How to Restore a Small Aluminum Fishing Boat

How to Restore a Small Aluminum Fishing Boat
A lot of the small boats used for fishing are made of aluminum, because the metal is lightweight, durable, and resistant to corrosion. However, aluminum fishing boats are not impervious to wear and tear, and they do require periodic maintenance. Common issues are fixing leaks and returning the boat to a neat, tidy appearance.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Fixing Leaks

Things You’ll Need:
  • Saw horses
  • Bucket
  • Hammer
  • Brick
  • Tarp
  • Power sander
  • Paintbrushes
  • Metal primer
  • Water-resistant metal paint or enamel
Step 1
Pick up the boat and put it on a set of saw horses keel-side down. You will probably need at least one helper to get the boat up off the ground. You should not drag the boat to your workspace, since this might damage the hull. Also, saw horses will give the boat some useful elevation for your work. You need at least two saw horses, but more may be necessary to stabilize a larger boat.
Step 2
Pour a bucket of water into the boat, and go around the outside looking for leaky rivets.
Step 3
Tighten the rivets. Get your helper to stand on the outside of the boat, with a brick or something similar placed hard against the leaky rivet. Go around the other side, and hit the rivet with a hammer. Repeat for all leaky rivets.
Step 4
Pour a bucket of water in the boat again, to check how well your tightening job worked. You may need to go back and hammer the rivets some more.

Refinishing the Hull

Step 1
Set up your saw horses, with a tarp underneath it to catch paint if you feel that is necessary. Place the boat atop the saw horses keel-side up.
Step 2
Clean any debris and dirt off the hull with a bucket of soapy water, and then rinse with a hose.
Step 3
Use a power sander to remove the old paint or scratches from the hull, if necessary. A mid-range sandpaper grit is best, since it won't scratch the aluminum if you are careful, but also won't take as long as a fine-grit sandpaper.
Step 4
Apply a layer of metal primer to the boat hull. Use paint brushes, not rollers. Allow this to dry before continuing, as directed by the manufacturer on the primer's label.
Step 5
Coat the boat hull with a layer of water-resistant metal paint/enamel. Allow this to dry as directed by the manufacturer on the label, and then apply at least one more layer of paint/enamel to the hull.

Tips & Warnings

Since each stage of priming and painting will require several hours of drying in between, it might be best to stage it so that you do one coat in the morning, and a second in the evening. That allows to you get two layers (three if you have the lighting and return later that night) down per day.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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