What are Marine Sealants?
Boats are unique to own and work on because, although they are made for water, there are plenty of places on a boat that water needs to stay out of. You don’t want water getting through the boat’s windows, but you also don’t want it dripping into a fuel line accidentally. To protect your boat in the areas that need it most, marine sealants are the best tools.
There are many different options when it comes to picking out a marine sealant, but these sealants can serve many purposes on your boat. Since there are so many marine sealants on the market, learning how to use them properly is critical.
What do they do?
Sealants create a bond between two surfaces or materials on your boat. You can use sealant to bond metal to glass, wood to plastic, wood to wood, and more. Unlike glue, which ends up drying into a stiff and brittle material, sealants dry as thick and rubbery, making them much more flexible and better for many marine applications. Sealants can also be used as a top layer to protect the gel coat or outer surface of your vessel.
If there’s a spot on your boat that you need to keep water or air out of, then you need a sealant. You can even use some sealants below the water line, but be sure that you get a sealant that was made specifically for that purpose.
How long do they last?
The lifetime of a sealant will depend on the product itself. Some sealants offer temporary bonding that can last a number of years, while others will bond permanently. If you use a sealant that bonds permanently, then decide to remove it later, you’ll need to use a special sealant remover to do so.
If you’re not sure if your sealant needs to be replaced, keep an eye out for water leakage or dirt trails. If dirt starts collecting in or around your sealant, it could break the seal and remove the area’s water and air tightness. Or you might notice that water is already getting through a seal than it shouldn’t, which is a great clue that it’s time for new sealant.
How to apply a sealant
Sealants can come in adhesive and non-adhesive forms. Adhesive sealants will bond materials together without the help of anything else, whereas non-adhesive sealants require bolts or other bonding mechanisms to finish the job.
If you are using sealants to protect flat surfaces, you can use your random orbital polisher for a smooth, even application. Simply put the sealant on a pad and apply it to the target surface with steady speed and pressure.
To bond two materials together, you’re probably going to have to put the sealant on by hand. Most bottles of sealant will have a thin nozzle that you can use to get the product in tight spaces.
No matter how you apply your sealant, be sure to give it ample time to bond. Sealant can require a number of days to fully finish setting, so read the instructions listed on the bottle.
Starke Yacht Care Hybrid Marine Sealant
Best to use with a random orbital polisher, this sealant is great for the larger surfaces on your boat. It acts as a wax and a sealant, so your boat will have a great shine and your gel coat will be protected from water, salt, and other potentially harmful debris.
Starke Yacht Care Hyper Hold Marine Sealant
You can apply this sealant by hand or with a machine, but either way, it’ll offer a great hold and last a long time. It is long-lasting and provides protection against UV rays as well as water.
Seal It or Deal with It
Sealants help protect boats against water, air, and other materials that could potentially damage them. You can use sealant on your gel coat or in between two materials that need to be bonded together. The market has many types of sealants that can be used for different purposes, so reading the label on each bottle is always a good idea.