Wooden boats are a popular option due to their beauty and affordability. However, just as with any other type of boat, there are some important care and maintenance tasks that you'll need to follow with a wooden boat in order to avoid leaks and other types of damage. If you're new to owning and caring for a wooden boat, there are a few specific yet common mistakes you'll want to avoid.
Using the Wrong Fasteners for Repairs
Over time, it will probably become necessary to replace old and damaged pieces of wood with new ones. When you do this, however, it's important to use the right size and type of fastener. Otherwise, you could end up doing more damage to the boat itself. Specifically, using a too-large screw or fastener to secure a new piece of wood can cause the wood to split, which will inevitably lead to a boat leak over time. Always check the existing screw size and drill pilot holes to ensure the right fastener fit.
Painting or Sealing a Dry Boat
While you obviously shouldn't apply paint or varnish to a wet boat, it's also important to avoid painting or sealing your boat when it's overly dry. If you do, then the process of sanding down the boat in preparation for painting/sealing will cause dust and debris particles to get caught in between the boat's seams. When the boat is placed back in the water, this debris will naturally become dislodged, which will cause cracking at the seams.
Ideally, you should make sure a wooden boat has a little bit of swell and moisture left prior to staining or painting it.
Applying Too Much Caulk to the Hull
Caulking is one of the most important care and maintenance tasks you'll want to keep up with on a wooden boat. However, it is possible to overdo it and actually cause more damage. Specifically, wooden boat owners should be careful to remove any existing caulking before applying more. Otherwise, all you'll be doing is increasing the lateral load on your boat without actually providing the boat with any added protection.
Caring for a wooden boat and providing boat repair does take a little bit more time and effort than caring for a fiberglass or other material boat, but many boaters find that the extra effort is worth it. Just be sure to avoid these common care and maintenance mistakes along the way.