The Role of Boat Sealants
The boat repair and maintenance industry has an estimated worth of £721 million in the UK, which makes optimising downtime of vessels in repair and maintenance processes vital to maximising profits and keeping vessels running efficiently. Some of the activities in this sector include:
- Dry-dock services
- In-water repairs
- Spare part supplying
Traditionally, boat repair has been done using mechanical fasteners such as bolts, rivets and joints, which can be both costly and time-consuming. Adhesives have made this task significantly easier over the last few decades, as many lifeboats rely heavily on adhesives to bond their rubbing strip to the hull. Additionally, in various marine applications, adhesives can complement mechanical fasteners by helping to carry the load without the addition of extra fixings; allowing for a more efficient and cost-effective repair.
Sealants, however, are not primarily designed for bonding. Sealants are designed to prevent water from penetrating through gaps and holes within the boat structure. Sealing applications in the boat repair and maintenance sector include:
- Deck caulking
- Panel and sheet sealing
- Direct glazing
- Flame retardation applications
- Electronic protection
In order to optimise the repair and maintenance process, boat sealants must ideally be:
- Waterproof and able to keep out moisture
- UV resistant to not degrade in sunlight
- Compatible with paints
- Able to absorb vibration and impact
Fibreglass Boat Repair
Fibreglass (sometimes known as GRP; Glass Reinforced Plastic) is a common choice of material for boat manufacturers due to its versatile characteristics offering both long term reliability and high-end performance. Fibreglass is a fibre-reinforced plastic that is stronger than most metals, yet cheaper and more flexible than carbon fibre. Boats made up of fibreglass are lightweight, weather-resistant and usually require less maintenance than their aluminium or wooden counterparts due to the durability of the diverse material used.
Fibreglass boats require special adhesives and sealants to be used in repair due to the unique makeup of the material.
Recommended Boat Sealants & Adhesives
Araldite 2015-1 is a two-component epoxy adhesive which is suitable for fibreglass bonding. It is gap-filling, non-sagging up to 10mm thickness, resistant to weathering, and cures at room temperature, giving a strong bond in tough conditions. Additionally, it is highly resistant to vibrations, temperature changes and exposure to water.
Araldite 2031-1 is a black epoxy toughened adhesive that is suitable for fibreglass bonding. It is highly resistant to adverse weather, non-slumping, and ensures minimum bond line thickness of 0.05 mm.
Araldite 2023 is a two-component methacrylate adhesive which is suitable for bonding composites within large structures. It is gap-filling up to 30mm, UV-stable and tolerant to dynamic environments through its flexible bonds. It also has an open time of 30 minutes; allowing time for alterations of applications prior to curing.
Araldite 2033 is a two-component epoxy adhesive that is tailored to flame retarding applications. It is gap-filling, UL94 rated, self-extinguishing and room temperature curing. It particularly provides high strength bonds when used on metals, which makes it a common option for applications requiring a bond of varying materials.
Araldite 2050 & 2051 are ultra-fast curing methacrylate adhesives designed for use in extreme conditions. They provide excellent resistance to ageing, weathering, vibrations and dynamic loads. They can be applied and cured underwater and provide fast curing from 0°C to 40°C. Overall, Araldite 2050 and 2051 are tailored for challenging applications where other adhesives fail.
Arathane CW 5620 / HY 5610 is a polyurethane casting system for the sealing and encapsulation of pressure-sensitive electronic devices on boats. It is UL94 rated and provides good thermal shock resistance.
Araldite CW 2250-1 / Aradur HY 2251 is an encapsulation and casting system that is suitable for devices exposed to thermal shock and vibration. It provides high thermal conductivity, shock resistance, and is UL94 rated.
Tectyl 400-C is a protective compound designed to provide corrosion protection for metal surfaces. It is ideal for overseas storage and transportation services.