How Much Does Fiberglass Boat Repair Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 10, 2018

While fiberglass boats are known to be fairly low in maintenance, repairs may still be necessary at some point to replace cracks or bubbles on the floor or hull, for example.  In most cases, a repair will be needed to mend the surfaces back together, however.

The cost of repairing the fiberglass of a boat depends on what materials are needed to repair the surface, where the unit is being serviced, and how labor charges are calculated.

seems well ”wetted-out” by Dale Simonson, on Flickr
seems well ”wetted-out”” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by  Dale Simonson

How much does fiberglass boat repair cost?

The cost of a fiberglass repair on your boat will greatly depend on the level of damage, the materials being used with the repair, where you live and the professional you choose.  Since it can be so hard to offer an estimate since all jobs will be different, the average hourly cost charged by a professional is often within the $75 to $110 per hour range.  This range will often include the materials and the labor.  To offer you an idea of what it may cost you, a small crack or hole could cost $75 to $400, whereas mending the entire floor could reach well into the thousands.

Depending on the service provider, fiberglass boat repair services should include the material costs and labor charges.  Some boat repair companies quote by the hour and will try their best to assess the damage first before providing an overall estimate.  This estimate, however, can be more in the end if the job took longer than expected.

DoItYourself.com states that the cost of fiberglass repair can vary depending on the extent of the damage.  The typical repair cost can vary from $75 to $110 per hour, a price which includes material costs and labor charges, but repairs that need more material and longer labor can cost up to $350.  Higher-quality materials typically require higher costs, with fiberglass and gelcoat repair costs reaching as high as $450.

According to a FamilyHandyman.com article, most hired-out repairs of any kind are approximately 50 percent labor and 50 percent materials.  In the article, a repair professional talks about repairing a particular boat and how it can cost $3,000 at a shop, even though the materials cost only about $250 and the buffer about $150.

What are the extra costs?

If you will be doing the repair job yourself, you will need the right tools and materials on hand to complete the task.  These materials may include a fiberglass filler, gel coat, gel coat reducer, disposable spray gun, buffing compound, wax, and/or sandpaper.  The tools needed may include heat gun, sanding block, rotary tool, and/or safety gear.  These prices will depend on which materials/tools you need to buy.

If you do decide to get the boat restored with new carpet and/or furniture, for example, then the cost of these new materials may be extra.  For example, if you want a new captain’s chair, you will have to pay for the labor of taking out the old one and putting in the new one in addition to purchasing the chair itself.

Tips to know:

BoatUS.com talks about how the average fiberglass repair is done.

See if your boat is still under warranty.  If so, you may be able to have the manufacturer cover the costs if it were due to a manufacturer defect.

Pickup and delivery, for smaller boats, may be available for an additional fee.

Two common problems with fiberglass boats

Air bubbles in fiberglass laminates weaken the hull yet are almost impossible to see by the naked eye. There are so many layers of fiberglass in the hull that air bubbles in the innermost layers are undetectable. When complete, it is impossible to inspect most fiberglass hulls as decks and other structures cover them. If the boat sits in the water for long periods of time, these air bubbles can appear as blisters on the bottom of the hull.  If the blisters are left unchecked they can destroy your boat. Usually, an expensive bottom job is needed to repair the damage and there is no guarantee the blisters return.

If you store the fiberglass boat on a trailer, it may cause eventual damage to the trailer itself.  Fiberglass boats are extremely heavy, so it can cause a lot of strain on the trailer.

How can I save money?

Try a fiberglass boat repair kit for smaller fixes to save on the labor rates.  Highly-rated kits, for example, can cost less than $30 and will include all of the materials necessary to complete the job.

If you have adequate skills and you are confident that you can accomplish the repair job, consider repairing the fiberglass of the boat yourself.  There are detailed guidelines available on the Internet, particularly at do-it-yourself websites and on YouTube.  As long as the cracks or the area in question is small, it won’t be as hard as you think.

Compare the rates offered by different boat repair companies in your area.  At best, get at least three to five estimates before committing to the job.


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