Fiberglass Canoe Repair Assistance

I recently purchased a used fiberglass canoe and there are a few issues that I need to address before it will be ready to paddle. I have no idea what kind of canoe it is, there is no numbers or writing of any sort on it. All I know is that its 14’ fiberglass., and its been out of the water for quite some time. My intended use for this canoe will be to cruise around some small lakes, nothing serious.

The first issue is there are some indentations where the hull and the buoyancy chamber meet. I have included some pictures below. I am wondering if this is the result of the thwart being incorrectly sized? It looks as though the thwart was a DIY in the past, so I do intend on replacing it. Any ideas on how to correct these dents?

The second issue is that the majority of the patches required are in the buoyancy chamber, so I think that my only option to repair is from the outside. Is this correct?

My third issue is that there is a significant amount of spider cracking in the paint throughout the canoe. I roughed up the outside, should I just paint over this or will it be an issue later on?

I appreciate everyone’s help with this.



Are you sure the spider cracks are in the “paint” and not in the gel coat? If it has been out of the water and in the sun for some time, it could be rather brittle. A new gel coat would be in order but first, make those fiberglas repairs, sand well, and then spray on the gel coat. You get to choose the color!

Hey Nolver,

First, that picture of the dent in the fiberglass looks pretty bad. If checking to see if removing the thwart doesn’t work, (which I doubt) it wouldn’t be that big of a job to angle grind the dent out and then out a few layers of fiberglass there.

Second, yes I would say that you have to patch from only the outside. I have recently had to patch a hole in a bouancy tank, I had no issue patching it from the outside.

Third, spider cracks will re-appear if they are just painted over. As wildlifecarver2 says, sand it all down and paint your canoe how you want it. I would suggest looking up how to roll and tip, works quite well!

I am in no way an expert at this so take my advice as you will. I have just fixed up a couple canoes and have a bit of experience.

Hard to tell from the one photo, but that boat looks pretty old. The molded in keel is not a good sign. Quality boats will be well marked. The faded gelcoat suggests this boat has been in the sun a lot which can compromise the fiberglass. What does the inside of the boat look like? Is the surface rough with spotted paint.? It may be built with a chopper gun instead of rolled out layers of fiberglass. It may have been built with polyester resin instead of epoxy.

A good boat to learn repairs on . I would not depend on it for a longer trip away from help.

If there are dark spots on the inside, you have a problem. Those dark spot mean that water has made its way past the gel coat and is delaminating the glass. There is no good way to stop that.