thinking maybe after the new transom wood goes in I can fill that gap in the aluminum with some type of epoxy as a filler to keep spray and water out.
I think your worst problem is getting the surface ready to accept repairs. I'd get one of those water/sand blasters

Get some play sand from Home Depot and get to work to clean off all the paint and grime.
Place some duct tape on the inside of the boat over obvious holes, then apply some fiberglass drywall tape over the outside of the holes.
It looks like Lowes sell a self adhesive tape in 3 feet wide, so you could strengthen the entire hull with this -
https://mud-skipper.com/hull-coatings.htmlMix up a small amount of this and apply over those holed areas and allow to set up. Then coat the entire area. The duct tape will stop the resin from falling through. Those stress cracks look as if they terminate where the bolt holes are, so I wouldn't worry too much about them. If you find cracks that don't terminate at a hole, then drill a small hole to stop it spreading. I hope this helps.
? are you interested in FIXING or FISHING ....
congrats .. I loved my Starcraft... it too was a salt water boat, and it too was unloved (when I got it 3rd or 4th hand)...
It was not as bad as yours looks, and i let it go.. it's now a planter on some guys lawn in Waretown..
looking at the cost of materials, then the time.. naww spend your cash driving around your neighborhood and find a upside down unloved boat
last yr the 3rd 12ft alum boat I bought (LAST YEAR) made the cut and I kept.., I make lots of mistakes, but live with NONE
good luck bro
I know it's been a little while since the original post, I'm curious what you did wind up doing/how results were if you did fix it.

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