by Robert
(Olympia, WA)

We bought a 1944 coast guard cutter, 83', that someone tried to refit and build into a house boat.

She is in the water, but has some wood rot in places.

The basic hull is in good condition, as are the motors.

Right now we are trying to seal the deck before winter and rains start.

Any ideas would be welcome.

Comments for Alliance

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Nov 17, 2015
Wintering over
by: Dave S

The single photo looks like you have a single wide trailer on the hull.

I would like to add my 2 cents worth of advice but, only after seeing a series of photos.

An old swelling hull type absorbs as much as 1,500 lbs in soaking and bilge water for a hull that size.
This doesn't consider additional rains and snow melt.

This water has to go somewhere.
Either it is pumped overboard or it is evaporated into the surrounding structure.
Your goal should be to dry it out into the outside air.

Please add a series of photos.

Dave S

Mar 12, 2013
Update to Roofing Membrane Idea
by: Robert Adshead

Thought I'd update people that given I didn't want to put lots of water-repelling goo around the stanchions water managed to get in when heavy persistent rains came.

As such I put up some scaffold planks to make a ridge & covered the boat with super heavy duty tarpaulin.

The ridge was held in place and together with ratcheting cargo straps.

One end was suspended on top of a telescopic ladder with the ratchet straps holding the ladder plumb (the straps being attached to the mooring cleats at the back of the boat.

I then lashed bungee rope every couple of feet to provide flexible support for the tarp'.

Apart from having to shed some snow by hand this has kept my boat bone dry.

The roofing membrane is still on and means any condensation dripping off the underside of the tarp' is more or less kept off the boat and the wood can still breathe.

Nov 16, 2012


I have fitted new plywood then sheathed in fiberglass on my boat.

Seems to be ok.


Oct 20, 2012
Temporary Covering of decks
by: Robert Adshead (UK)

Hi, I'm restoring a 40' wooded motor yacht & as a temporary measure I covered the decks and coachroof with breathable roofing membrane.

This allows the wood to breathe & vapour to escape whilst preventing water from getting into the boat.

I stuck it down with hot melt glue and was very careful when covering the boat to ensure the fabric overlapped in a way that water would run-off rather than under the seam.

Think of roof tiles and how they overlap.

I also ensured the membrane extended over the side of the boat with a lip so that the water would drip down.

I have built wooden structures before with tarpaulin and the winter winds can tear them down unless they are massively constructed.

With the membrane stuck on the boat it is solidly supported and less liable to be torn to shreds like tarpaulin that will often flex no matter how taut it was when initially fixed.

Given the fabric has a life of 3-4 months in strong UV exposure I have covered it loosely with cheap tarpaulin that flaps about which lets air in under it but even if it rips or comes off in inevitable strong winds the deck is still watertight due to the breathable roofing membrane stuck to the boat.

So far the idea has proved itself & the boat is drying-out nicely with moisture readings that were off the scale now as low as 14%.

Sep 13, 2012
Deck Cover
by: Mike

The ideal protection would be some sort of ‘tent’ over her, just a roof open at the ends so that the rain is kept off but air is allowed to circulate.

Perhaps just tarpaulin hung from that ‘deck-shed’ to the gunwales?

But would this be feasible and safe while she is on her mooring?

I'm assuming that you have no immediate plans to haul her out.

There are various ‘paints’ that purport to seal decks such as the one suggested by Hugo in a comment on a similar question from Frankie about his "Mourne Lass".

Or one of the new so called water based epoxies such as the "Resolcoat 1010" that Ben was enquiring about.

The only problem with using any kind of coating would be cleaning it off afterwards should you want, eventually, to restore the planked deck to its original state.

Are you planning to do any work on her over the winter?

Just going on board regularly and opening her up will allow her to breathe and the air to circulate, and while you are there dry up any condensation and use some white vinegar to kill off any mildew.

Now is probably the best time to make a start on rectifying that wood rot.

Use an appropriate rot treatment to kill of any rot spores, especially from the surrounding wood.

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