Deck / hull seperation behind rubrail

Discussion in 'Fiberglass/Wood/Gelcoat Repair' started by Thad Keller, Jul 2, 2018.

  1. Thad Keller

    Thad Keller New Member

    Jul 2, 2018
    Taylor Mi
    1981 Searay Sundancer 245
    5.7 merc, alpha 1 gen 1
    Anyone else experience a problem with the upper deck separating from the hull behind the rubrail. I can visually see a sag in the rubrail line on the port side and can place my fingers under the rubrail. Got into some big water yesterday and damn near sunk the boat. bilge wouldn't keep up with the amount of water pouring in. Every wave we hit the water was pouring in like buckets, it was running down the steps to the cabin like a waterfall from behind the inner wall. Scary was an understatement as we had 9 souls onboard, 5 were children. Knew were safe after getting back closer to shore as the bilge pump and my wife were able to scoop and pump the water out, and not another drop came in but scary none the less. any fix or is the boat ruined? Had a marina mechanic tell me today its actually a common problem and quite fixable. Opinions?
  2. NotHerDecision

    NotHerDecision Well-Known Member

    Jun 28, 2016
    Houston, Texas
    2001 Sea Ray 460 Sundancer
    2014 Seadoo 155 LTD
    2105 Seadoo 130 SE
    2013 Mercury Dinghy
    Cummins 6CTA 8.3L
    Thad. I haven’t experienced this but what year, make, model of boat would help. And welcome to the forum.
  3. NorCal Boater

    NorCal Boater Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2008
    Covington, LA
    Cobalt CM23
    GM SB 383" Stroker" Alpha Gen I
    I can only imagine what it was like. However, your boat is 36 years old. How long have you owned it? If you haven't had it for at least the past 5 years it's really hard to know what the previous owner(s) did or did not do to the boat. If it were me I would get it out of the water ASAP and not put it back in until you have had a shop that knows how to make this type of repair, look at it thoroughly and get it repaired. This is not something you want to tackle yourself unless you have extensive experience with this type of repair.

    I don't know the passenger or weight limit for that model, it's not listed in the Sea Ray archives, but depending on the size of the 4 adults and whether the kids were little or older, you could have been pushing the weight capacity for the boat. However, that would not have caused the separation but it could have made an existing condition worse.

    Good luck moving forward and let us know what you find out.
  4. boatman37

    boatman37 Well-Known Member

    Jun 6, 2015
    2006 Crownline 250CR
    Previous: 1986 Sea Ray 250 Sundancer
    5.7 Merc
    I was thinking the same thing about capacity. My 250 was 10 people or 1500lbs. I believe that 1500lbs was fuel, gear, batteries, etc? That wouldn't have caused the separation but like NorCal said, definitely didn't help your situation.
  5. northern

    northern Well-Known Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    West coast Vancouver to Alaska
    380 Aft Cabin 1989 GPS and Charts by Nobeltec
    Twin 454 strait shaft
    Our boat was leaking some water between the upper and lower seams in the rain. To fix the problem a friend who owns a large boat repair yard helped us. We took off the rub rail and gouged out all the old calk and replaced it. The seams were not separated like yours. On the lower part of the boat is a plywood strip the upper half screws into. It and the calk are the two items that hold the top to the bottom. If you have to replace some or all the plywood it could be costly. Just to remove the calk on our boat it took three of us two 8 hour days.
  6. Handsome Transom

    Handsome Transom Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jan 26, 2018
    Penetanguishene Ontario Canada
    1989 SeaRay Sundancer 268 454 Bravo
    454 Mercruiser bravo drive
    Wow I am glad everyone is safe and that you were able to get your boat to harbour . I don't know where you boat but if it's typically heavy sea and the boat has existed in that area all it's life its done well to hang in this long. It's time for a major overhaul and retrofit. If you aŕe going to save it you need to open and expose the entire joint. The plywood will all need cutting out and replacing. I would probably get some stainless 1/8 " switch of plywood 10" long and route out the plywood you are using to replace the old at points of stress and otherwise at 2ft intervals. Also I would resin coat the ply prior to installation so no water penetration can occur . All the screws you use need to be bedded with sealant. It's a big job but not impossible to do .
  7. dwna1a

    dwna1a Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Apr 23, 2012
    James River
    88 Weekender 300 "Seahorse"
    Twins 350
    It is something you can do and there are many threads on here that can help. I did mine after my surgery just so I could go fiddle with the boat. Mine was screwed together, once you remove the rub rail you will see what needs to be done. Our older boats do have this issue.

    WARNING, only remove one section at a time!

    I do agree with the others here. 9 people and all the gear does seem to put you very near if not over your max weight. You might want to review your capacity placard.
  8. Thad Keller

    Thad Keller New Member

    Jul 2, 2018
    Taylor Mi
    1981 Searay Sundancer 245
    5.7 merc, alpha 1 gen 1
    Placard states 10 persons or 1800 lbs. I'm sure we were close but definitely not over weight limit. Ive only owned it for a few months, It sat in storage for 2 years before I purchased it. Looking at pics from the day I bought it, I can now clearly see the same sag in the pics, cant believe I missed it, especially while compounding the hull. I'll never put that much weight in it again, if I ever even use it again. Safety is always my #1 concern, and I'm quite embarrassed about the whole situation. I immediately asked everyone on board to put on life jackets and kept reassuring everyone onboard that we'll be ok. Tuned my radio to coast guard channel and got out my flare gun. 1st time having the boat in anything over a 2 or 3 ft chop. That day we were plowing through 5 - 6 footers, wind picked up outta the south and was pushing the water back against the current. Nothing I haven't been through before in previous boats, but not this one. Must have been 8 - 10 inches of water on the floor of the cabin, and filled up like that in less than 5 minutes. That's lake Erie for ya, calm 1 minute and all hell breaks loose as soon as the wind picks up. I'll keep everyone posted and post pics as I venture on and start working on it.
  9. NorCal Boater

    NorCal Boater Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2008
    Covington, LA
    Cobalt CM23
    GM SB 383" Stroker" Alpha Gen I
    Thad, this is where I have to remind you of the importance of a survey when buying a boat. A surveyor would have caught that problem and you most likely would have moved on to the next one or negotiated a repair with the seller.

    Again, I'm glad everyone is safe and I hope it can be repaired properly for not too much money. Looking forward to the repair process.

Share This Page

Show Sidebar