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On Blisters and Warranties

From Our Letters Section

These are just a few of the letters we've received from new boat owners. Their boats have either blistered, or the manufacturer recommends that they not keep the boat in the water long.

Not keep the boat in the water long? What should they do, put wheels on it? Sounds sort of like an auto manufacturer telling customers not to drive their cars in the rain because they will melt if they get wet.

We thought you would be interested in the boat builder's responses, particularly as respects the warranty.


I'm a new Crownline boat owner and I've been reading your excellent articles at your web home page, especially as concerns hull blistering. I hope this innovation in communication brings much new business your way.

Next year, I plan to dock my boat in a marina in fresh water for approximately 6 months with ccasional removal to trailer elsewhere for a few days at a time. During the times that the boat is out of the water, I will thoroughly wash it down and wax the hull.

However, I have become concerned because my Owner's Manual states the following:

"If your boat will be in water continuously for two or more weeks, Crownline Boats, Inc. recommends sealing the hull bottom with a high quality barrier coating. Unsealed gelcoat may form water blisters. Repair of water blister damage is not covered under the Crownline Boats, Inc.   Warranty."

Elsewhere, Crownline's recommendation for gelcoat maintenance involves using a fiberglass wax that is capable of filling gelcoat pores - with the implication that this is the way to avoid blisters.

QUESTIONS:  Given your opinion that blisters are usually caused by inferior materials and poor workmanship, is the above warranty statement a manufacturer copout?

Do you have any opinion on whether I would have the ability to enforce the warranty if I don't follow their barrier coating  instructions?  Should I follow their instructions and barrier-coat the hull?

I am resisting the barrier coating method because it appears to be messy if not done correctly, unnecessarily expensive, and I'm afraid the end result will grossly detract from the appearance of the boat.


Here's another one:

I purchased a 1995 19ft Caravelle runabout that was being brokered by a caravelle dealer in April of 1996. This boat had 16 hours on the hour meter and comes with a 5 year hull warranty. The summer passed and upon removal of the boat at the end of October I found to my surprise thousands of bubbles on the hull. When I contacted Caravelle and they told me they do not recommend leaving the boat in the water for a extended amount of time, in this case the boat was in the water about 3 months. They then proceeded to tell me this was not covered by the warranty. What should I do? Sue caravelle or the boat dealer which told me at the time of purchase that told me this boat was 100% covered by warranty?

Thanks for any help you can offer

And another . . . .

Dear Mr. Pascoe,

I have been reading your articles regarding boat blistering and find it refreshing to know that I am not crazy. I purchased a new Sanger V210 Ski Boat in May of 1996. I moor the boat for the ski season, typically May-Sept on a fresh water lake, (Lake Arrowhead, Ca.). During that time, I remove the boat, periodically, to take ski vacations to the nearby, Colorado River. After the boat was in the water for the first season, I noticed small pimple like blisters had developed all along the hull below the waterline after removing it at the end of the season, Oct. 96. I notified the dealer that sold the boat to me and he said the blisters sometimes happen and that it was not covered under the manufacturers warranty. Upon the advise of my insurance carrier, Boat US., I had a marine surveyor survey the boat. He determined the blisters were a result of a defect during the manufacturing process. The manufacturer eventually agreed to repair it, under warranty. I do not know what the specifics of the repair were.

The following season, I put the boat back in the same lake, May of 1997. I used the boat the same way for the season and removed it in Oct. of 1997. Much to my surprise, the blisters had returned, consistent to my previous experience. I took it back to the dealer but this time they refuse to fix it. I contacted an attorney that I know, and he sent a demand letter to them trying to get some action. This is not his specialty but he thinks I might be up the creek because the warranty excludes, gel coat. Do you have any advise for me? I live in Southern California. It looks like I may need to sue them. I don't want to spend thousands of dollars to fight this but it isn't right! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


And another:

Dear Mr. Pascoe,
I have just discovered your web-site & have spent many hours devouring the wealth of information that you have provided. I was particularly interested in your reply to the owner of a Crownline boat enquiring about the "blister warranty restriction". I purchased a new Chaparral 2335SS last April, it had all features that I needed for touring the Great Lakes area of Ontario. I understood it to be of above average in quality of construction (probably not up to your standards) but on looking at the manual I find that I have the same restrictions as the Crownline owner:-

<If your boat will be in the water continuously for the majority of the boating season, Chaparral recommends sealing the hull bottom with a high quality barrier coating. Repairing water blister damage is not covered under the Chaparral Boat Warranty.> [Italics ours]

Updated 01/27/98



David Pascoe Power Boat Books Visit for his power boat books

David Pascoe - Biography

David Pascoe is a second generation marine surveyor in his family who began his surveying career at age 16 as an apprentice in 1965 as the era of wooden boats was drawing to a close.

Certified by the National Association of Marine Surveyors in 1972, he has conducted over 5,000 pre purchase surveys in addition to having conducted hundreds of boating accident investigations, including fires, sinkings, hull failures and machinery failure analysis.

Over forty years of knowledge and experience are brought to bear in following books. David Pascoe is the author of:

In addition to readers in the United States, boaters and boat industry professionals worldwide from nearly 80 countries have purchased David Pascoe's books, since introduction of his first book in 2001.

In 2012, David Pascoe has retired from marine surveying business at age 65.

On November 23rd, 2018, David Pascoe has passed away at age 71.

Biography - Long version



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