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Gel Coat Repair

How To Repair Dock Scars

By Amy Mauzy

     The customer service and warranty professionals at Malibu Boats all agree, the most common gel coat damage is caused by inexperienced docking and trailoring of boats. Dock scars, as they are commonly known, can be scratches or actual chips in the gel coat. 


     According to the experts at Malibu, the best remedy for this type of blemish is education. Becoming familiar with the proper procedure for docking, securing and trailoring a boat is the best prevention. Many authorized Malibu Boat Dealers offer on-the-water training for this purpose. Unfortunately, even the most trained boaters have accidents from time to time.

     When accidents happen, the damaged area should be attended to as soon as possible to avoid further injury to the boat's exterior. In most instances it is best to schedule the repair with your local Malibu dealer; however, dock scar repairs can be performed by a boat owner with proper guidance. 

     Artemio Aguilar has been the guiding hand of gel coat repair at Malibu boats for the past 17 years. Aguilar's vast experience has given him the opportunity to train many Malibu dealer technicians with respect to gel coat repair and restoration. The following 20 steps make up the procedure that Aguilar describes to dealers when teaching gel coat repair. Whether a boat is being repaired at the dealership or in the owner's garage, knowledge of the proper repair procedure is valuable.



Required Tools and Materials
-Marine Blister Repair Filler 

-Marine Creame Hardener

-Sand Paper (80 grit/ coarse)

-Sand Paper (180 grit/ medium)

-Sand Paper (360 grit/ fine)

-Eagle Brand Sand Paper (1200 grit/ ultra fine)

-2-inch Masking Tape

-Gel Coat hardener

-Gel Coat (color matched)

-Acetone (Patch Aid in humid climates)

-Polishing Compound

-Electric or Air Buffer

-Spray gun (touch-up gun)

-3M Finesse-It II Finishing Material

-Marine Paste Wax



1.... Cut off any excess gel coat shavings or splinters with a straight razor blade, leaving a fairly smooth surface.


Prepare Area


2.... Wipe damaged area thoroughly with acetone to remove all oil and dirt.


Clean Area


3.... Surround the damaged area with strips of 2-inch tape.


Tape Surrounding Area


4.... Mix Marine Blister Repair Filler with 10% Marine Creame Hardener. (the amount of filler used will vary based on the size of the repair)


Apply Filler To Damaged Area


5.... Apply filler mixture to damaged area with spatula to fill the chipped or scratched area.


Allow Filler To Harden


6.... Allow the filler to harden and dry. The filler has hardened when pressing on the repair area does not create impressions. (to decrease drying/ hardening time use blow dryer)



Sand & Clean
7.... Sand filled area with coarse 80 grit sandpaper to even out the surface of the repair. 


Rough Sand With 80 Grit


8.... Next, sand filled area with medium 180 grit sandpaper to smooth the surface. 


Medium Sand With 180 Grit


9.... Remove tape from the perimeter of the repair.


Finish Sand With 360 Grit


10.... Finally sand with fine 360 grit sandpaper to remove the grooves of the coarser sand papers. Make sure you sand at least 3 inches out from the damaged area with this paper. This way the area around the repair does not appear scratched or inconsistent with the rest of boat.
11.... Clean sanded area well with acetone.



Gel Coat
12.... Reapply 2-inch masking tape 3 inches away from the damaged area on all sides. This will prevent over spray on other areas of the boat.


Re-apply Tape Around Area


13.... Prepare gel coat for application by mixing the gel coat with 1 % - 3% Gel Coat Hardener and 25% acetone. (If being mixed in a humid climate add 30% Patch Aid in place of acetone. Acetone will alter the pigment of the gel coat in this type of climate.) Stir mixture very well. (Acetone and Patch Aid act as reducers so the gel coat can be sprayed through a spray gun.)
14.... Clean repair area again with acetone.

15.... Spray approximately 20-30 mils of gel coat at 30 pounds of pressure. Just spray repair area.


Spray Gel Coat 


16.... Allow gel coat to dry for 2 hours.



Clean, Sand & Buff
17.... Clean repair area with acetone to remove the tacky top-surface of the newly applied gel coat.


Clean Newly Applied Gel Coat


8.... Sand repair area with wet (water soaked) fine 360 grit sand paper
19.... Sand repair area with wet (water soaked) ultra fine 1200 grit Eagle Brand Sand Paper


Sand Area With 1200 Grit Paper


20.... Wipe off excess water with towel.
21.... Buff the repair area with buffer and polishing compound until the finish of the repair area closely matches the rest of the boat.


Buff With Buffer



22.... Apply 3M Finesse-It II Finishing Material wet and rub on with buffer. This step will remove swirl marks caused by initial buffing. (do not allow finishing material to dry before buffing)
23.... Rub on marine paste wax. Let the wax stand for 5 minutes and wipe off by hand.


Wax and Inspect


Gel Coat Repair Completed


Written by Amy Mauzy, Malibu Boats PR Director

In cooperation with Malibu Boats Employee/ Owners:
Artemio Aguilar, Detail Supervisor
Rob Falk, Customer Service Manager
Mike Sanchez, Warranty/ Customer Service Rep.
Bryan Munday, Technical Service Director / Special Projects Engineer



Article Submitted By Malibu Boats

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