No boat is perfect, and no matter how much you might love yours, there’s surely room for improvement. In this short video, we take a look back at the top three DIY improvements we’ve made to our boats—the ones we felt had the most significant impact, yet were easy enough that any one of them can be completed in a day.
The first improvement we talked about, adding that cushiony foam to your boat’s deck, we can explain in detail. Check out our All Decked Out article and video, which covers the step-by-step process from start to finish. This is probably the biggest project of the three we talk about; it took a total of 16.5 hours of work, and required slightly less than $1,000 worth of materials. It is, however, also the improvement which has had the biggest impact. Walking around on the soft surface all day does make a significant difference, and like we said in the video, it’s one of the most impactful boat improvement projects you can undertake.
Next, consider that proper propeller. Most boats come with a “stock” prop, which is rarely changed by either the dealer or the boater. That propeller is usually the boat manufacturer’s best guess of what’s most appropriate, after they’ve tested a particular model with several different choices. And if we all used our boats the same way, that would be perfectly fine. But we don’t. Some of us load our boat down with a ton of gear, while others carry minimal extra weight and few additional passengers. And how heavy a load your engine has to push relates directly to the best pitch to choose. In other cases, someone might consider hole-shot a whole lot more important than top-end speed. Again, propeller pitch has a huge effect. To learn how to best judge the current status of your propeller choice, see What to Do if You Have the Wrong Pitch Propeller. And if the whole concept of propeller pitch has you flummoxed in the first place, take a look at Understanding Propeller Pitch.
Finally, we come to our third boat improvement project: seating. In many cases replacing your boat’s seats will be as simple as un-bolting the old seats, and bolting in the new ones. If that’s the case with your boat, consider yourself lucky. Many of us, however, will encounter issues with the mounting. Not all seats mount on the same standard patterns (although many do) and an even worse situation can come up when the old seat mounts are shot. That’s exactly the situation we encountered when we decided to put new seats on a skiff—the bases were ply-cored fiberglass, and the plywood coring had rotted away. The fix? We had to do some backyard fiberglass lamination. See how it’s done, in Backyard Fiberglass Repair: Laminating Plywood to Fiberglass.
For more ideas and improvements that can help you make your boat a better boat, peruse our How-to section.