Aluminum boats are a staple of the boating industry and is exceedingly durable requiring a minimum of maintenance. They will tolerate being dragged out of lakes on the keel repeatedly and carried on the back of a pickup truck or gently pulled out of the water on a boat trailer. Aluminum boats
are found in a variety of sizes and shapes both painted and unpainted. Typically, outside of routine maintenance, the only repair ever needed on an aluminum boat will be to stop a leak if one occurs. Like leaks in a house roof, leaks in aluminum boats can sometimes be hard to find since the location of the water inside isn't always seen where the water is actually entering. Techniques for finding the site of the leak and methods to fix it will be discussed. The repair tips discussed in this article apply to most aluminum craft but for the sake of simplicity the comments will be specifically directed towards open V bow or flat bow jon boats.
Most leaks in aluminum boats occur at the rivets rather than punctures due to rocks or sharp objects. Rivet leaks are typically not a result of a manufacturing problem but rather due to the rough handling of the boat or impacts with submerged objects such as rocks. While the source of the leak may be hard to find, rivet leaks are typically easier to patch then gashes since usually only one or two rivets will be found to be leaking. Depending on the size of a gash type leak it may be determined that taking the boat to a shop that does aluminum welding is the quickest way to secure a durable lasting repair. A variety of home based approaches may be tried on gash leaks less than 1" in length.