Hassle-Free Boat Hardware Installation

By Mark Corke

Spend a little time now and save time and effort later. Installing hardware does not have to be a messy nightmare.

Cleaning hardware with solvent

There comes a time in the life of any boat when you'll need to install or reinstall hardware. This task often entails using mastic or sealant between the fitting and the boat. The sealant is important: Too little and the hardware won't be adequately bedded, so you may end up with water trapped underneath, which can find its way inside the boat. Too much and you'll end up with a gooey mess. With a little prep, however, you can ensure that fittings and hardware have sufficient bedding material while, at the same time, preventing your chosen goop from sticking to places it shouldn't.

4 Steps To A Mess-Free Job

1. Start by locating the hardware, in this case, a locker lid, in the correct position, and draw a light pencil line around the perimeter where it contacts the fiberglass surface. If you need to drill mounting holes for the fitting, do that now.

Applying blue painters tape

2. Remove the fitting and set it aside. Apply blue painter's tape so it covers the pencil line you just made.

Cutting through tape

3. Place the fitting into its correct position, then draw around the fitting as before, this time marking the tape. Set the fitting aside, then use a sharp craft knife to carefully cut through just the tape along the pencil line. Peel up the tape on the inside of the cut, which leaves a perfect cutout of the fitting's footprint on the inside edge of the tape.

Clean finished job

4. Apply a generous bead of mastic or bedding compound to the hardware before bolting or screwing it into position. Now peel up the tape along with any squeeze-out for a perfectly clean job with no mess and no need for harsh chemicals. 

— Published: April 2018

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