Fiberglass Kayak Repairs

I recently bought a 17ft fiberglass kayak for $100. I figure if it can be repaired, I got a good price and if not, I didn’t lose much.The person I got it from says it is still watertight. I haven’t gotten a chance to get it on the water yet to see if that is true. I might try it this weekend.
Anyway, it needs some work if I am going to be able to get much use out of it. It has at least 3 spots where the gel coat is broken. (Impact damage?) It does not appear to damage the fiberglass underneath, but there is some gap between that needs to be filled. I have been doing research on this and it looks like I will need to sand back the gel coat until all cracks are gone, Put in filler, and then put gel coat over it. There are several different brands and types of gel coat. Is there one that is easier to use or better for kayaks? More secondary, the kayak is bright red and slightly worn looking. Not my favorite color. Is this something I could paint later and if so how does that work?
Also, even though the cockpit is bigger than in my other kayak, the seat in narrower and isn’t very comfortable. I have been looking at possibly switching it out if the boat really is still good after repairs. The only seats I have found look like they are designed for sit on tops. is it possible to buy replacement seats for a sit in? And would it be okay for the kayak to take the seat out? It is a medal seat and is bolted to both sides so I assume it is giving some strength.

Sounds like fun to learn new skills and have a useful kayak. Do you have any pictures you can share for the collective wisdom to weigh in? As far as seats, have you considered shaping one out of closed cell foam?

Picture is worth a thousand words

Seats, paints everything you need is available. Fill kayak with water and see where / if it leaks

Needs deck lines front and rear. Seat 80 bucks, paint 100 or more. You could drop 250 in materials in it plus Labor.

Width of combing or seat is? You’re saying seat is metal?

Any HIN number on hull? Better life me it because it’s a lot of work and you won’t get you money back out if you sell it.

Any bulkheads or foot rest? Length and width? No hatches correct?

It’s all repairable, but I would be more concerned about the other boat that looks like it has an I-beam driven through it. I’m with Dog; don’t spend a lot of money on that red boat.

The other boat is fine. Just the way the picture came out. I think it’s a strap from my other kayak hanging down in front of the camera.
There are foot rests in it and no bulk heads. Seat might not be metal but it is super hard.

The black part might be fiberglass, but the other part on the back is metal.

I can’t find a hin number on it. Boat is just short of 2 ft across.

It looks like the gelcoat is poorly adhered to the underlying fiberglass. The white streaks in the damaged areas likely indicate damage to the glass. Shine a light through them and if there is an obvious shadow, the glass is damaged and should be repaired. I have instructions for both on my website:

If you just want to repair the gelcoat, you need to pick off any loose material the feather the edges of the damaged area, then apply new gelcoat. No “filler” is needed. You need “finish” gelcoat, which is also known as “waxed” gelcoat. If you can find finish gelcoat paste, it’s somewhat easier to work with than the normal liquid gelcoat and it’s actually stronger.

Matching the color is going to be a pain, so I agree that painting it is probably your best bet. If you’re going to do that, you could use auto body filler for the repair, rather than gelcoat, and save yourself some money. If you want to do gelcoat, get clear instead of white, as it will help you get a better color match using gelcoat pigments.

Most if not all autobody filler is not waterproof. So you’re solely depending on pair to protect it.

POR-15 had a WP filler but it’s not made anymore.

Sounds like my first step is to make sure it really is watertight. Then I will need to start repairs.

  1. Sand away gelcoat around any damage areas and fill in with a finish gelcoat. Paste type would be prefered. Sand it smooth.
  2. Paint the boat with some kind of Marine paint. (Is there a special kind I should be looking for? Can I paint the boat in parts? Ex. paint top let dry then paint bottom. Do I need to stick with red or will other colors cover ok? On walls red is a pain to cover)
  3. Replace the seat. It looks like it could easily be unbolted and something else put in. (do non sit on type replacement seats exist or will I need to figure out the foam carving stuff?)
  4. Put on deck lines. (I have added them to plastic boats before. Any important steps I should know as being different? Do i need to drill holes first or anything?)
  5. The white open circle would be nice to put a lid on or replace with something useful. (Is that something realistic to do? If not, can it be removed and fiberglass patched?)
    Am I missing anything? Ideally, if this comes out nice I would like to replace my Georgian Bay kayak with it as my main kayak. The blue one in the pictures is my play around on the lake with dogs kayak or a loaner for company.

Two part polyurethane for paint by interlux. You can mix part of it at a time and do top and bottom seperately. You could do all the work and more gelcoat pops off. Gelcoat could be failing if the areas shown are not from impacts. There seems to be no hatches? You’ll need flotation. Interlux has a waterproof filler used on boats it’s a small can.

Buy a seat you like from another manufacture like Current Designs that is close to the width you need. Lots of money and work. Boat will still be missing many features of kayaks have been made with the last 30+ years. Deck fittings for lines bolt on most kayaks

Not sure where you are and whether well-stocked marine stores with real expertise are available to you, but a call to real specialists who can probably offer one-stop shopping for filler, gelcoat, paint, and more might help. They will certainly know what products are compatible with what other products. I’ve had very good luck talking to the people at Fiberglass Coatings: They have it all and in small enough quantities for a job like a single boat.