hull gouges

My question is when I bought my new mad river explorer 16 tt, there was minor scrapes on the hull and some shallow nicks about 1/8 of an inch deep. I was wondering what it takes to make a hull gouge something to worry about on a boat like this (how deep before it reaches the foam core)and how to repair or fill them in.(Wax?) Any help is appreciated.

Trauma of the first gouges
It was traumatic putting the first few gouges in the one new canoe I have had. But after a year, the gouges just blend in with the inevitable scratches and dents in the bottom of the boat. Don’t worry about your dents. Go paddle the boat, put some more dents in the bottom, and then you won’t notice the factory installed dents.

You would think you could get a pristine hull from MR, but unless they look like real weak spots, I wouldn’t worry about the gouges.

~~Chip Walsh, Gambrills, MD

most of us
have some pretty signifigant looking scrapes/etc. but usually they look a lot worse than they are. As mentioned above, you will be putting your own in beside them soon. Unless they leak or look like they are going to I’d forget about them. You can’t see them from the where you’re sitting anyway.

Loan it out
get a couplle of friends that don’t paddle. Give them the boat for the afternoon and drop them off on a rocky shored river. When you pick them up the scrapes won’t show anymore.


same here
I once bought a new boat only do discover an above-the-waterline dent about 1-inch diameter and about 1/2-inch deep into the royalex.

I cursed myself for not checking the boat out thoroughly before buying it and now, nine years later as fellow paddlers admire the scratches and dents of my well-used boat I love to hear them ask: “Wow. How’d you get that one?” as they point to the store-bought dent.

And, to be truthful, I don’t always tell them the truth and tell them a tall tale instead …

Bottom line: boats that look like new either don’t get used, or, they’re brand new.

Battle scars show that you have LIVED!


Old sayin’

– Last Updated: Mar-02-07 8:47 PM EST –

fro' an old canooist;

"A new canoo may look purdy when ye first buy it,

but becomes beautiful only after it's been places..."


hull gouges
You don’t really say if the hull is roleyex/royalite or a composite with a foam core.

If an ABS sandwich, what has been said is enough.

If a foam cored composite, maybe not. if the gouges are weakening the fabric under the core, fill them with appropriate tinted gel and sand smooth, starting with a board and 120 grit, then 32, 600, 1000, 1200 and buff if you want.

Another functional consideratiion beyond the structural is the increase in skin friction. Again, on ABS, not much you can do. With composites sanding significantly reduces drag. [J Winter’s claims a moderately used hull has half again the skin friction of a new hull.]

‘lite’ hull repair
As stated if the fabric layup is not damaged you can leave it alone.

If you want to repair a larger gouge save the dust generated when sanding your repair and mix it into clear gel coat patching. Fill the gouge, then lay a piece of wax paper over the patch to smooth it out while drying. The dust will make your patch almost invisble after some fine sanding, and a bit of polishing.