Soft Deck, What Would You Do?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by SkiPharmer, Aug 17, 2018.

  1. SkiPharmer

    SkiPharmer Member

    114
    Jul 27, 2014
    St. Croix River, MN
    "Apres Ski" is a 1995 Sea Ray Sundancer 330, Twin 454 MerCruiser V-Drives
    Twin 7.4 Liter Mercruisers V-drives
    I've read every post on here about this and I want to know what you would do (I already have an idea). I have a 1995 Sea Ray 330 Sundancer, love the boat, we boat in MN. I've had a small spot on the front of the deck near the big hatch towards the starboard side and back a bit. It is getting bigger. I had the marina look at it and they quoted me $3-$5k to fix it depending on bad it was when they started working on it. My wife and I have two kids aged 2 and 4. we spend a lot of time on the boat and treat it like our summer home in the summer. The boat is worth at most $40,000 and that is pushing it. I would like to think this boat can last us another 10 years until the kids start needing more room. Question is do I fix the boat and keep it or try to sell it next year and buy our next boat now. It is paid off, i LOVE not having a boat payment. I just put $2,200 in it last month replacing the holding tank (cracked and leaked), all hoses, new sump pump and new AC water pump. Engines and genny run like tops. Thanks for the advice as always.
    -Chris
     
  2. Golfman25

    Golfman25 Active Member

    148
    Sep 12, 2009
    IL
    281
    V8
    What is their plan to fix it? From above or underneath? Do they have a kick butt fiberglass guy? I would lean towards getting it fixed and continue using the boat. Might be tough to sell otherwise.
     
  3. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    If you're convinced you're going to eventually sell the boat and want some form of return on it I'd suggest getting it repaired now. Deck rot will only spread. The more it spreads, the more money the repair will cost. Most (maybe an exaggeration?) buyers will care about a wet deck in a boat like this. And any surveyor worth two cents will quickly red flag it.

    If you think you'd be fully happy with the boat for another 10 years I'd skip the repair and keep it as-is. Use the money for fuel next year. Just be prepared to sell the boat for $10-15k(?) in 10 years. At that point it's going to need a $10k+ repair to the foredeck and it'll have another 10 years of wear and tear on her.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
  4. 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 28 footer (LWL) had a soft front deck area about 2 feet square, boat had a 10.5 beam and the deck was 7 feet long and flared up into the lower helm windshield.
    The deck had one small soft area and we got a few drips in the area of the flair up to the windshield.
    I have a friend who owns a large fiberglass marine repair facility. He looked at it and said best way to fix it was from under in the soft area and leak. He opened it up and found water had worm hold through out the entire deck. I also had a soft area on the upper helm this turned into a 3' by 3' area to get to solid balsa. In all it cost 12,000 in 2004. One person who used to fiberglass tank floors for me suggested dry area and inject resin, based on the cost and value of the boat I wish I had done that.
    Two years later I sold the boat for 10,000.
     
  5. SkiPharmer

    SkiPharmer Member

    114
    Jul 27, 2014
    St. Croix River, MN
    "Apres Ski" is a 1995 Sea Ray Sundancer 330, Twin 454 MerCruiser V-Drives
    Twin 7.4 Liter Mercruisers V-drives
    yea I plan on keeping it and fixing it. They have done this type of repair yes. I only have had the boat for 4 years, no clue why the surveyor didn't catch it.
     
  6. sbw1

    sbw1 Well-Known Member

    Oct 10, 2006
    West Michigan
    This is listed in my signature
    This is listed in my signature
    If it were me, I would sell it and buy something much newer. It is approaching the age where it will require a project every year. Just when you think things are under control something else will pop up. This is the nature of old boats.
     
  7. becnme

    becnme Member SILVER Sponsor

    101
    Oct 31, 2008
    Fort Myers
    06 Tiara 36 Sovran
    Cummins QSC 500
    Have you heard of Dry Boat? I talked to them at the Fort Lauderdale boat show and found their system interesting.
     
  8. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    This is not a difficult repair to do :

    if the spot is relatively small, and
    if it can be accessed from the hatch opening.

    Generally, the deck coring is balsa and is wet enough to rot. The only real way to fix it is to remove the rotted wood, replace it then fix any damage you do getting to the core. If you are lucky and if the soft core can be reached thru the hole where the hatch was installed.....which is very likely the place t he water got in . A bent rod can sometimes be used to rout out the rotted coring, then shopvac the grbae out, then more bent rodding then more vacuuming. Eventually when you are down to new wood, a piece of balsa coring can be cut and inserted using resin or epoxy to bond it to the deck and ceiling. Then reinstall the hatch, and remove all the others and rebed them.

    If that won't work, the only fix is to remove either the deck skin or the ceiling beneath to access the rotted core. Repairing the non-skid finish on the deck is a challenge and very few fiberglass guys can get a decent match. Sometimes you can make the cuts in non-skid parts of the deck where getting a sound repair and a good match is easier because you aren't dealing with non-skid. Cutting away the ceiling is a possibility if it is a relatively small area, but it will trash the interior unless whoever does the repair is careful to maks and cover the interior.

