Resources – Drill Fiberglass And Install Thru-Hull Fittings

If the considered drilling a hole in the underside of your boat conjures terrifying images in your head, you are not alone. We promote plenty of automated ballast techniques and ballast systems parts, so it’s no shock that we hear from rather a lot of customers which are uncomfortable with the idea of drilling one (or extra) rather massive holes via the underside of their boat.

We figured it can be useful to publish somewhat how-to that outlines the process of drilling by the fiberglass hull of the boat, and then putting in the thru-hull fitting. This text is particular to an intake for a ballast system, but the same process could be utilized for any hardware that is installed within the boat’s hull. Alright, let’s get on with it!

Required Hardware

Complete Ballast System | Shop Now

WakeMAKERS Bronze Mushroom Thru-Hull Intake | Shop Now

3M Marine Adhesive | Shop Now

Along with the actual hardware you may be putting in, the next items are needed for installation:

– -Measuring tape

– -Masking tape

– -Felt-tip pen

– -Power drill

– -Sharp drill bits

– -Appropriately sized hole-saw bit (discuss with documentation included together with your via-hull for the right measurement)

– -one hundred grit sand paper

Step 1: Planning the InstallThe first step is to find out the place the fitting will probably be installed, and as the adage goes, you wish to measure multiple time to make sure you won’t be encountering any problems down the highway. When locating your through-hull you first want to ensure the placement you select will have a enough provide of recent water at all times, and that it is not going to interfere with some other techniques on the boat. This contains, but shouldn’t be restricted to, the engine’s raw water intake, the paddle wheel velocity sensor and the depth finder transducer. You want to make it possible for the intake is not going to be located directly in entrance of any of these gadgets, because the disruption to the move of water can alter their efficiency.

Also, make sure you’ve got sufficient clearance on both the inside and outside of the hull. It helps to select a landmark, like an present fitting or part, that’s seen on the exterior of the boat in addition to within the bilge compartment. Usually, the surface is not a difficulty as a result of you may be doing the install with the boat on the trailer, and bunks are the biggest obstacle right here. Inside it’s essential to have enough room not only for the components that may attach to the via-hull but in addition for the set up. Remember, you may want more room for all of your elements to be assembled than they are going to occupy once installed.

Once you have decided the ideal location for the intake, apply masking tape to the exterior of the hull extending out from the intended location by no less than six inches. Applying masking tape will serve two functions; first, it is going to forestall damage to the surrounding space if the bit occurs to slip, and second, it should prevent splintering of the gel-coat (which is the exterior coloured floor of the boat’s hull that gives it the sleek glassy appearance). In case your boat has a completed bilge liner (Malibu direct drive fashions for instance), you will additionally want to mask off the inside where the penetration will be for the same reasons outlined above.

Step 2: Drilling the Pilot HoleWell, the hard work is done, now it is time to drill the hole. While extremely easy and straight ahead, this step is essentially the most intimidating, so just make certain you’ve got positioned the fitting accurately above and take your time. Step one in the drilling process is to drill a pilot gap for the outlet saw bit you may be utilizing. Starting from the exterior, use the same size drill bit because the pilot bit on the outlet noticed you will be using to drill by the hull of the boat.

Step 3: Drilling the final HoleNow that you’ve obtained a gap that extends all the way in which through into the bilge of the boat, you possibly can rating the fiberglass on the inside to prevent chipping when the hole saw bit completed the lower. To do this start from inside the bilge compartment. Insert the hole noticed bit into the outlet you drilled in the earlier step. Either using your hand or if you have clearance, the drill running in reverse, frivolously rating the fiberglass contained in the bilge by making use of strain rotating the outlet noticed bit. This will lead to a cleaner hull when the outlet saw finishes the reduce.

Now you are prepared for the large second, let’s finish drilling the hole from the outside of the boat. Gelcoat is a really brittle material, so we need to be very cautious not to wreck or chip the gelcoat around the perimeter of the outlet we’re going to drill. With the drill in reverse, start from under the boat and apply pressure to the drill to make use of the friction of the bit to put on via the gelcoat utterly. It will management how much “chew” the bit has, which will stop chipping of the gelcoat. Once you’ve worn via the gelcoat, which is only a pair millimeters thick, and “really feel” a lot different than fiberglass, swap the drill to ahead and proceed drilling fully by means of the hull.

Step 4: Chamfering the openingThe ultimate, and perhaps most necessary step earlier than actually putting in the via-hull fitting it to chamfer the gelcoat across the perimeter to stop superficial cracks from occurring sooner or later. For more information about boat cleat;, check out the website. Because gelcoat is brittle, if it is subjected to any force parallel to the completed floor of the hull small spider cracks can happen and radiate out away from the center of the opening. The preventative repair is straightforward, we just take away the gelcoat around the edge of the hole so the fitting does not make contact with it in any respect as soon as installed. The simplest approach to create this chamfer is to use sandpaper around the circumference of the outlet until the gelcoat makes a 45-diploma angle with the fiberglass underneath it.

Now, all that is left to do is install the thru-hull fitting following the really useful set up methodology, and using the suitable adhesive/sealant to make sure you will have a leak-free setup. For extra info confer with the directions included with the fitting you’re installing (where relevant).

Installing thru-hull fittings may be intimidating. We hope that after reading this how-to information. Watching the video you’re feeling assured in drilling a gap in the bottom of your boat. Good luck with the install of your new ballast system!