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A leaking aluminum boat

Question:
I have an old aluminum boat (Sears 12') which leaks a bit and I wonder if somebody could help me with ideas for sealing it. I got it practically for free, it isn't in a terrific shape, and I am not going to invest a lot of time/money into fighting the problem. I just want to know if there is something reasonably simple that I can do before scrapping the boat.

The leak occurs around rivets in the front area, but the actual place is difficult to locate due to the transversal moulding fastened by the same rivets and covering the relevant fragment. By the same token, the leak seems difficult to seal as the moulding blocks the access to the sheets around the suspect rivets. My naive attempts to fix the problem by covering the moulding with various brands of sealants, combined with duct tape, etc., have failed.

I have heard a (not-so-authoritative) opinion that aluminum boats are generally very difficult to seal, e.g., compared to fiberglass boats. I would be interested in hearing a confirmation of this statement, as my next try is going to be a second-hand fiberglass boat. If it happens to leak, will it be easier to seal?


Answer:
You need to locate the source of the leak. It may (probably) be one or more rivets -- this is fairly common. You can smear all sorts of things on the boat and you might get lucky. If you really want to make a permanent repair, you will have to replace the leaking rivet(s) with the next larger size. It's not expensive, it's not difficult, but it is tedious.


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