If you are looking for a highly reputable and trusted fiberglass boat repair shop located in Charleston SC, then look no further. Our skilled craftsmen offer a wide range of fiberglass boat repair capabilities that are suited to handle everything from the simplest repair to major structural fiberglass repairs. Most of our repairs can be handled by our mobile service where we are able to service your boat where it is currently located which provides a great deal of convenience to our customers. This includes if your boat is on a trailer, at a drystack, in a marina or in a boatyard. We are able to go mobile anywhere from Wilmington, NC to Jacksonville, FL.
For the significant damage that is estimated to take beyond a week or more to repair, we have a full service boat repair shop where we can repair your vessel. We handle the smallest fiberglass jobs up to the major structural repair jobs as well as custom fiberglass fabrication. Our process is simple, just give us a call at 843-940-1008 or text us a few pictures of the damage and we will respond and give you a ballpark estimate of the costs associated with the repair. If you choose to schedule the service, we will arrange the repair and perform an inspection prior to the repair, ensure that the estimate is accurate and partner with you before starting any work.
Here is a summary of what most fiberglass boats looks like and what it takes to repair them. While there are a plethora of boat builders and boat designs, the vast majority of those fiberglass boats constructed on the southeast coast are composed of the same materials and application techniques. The design of the boats may differ and some boat manufacturers may add a little more or a little less of a product but all are generally similar in their construction. Let’s begin by giving you an elementary design of most boats. The structural body of most fiberglass boats is generally built on the interior hull of the boat which is composed of stringers and bulkheads. Think of these like the framing of a house. Now, in your boat this frame is positioned underneath the floor stretching the length of the boat. Your stringer system stretches horizontally with the length of your boat from the rear (aft) of your boat to the front (bow). The bulkheads of your boat stretch laterally from left (port) to right (starboard). The floor is installed over the stringer and bulkheads. A boat floor is typically comprised of a core material that is sandwhiched by both a top and bottom layer of fiberglass. There are or should be multiple layers of fiberglass sandwhiching that core material on both sides. However, typically the older the boat (pre early 2000’s) or the less reputable the company that produced the boat, you may not have multiple layers or fiberglass installed underneath your boat. Likewise, you may not have the best core material based on the above principles. Core material can be anything from plywood, marine grade plywood, balsa wood, Divinycell foam core, honeycomb core, Coosa, etc. There are different levels of quality, stiffness, water absorption, etc. associated with each of these core materials and typically you won’t find this information listed on your boats brochure or on the website. It is also doubtful to find a salesman who will be knowledgeable about your boat’s build materials. In the end, you have to realize that the company that built your boat is most likely focused on cutting costs and increasing profit like any business. It’s imperative that you find a reputable boat manufacturer that is more concerned with the quality of materials and the build process than they are about shaving profit margins. Legendary marine surveyor David Pascoe summarizes that the boat building industry is a low capital investment and a long term profit investment, therefore over 80% of all boat builders go out of business in less than 5 years. It’s an easy game to get into but a difficult one to sustain profitability. Why is that important? Because if you purchase a boat new or second hand, it is important to know that they are going to be around to honor any warranty claims if such arise.
Back to the boat construction, essentially your boat is 3 separate pieces that are connected together. You have the bottom half of your boat (hull) that is a shell, you have the top half of your boat (top cap) which is a shell, where both are connected together with the “framing” we spoke about earlier being located in between those two pieces to give your boat its structural integrity.
The floor of your boat is connected to the top cap of your boat which is everything minus your console, T-Top, upholstery, etc. which is added onto your boat after the top cap has been affixed. The exterior hull of your boat is a critical factor and which is most likely to sustain fiberglass damage from either an impact from an object (dock, rock, pylon, trailer, street, etc.) or another boat. Now, depending on the year and builder of your boat this will give you an idea if you have a solid fiberglass hull or a cored hull which are argued by most builders to be lighter and stronger. However, as we have already discussed not all cores are created equal and more importantly how well has your outer fiberglass layer bonded to that said core material. There have been significant issues with cored hulls throughout the years resulting in recalls and sunken boats due to lack of adhesion which turns to delamination and thus the potential sinking of vessels. So, please do some research in the boat you are attempting to purchase. However, if you are need of a repair, we use top of the line quality materials and typically add a stronger quality fiberglass laminant than the builder used in the original manufacturing process.
Lastly, your entire boat including the hull, stringer system, floor and everything fiberglass on your boat is bonded together with a resin. Most boat builders use a polyester resin. They are cheaper and only slightly weaker than their competitors; vinylester resins and epoxy resins. Polyester resins allow a little more flex than vinylester and epoxy. Now while you may think you are getting the raw end of the deal from the boat builders, know that there are plenty of polyester resin boats that can withstand near identical punishment compared to their counterparts. The better question is what type of fiberglass was used, how much was used, how was it applied in layering strength, etc. These are questions you are seldomly going to ask or much less find the real answers to, so in short it is best to go with a reputable builder who has built trust with their current and past customers over the course of years.
In regards to fiberglass boat repair, when we are finished with your repair it is very common for our repair area to be significantly stronger than the remainder of your hull. This is due to the quality of materials we use and the skill at which they are applied to make your vessel a safer and stronger boat for you and your family.
Just as is true with many other products or services, you get what you pay for. Fiberglass boat repair can be costly. However, don’t sacrifice the integrity of your boat or the safety of your family and yourself to save a few hundred dollars. Whether you choose a trusted company like us or someone else make sure you get someone who is reputable who can talk you through the repair process.
All of our fiberglass boat repairs are handled with the same integrity as if it were our own boat, so whether you are selling or keeping your boat for years, if our name is on it then it is built to last. We move with a sense of urgency to bring each boat repair to it’s successful completion but we do not rush to make mistakes either. And while some boat repairs may be similar in nature, they are handled differently just the same as a surgeon performs the same operation on many different people. The surgeon must go about it differently as each person is complex requiring a different approach to accomplish the same surgery. Top surgeons are sought after for their expertise, success rate and their passion. While we don’t fancy ourselves as surgeons, we are professional craftsmen with a sincere passion for our business who does honest work.
Total Boat Repair is fully licensed and insured as well as trusted by The Better Business Bureau. Please check out our reviews and give us a call at 843-940-1008.