Deck Cracks

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Mar 18, 2006
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Sandwich/Pembroke. MASS
I am presently looking at a 1992 21 foot center console and love the boat it is in great condition however I noticed that about 1 foot in front of center console/seat there is a slight crack about 1.5 feet long that seems to be over a stringer because there is a slight hump, or could this be the edge of the gas tank. The deck seems very solid however is this something to be concerned about before I buy. Any help is much appreciated
It would bother me to have a crack in the deck. I would want it repaired. I had a 2000 Parker 21 SE that had a 14" crack along the gunwale and spider cracks in the foredeck on both sides of the anchor locker. The non skid floor also blistered and peeled in about 75 places. I talked to my dealer and they did not have a fiberglass man at that time who they thought could repair the non skid foredeck.

I talked to Linwood Parker and he said that Parkers rarely have issues with cracks, but mine did. Coordinating with my dealer and Linwood, arrangements were made to have it repaired between two fishing trips to Harker's Island in the fall.

The boat was repaired on time for me to fish the second week as planned. The unfortunate thing is that the foredeck cracked agian. It went back to Parker again and I made it clear I wanted more than a cosmetic fix. I wanted them to find out what was causing the cracks and do a structural repair. They did and I later sold it to a friend. The cracks never returned. The boat looks like new today.

This is not a bash of Parker. I love their boats for what I do and bought a 2004 23 SE.

The point is that any boat can have problems and I would not buy one that had cracks in the deck. I would want them repaired or a significant reduction in price so I could get the work done.

BTW the crack in the boat you are considering could be a very minor thing. The gel could have been a little heavy in that spot causing the crack. It could be very shallow and just in the gel. Nevertheless, I would want it fixed.
the description isnt enough to diagnose it.....gelcoat is much more brittle than the underlying laminate.....ergo, loads and shocks which are
taken in stride by the laminate will crack the gelcoat.......a single episode
of fat albert jumping into the boat could have done that....that is NOT a mfr defect by any means......conversely, if the underlying laminate is
either insufficient by specification or insufficient by poor workmanship
(it wasnt rolled out fully), then the first SIGN of the boat`s inadequacy
will be gelcoat cracking........thus, gelcoat cracks , in fact , run the full
spectrum from inconsequential to catastrophic......

my recc is to engage the services of an experience and competent
SURVEYOR.....he or she will determine where you stand.....the cost is
commonly REVENUE-NEUTRAL, because if it is only superficial and cosme
tic, you cant just use superglue on it and avert a repair bill...if it is a laminate issue, his report will get the mfr plumbed up straight (vs your

oh, and dont forget, he/she may well find OTHER defects, which you
can remedy in advance of a failure, or can also have fixed at the mfr
at the same time (a twofer)......dan
QUATS54":3rjovhrm said:
... there is a slight hump ...
Unfortunately, the fact that there is a "slight hump" is enough to diagnose that water has indeed penetrated the core in that area. The wood gets wet, the woods swells - ergo the "bump". Even worse, the wood dries, the crack opens, the wood gets wet, goes deeper and the cycle repeats itself.

This isn't a deal breaker mind, but you must do 2 things; 1) find out "what" the source of the crack is/was and (2) get it fixed.

#1 - It could have been a structural impact from above, or worse, it could be from below (stringer). Now, placing it where you did, just ahead of the console, is where I would expect that boat to impact the waves. So, it could be the boat flexing. I have seen this a lot on older Mako CCs. Parkers are made tougher that Makos, so I wouldn't worry too much about it provided you get it fixed.

Problem is ... gelcoat has a tensile strength 10 times that of the glass substrate. So, the hull flexes on the wave impact ... but the gelcoat doesn't. This is the most common form of stress crack and they are always parallel to the force, i.e., in this case, fore to aft, as the boat takes the waves on the bow.

At best, stress cracks like this are cosmetic issues, but when not fixed, they can lead to strucural damage like you have now seen.

#2 - If tis is the boat you want, get an independent glass guy or surveyor to check it out. Its something I could fix myself, but I can't properly diagnose it via cyber space, as Dry Doc alluded to. So get someone good, get references, just don't call the 1st number in the phonebook. You don't say where you're from, but if you give us an idea, we might be able to help you much better.

You could also confirm the stringer location by getting the HIN number off the starboard stern top and contacting Parker Marine for the deck layout info for that specific hull number.

Note - if the seller won't deal with this, I'd knock at least $1K off the asking price. If he won't deal ... walk away ... or run Forrest, run.

Now, also go to the boat and get inside with a plastic and/or wood mallet. "Knock" fore, aft, inside and outside along that crack. When over the stringer, yes the sound will be more solid. You do not want to hear any "soft" sound. Most important ... do the other side in the same place and same way and position your own body in the same way. This should give you and idea from one side of the boat to the other.

Please let us know how you make out ... and if you can take pictures, I could better advise you on a repair. Another thing, see if there's any screws on that side holding down the console - remove them if the owner lets you or doesn't see you ... if screws, see if they are in sound material and securely held. If close enough to the humped area, if might tell how far the water has spread, and believe me it can spread far and wide, but, that is more so on larger and deeper cracks that are totally neglected. Enough for now ... good luck!
Wow, Thanks to all of you for your indepth advice, it is very helpful. I will be going back to see the boat this week at the boatyard where I am having a mechanic look at the engine. I will try to get some pictures up of the crack. According to the owner it has been there for quite a while(years) and he inquired with his own parker dealer about it before he Awl gripped the deck. The dealer stated that it was probably cosmetic and probably the result of fat albert jumping in that spot. But obviously this is something I really want to get an answer on before making an offer. Thanks again you guys and stay tuned!