6 easy tips for restoring an old boat

It’s no secret that travel restrictions in Australia have led to an increase in people buying boats and spending time on the water. Perhaps this is why we’re also seeing more Aussies take on boating projects in their spare time, like restoring older boats.


If you’re looking to restore a boat that is aging, or even damaged, we’ve blogged six tips for making the process easier. If you have your own tip for restoring an older boat, hit us up on our Facebook page with your wisdom!


  1. Clean her up

Before you know what you’re dealing with, you’ll need to clean your boat from stem to stern. Take her out of the water and remove any organic material, like leaves, water and debris that have made their home onboard. Then, take a look to see what needs to be repaired or restored. Check the state of the fibreglass components, the steering system, the seat bases and any other parts onboard. Make a list of what needs work as you go.


  1. Get the right tools

Now you know what needs to be done to your boat, you’ll need the right tools for the job. So, take a moment to go over what you already have, and head to your local boating store to get the rest. If you’re not sure what you need, ask at the store, or do some research online. If you have friends with this kind of knowledge, ask them for advice. Once you have what you need, it’s time to get to work.


  1. Remove old fuel and oil

If your boat is older, you’ll need to remove old fuel from the tank, and old oil sitting in the engine and gear case. It’s also a good idea to replace old engine belts and hoses, so they’re in working condition. Over time, fuel starts to degrade, especially in warm weather. Degraded fuel can also cause a clog in the fuel system, which can be expensive to fix.


  1. Check seals and fibreglass

Take a look over your through-hull fittings. Check they are sealed properly, and while you’re at it, make sure the seacocks are working correctly too. If you see any broken seals or seacocks, replace them. Fibreglass is also important to check over. Watch out for cracking around fixtures or fittings. And check that any load-bearing fixtures are supported by a good backing plate.


  1. Look for rotting wood

Rotting wood is common in older boats, so it’s important to look for sagging, rotting or decaying wood. Check over the deck floor, timber seat bases and the transom, which can be a trouble spot for older boats. If you find rot, strip out the old wood and use marine-grade plywood (or a cored composite) to replace it.


  1. Get help

YouTube is a great place to find DIY boating restoration advice. Just make sure you find reputable people with a positive track record. It’s worth checking out three or so videos to make sure there is a consensus on how to approach a specific job. If in doubt, speak with someone who specialises in boat restorations for advice, or get them to do the trickier parts of the restoration for you.


white wooden boat