    Working thru the hatch opening will save a lot of money since there is no gelcoat or non-skid match to deal with. If the wet area it is small enough to access that way, then the cost should be closer to $1000 than to $4000. If the area is confined to the edge of the hatch and running 8-12" out, the core can be dug out, the area dried out and refilled with thickened epoxy as a core...replacing balsa isn't necessary and that repair would be even less.

    Note: Those costs are Gulf Coast estimates where 2/3 of the ex boat yard workers with a 1/2 pick up are running around doing fiberglass repairs.......I have no clue what MN prices would be.

    Selling the boat without fixing it isn't a good plan. It will not pass a survey with a soft deck and you will end up taking a bath to get it sold. If you want a new boat, get this one fixed, detailed and prettied up, then go shopping and you will be money ahead.
     
  9. SkiPharmer

    SkiPharmer Member

    114
    Jul 27, 2014
    St. Croix River, MN
    "Apres Ski" is a 1995 Sea Ray Sundancer 330, Twin 454 MerCruiser V-Drives
    Twin 7.4 Liter Mercruisers V-drives
    Are there any brands or models of Sea Rays where this is not a common problem?
     
  10. Golfman25

    Golfman25 Active Member

    148
    Sep 12, 2009
    IL
    281
    V8
    It's a common problem with most boats. Whenever you put a hole in the deck, you're bound to get water intrusion at some point. The only way out is to seal the hole first. Unfortunately most builders nor people do that.
     
  11. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    It will cost you money to fix it, it will probably cost you more money if you sell it because the buyer will want a big discount for taking on a project.
    You’ve had the boat for a few years now and know it’s strengths and weaknesses.
    You’ve also gotten used to not having a payment.
    If you would be selling to get something significantly different then I say take the bath and sell it as is at a discount. It will probably cost more money to go bigger or newer, but at least you’re going to feel like you got more.
    If you would be selling to get a similar size and style boat then I say have it fixed and stick with the devil you know.
     
  12. SkiPharmer

    SkiPharmer Member

    114
    Jul 27, 2014
    St. Croix River, MN
    "Apres Ski" is a 1995 Sea Ray Sundancer 330, Twin 454 MerCruiser V-Drives
    Twin 7.4 Liter Mercruisers V-drives
    could I go the cheap way and have them inject resin? will that hold up for 5 years or so? will that stop the spread?
     
  13. TitanTn

    TitanTn Member SILVER Sponsor

    292
    Jul 12, 2015
    Chattanooga, TN
    1986 Saltare, 1998 400 Express
    454 direct drive; twin 3116TA
    My response was going to be the same as what Frank said. I just did this same process to mine last summer. The repair is stronger than it was from the factory, all of the rot is gone and no gelcoat or fiberglass was damaged in the process. I really feel that this is the only way to go. Injecting resin will stiffen it up for a time, but the rot is still there and it will grow. So it's only delaying the repair that needs to happen and this repair will only get more expensive the longer you wait. If it's a $2,000 repair job today, you could spend $1,500 now for injection and then still need $2,000 - $3,000 in repairs in 5 years (ultimately costing more - not less). My suggestion is to fix the boat you have. Buying a different boat doesn't mean you won't still be fixing issues. At least you know this boat and like it. It's worth it to you and your pocket book to get it fixed before it becomes a bigger issue.
     
  14. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    Injecting resin or epoxy will only work if you remove the rotted wood because the wet core is filling the void where the resin needs to go. That means you cannot get nearly enough resin in the area that you need to form a good bont between the deck and the ceiling beneath. The labor in this repair is in removing the wet core and drying out the structure anyway, so why not do a permanent repair and be done with it forever?

    If you do try to sell the boat with a soft deck the discount you will have to take is going be in the $10-12,000 area, if a buyer doesn't reject the boat out of hand, and most knowledgeable buyers will rather than take on a project with unknowns like a wet deck.
     
  15. SkiPharmer

    SkiPharmer Member

    114
    Jul 27, 2014
    St. Croix River, MN
    "Apres Ski" is a 1995 Sea Ray Sundancer 330, Twin 454 MerCruiser V-Drives
    Twin 7.4 Liter Mercruisers V-drives
    Thank you all! I will fix it this winter. To those of you saying sell it and buy something newer I would then have a rather large payment AND I could still have stuff go wrong. I love not having debt and this boat works very well for us now...plus it is fast and that is important for my 4 year old!
     
    JC3 and JVM225 like this.
  16. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    Smart move!
     
  17. JC3

    JC3 Active Member

    Oct 6, 2006
    Kentucky
    N/A
    N/A
    1+ on smart move! GOD bless. JC
    BTW, Debt free IMHO is always the way to go when you have a choice.
     

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