No announcement yet.


  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts


    We are buying a 2001 3988 and just saw a divers report of blisters at the water line. Has anyone ales experienced this?

    Minor blisters are common and can run the range from a simple bubble in the layers of bottom paint to a serious delamination issue. By 2001 most of the blister issues had been pretty well worked out with the development of resins and gelcoats that acted more like the pre mid 1970's products. The most common cause in boats built after around 1980 is poor rollout of the mat layer or damage to the gel coat. Either way, water works its way into the glass buildup and through expansion and contraction causes a void that fills with more water. When I inspected the hull of my 1980 Encounter Sunbridge over the last thirty, yup same boat for thirty years, I usually find three to five small, pinky fingernail size blisters. For the past eight or ten years these have been between layers of bottom paint.

    You should do an out of the water survey to properly assess the type of blister and work with the owner on repairs. There will be some that will say all of the underwater gelcoat has to be ground off, the hull allowed to dry out then some yards want to reapply gelcoat, barrier coats then antifouling paint, some will propose skiping the gelcoat part, still others, if the blisters into the gelcoat and minor, do a spot repair. Your surveyor will be, or should be, your advocate for a repair plan.

    Having not seen the boat and I were the buyer, I would haul the boat out of the water, pressure wash the bottom and have my certified surveyor examin the hull and running gear. Next, I would show the owner any area of concern and have an assessment of the extent of damage in hand from the survey. You and the seller can work out any credit for repairs. If, for example, the waterline blisters are structural, I would have the bottom media blasted with soda or dry ice to remove the paint to the gel coat. Next I would clean out and epoxy the damaged area and apply a barrier coat like SeaHawk to seal the hull followed by an ablitive paint that is designed for the water and speed of your boat where you cruise.

    Think of it as a dent or scratch in a car you are looking at. It may be able to be buffed out, or it may be rusted out.
    P/C Pete
    Edmonds Yacht Club (Commodore 1993)
    1988 3818 "GLAUBEN”
    Hino EH700 175 Onan MDKD Genset
    MMSI 367770440


      Get a survey.

      Mine had a half a dozen 1 to 1.5 inch blisters when I bought it.

      The yard manager and surveyor both said to let them go and just monitor them.

      If they're excessive it could get expensive.

      I've had my boat for 14 years and still just look at them when I haul.



        Blister issue, keep looking, I did a blister job on a 37' Tollycraft, more than a big job, 100% of the waterline down, I shaved .060 off to remove the laminate, then 2 layers of mat and vinyl ester resin.

        The vessel you are looking at may have sat in a harbor with little water exchange and got hot or a bad batch of resin.

        I would be inclined to pass on that one, even at the water line it will be an expensive fix.


        grind the laminate.

        re-apply the laminate.

        re apply the gel coat.


        If you buy it get a guarantee it will be repaired properly with photo's.

        Hold back part of the sales price until repairs are completed.

        I would move on and keep looking.
        Pat says: DO-IT-RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!

        Bayliner 3870 "ALASKA33)
        Twin 350 GM power
        Located in Seward, AK
        Retired marine surveyor


          I'd recommend it be hauled out for a fiberglass expert to look at it.
          1999 3788, Cummins 270 "Freedom"
          2013 Boston Whaler 130 SS
          Anacortes, WA
          Isla Verde, PR


            The thing about blisters is: When grinding out blisters you must follow that little pin hole and totally grind it out, or you will have problems with it.

            Who knows how many more blisters will form at that water line that has not yet appeared.

            If the blisters have been repaired, there may well be another one forming after the repair along that water line. $$$$$$

            The one boat that I pealed sat for 7-8 months after pealing .060 off of it, waterline all the way down.

            Expensive project, then it needs to hade a vinyl ester layered mat laid up then ISO type gel coat.
            Pat says: DO-IT-RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!

            Bayliner 3870 "ALASKA33)
            Twin 350 GM power
            Located in Seward, AK
            Retired marine surveyor


              amen to following the blister tracks. Also, when you haul get pictures right away... the boat will dry off and the blisters will shrink. If you do a bottom peel, use a moisture meter and really let the boat sit on the hard to dry out... mine sat for 8 months drying out after the peel. We then did a multi-coat West System epoxy seal and rebuilt the gelcoat, then quality bottom paint... takes a lot of prep time, but when you are done it will stay nice.... mine bottom was done 14 years ago and still no blisters. good luck.



                Minor blistering is not a problem. Years ago they made us boat yard owner rich, but eventually they became pretty much a non issue unless they are big ones or there is signs of delamination. Most NAMS and SAMS surveyors now just suggest monitoring them.
                2002 Carver Voyager 57
                "Making Waves"
                3988 250 Hinos
                "The Dark Side"
                Alameda, California


                  I just finished a purchase on a 4087 that has some minor blistering. I was a little concerned seeing this on haul out and questioned the surveyor at length about it. He did a thorough job of evaluating them (even popped one to confirm it was between the paint layers and gel coat. His recommendation was to monitor and evaluate on next bottom paint. Still was concerned and almost walked away from the purchase until I read this:

                  Decided to purchase the boat and negotiated a small repair allowance to have some blisters grinded. Boat is scheduled in two weeks for bottom paint and blister removal (probably 4 at 25 a pop)

                  Hope this helps.
                  1996 4087 Cummins 315's
                  San Diego, CA