amateur hour featuring: caulking

Oh god. If my boat has ever cried, it would be crying her eyes out right now. Like having chopped her bangs crooked, and everyone at school is going to laugh at her. I am so sorry my dear boat for using you as a guinea pig. I really hope I didn’t just make this mess for no good reason. I think the reason why I am taking on water while sailing is from old caulking having come out, leaving space for water to come in.

When I first moved aboard, it was December. It was raining. A lot. This translated to a lot of water collecting in the bilges on a daily basis. I had no idea what to do other than get on my hands and knees and get the water out of the bilges with a sponge and bucket, throwing the collected water overboard as I went to fetch more. This problem has been corrected from having re-caulked the top of a seam on the exterior of the boat. This seam is a metal and rubber seal that connects the deck to the hull. I didn’t realize that the bottom would need to be re-caulked as well, because rain comes from the sky and waves come from below. I hope it works, none the less.

I went and got some good old 5200 sealant, it’s marine grade and tough stuff. I’ve been told that once it is on it will never come off. I’ve also been asked if I even want it to come off? That’s a big fat no! Gimme the 5200 boys! Let’s get this party started.


So I’ve got my tools, I lined my dinghy with an old sheet, and I started with the more difficult side: the one opposite the dock. One hand with the caulking gun, one hand holding onto the boat so I wouldn’t float away. Oh good lord, there’s no pretty way to describe what I did. It was terrible! Amateur! Caulking dripping everywhere, gooping up in places it had no business being. I had not a clue as to what I was doing, only that I had all the right tools and had no idea how to make it neat and presentable. I would try to imagine someone telling me “just wipe it smooth, that’ll do it!” And that did not do it. That smeared it all over.


I kept on trekking along, neighbors passing by offering kind words of encouragement. “Hey, as long as its sealed that’s all that matters!” Phew! Ok. So not everyone is going to gather the whole dock while I’m gone at work and laugh at the royal crap job that I did. I eventually got the angle right, the amount that needed to come out right, and how to press the smoothing tool right. It was still pretty messy and pretty ugly.


As you can see, having the caulking in there makes a difference as far as closing up the gaps. I don’t know if this will fix the issue, but it’s a step closer in the right direction. Now that I have caulking all over, I’m going to clean up and make some dinner… Ha! That’s something I’ve got down.