Help! Serious structural problem?

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Well-known member
Aug 22, 2006
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Long Island North Shore
:cry: I just came in from playing hooky and taking a nice fall cruise. When I went to turn off my battery switch I noticed a wicked crack in the bilge. It appears there is actual fiberglass missing and am concerned that water is entering through the crack. It is located in the lower left corner as you face the bilge pump, just before the raised platform where the batteries sit. Similar hairline cracks appear in the same spot on the right side without going all the way through. This is a 2006 2520XL with less than 30 hours on her and she has never seen rough water (yet). I have a call in to my dealer but would appreciate any feedback you experts may have. See pics attached.


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I definitely would have noticed this before as I regularly inspect my bilge whenever I turn the batteries on/off. The boat was bought brand new. Here's the photo with as much scope as I captured today.


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Have you shown it to your dealer yet?
That would be the first place I'd go to have an evaluation done.
Hard to tell from the pic, but it looks like it is on the raised plate for the batteries, and not the the hull itself. If that perception is not correct, then correct it with more pics and text.

As others have said, get it back to the dealer for an eval.
Dealer issue ... I'd say. Parker builds a tough boat, but I'd guesstimate to crack at that location, I'd wonder if the tail end of the boat dropped sometime in its life after it left the factory. But it also could be that you or someone else running the boat hit something hard afoat in the water too.

This is just my guessing, by looking at the location, but "if" dropped, like she slipped off the trailer duriing a test launch and landed on her "bottom", that shelf forms a solid ridge up against which the bottom would flex and compress.

Please take a look at the bottom of the hull and see if you can evidence where she took a hit from the outside. But again, the damage could have been caused by hitting something in the water (not that YOU yourself were running the boat at the time. Knowing how tough the Parker layup is, I'd say it's repairable, but be prepared for a survey to truly assess the damage. while it looks cosmetic, from your picture, I'd still opine it was caused by a serious bang to her ass end ...
I'm not a fiberglass guru, but after looking at that photo again, that almost looks like a spot where gelcoat might have puddled in the mold.
If that is the case, the problem would be largely cosmetic and easilly repaired.

I'd be interested in what the dealer has to say.
After looking at the pics again and again, I have to agree with Dale, that it appears to be in the hull, not the battery mounting plate, and that the hull took some kind of external blow. Look for external marks.

Maybe it fell off the blocks while the hauler was unloading it at the dealer, while the dealer was rigging it, or hauling it around to boat shows. I can't imagine that it left the factory that way. I've visitied the factory, and they seem very anal about polishing out blemishes in the gelcoat and making sure the boats meet high standards before they let them go.

Did you order it from the factory, or was it already in the showroom when you made the purchase? The boats in the showroom get moved around a lot, get hauled to/from boat shows, and get put into the water for sea trials.
I spoke to my dealer who saw the pics as well. He insists that this is purely cosmetic - a result of excessive pooling of the gelcoat and that he has seen this before. He says they will grind and replace the gelcoat as they are storing the boat for me over the winter. I asked if I should temporarily seal the breach with some silicone until then but was advised not to. I may put some tape over it anyway to prevent any possible water intrusion.
I'll be surprised to see any hull damage when she gets hauled on Nov. 13th as the boat certainly didn't take any hits under my watch. It was bought new but already on the dealer lot. I would think that a hit sustained before delivery would have made itself visible before now.
I'll report back when the boat gets hauled in 2 weeks as well as the dealers' findings once the gelcoat has been removed to confirm that there is no damage to the underlying fiberglass. Thanks for your input. Stay tuned...
I have to remark that, especially from the view of the greatest enlargement, it looks like we are seeing some really thick gelcoat alright, and gelcoat is really brittle; try driving a screw in a drilled hole when you haven't enlarged the portion of the hole as it passes through the gelcoat, by countersinking or some such. It seems to me that if that were evidence of a structural impact on the bottom, the crack would be opened up more than that, and there would be clearly obvious evidence on the bottom. I wonder though, if something got dropped on that area that might have caused the gelcoat to crack. Nothing big enough to even approach structural damage though, or we'd be seeing the dent. Could be some weird kind of shrinkage of overly thick gelcoat too, I guess.

Here's hoping for the best possible outcome-
My '92 had the batteries installed on the shelf seen there ... did yours? If so, someone could have 'dropped' a 50-pound battery.

My only reservation against "gelcoat pooling" is that these boats are made UPSIDE-DOWN in the mold. How the heck could something pool there 'unless' it is excess gelcoat from adhesion of the battery shelf :?: ?

Please let us know what you learn and find out ...
DaleH":v03g4qfw said:
My only reservation against "gelcoat pooling" is that these boats are made UPSIDE-DOWN in the mold.

True that... but if you think about it, the boats are built inside out.
Exterior gelcoat is sprayed in the waxed mold, then the hand-laid glass is put in, then finish gelcoat is sprayed in the bilge area to finish it.

The top cap is a separate piece and is mated with the hull later.

Gelcoat is quite thin and can easilly puddle in a low spot like that if it's applied a little too heavilly.

I'd sure love to be there when the dealer hits it with the grinder as I'm still betting it's cosmetic as he says.

Good for you that your dealer is stepping up to repair it though. Please let us know the outcome.
Pooling gelcoat? I don't buy it one bit. :(

I'm with Dale on this one. There's been some sort of impact to cause a crack like that. I'm betting you've got close to an inch of solid glass in that location. Under normal use, there should be zero flex there.

My advice is to hire a surveyor to inspect the boat. They can give you an unbiased opinion as to what the extent of the damage is, and what the possible cause was.
Beg to differ, but the mold is on its side. They spray the gelcoat, rotate the mold to the other side, spray the gelcoat, and when it is cured, they start laying the resin, roving, and glass sheets. Transom gets added along the way. The mold gets rocked from one side to the other as they build up the hull from the outside in. Once cured, it is popped out of the mold and put on a wheeled dolly. Then the stringers fuel tank, and cockpit sole get added,. Once the hull is finished, the gelcoat we see on the inside of the hull is sprayed. So the gelcoat we are looking at was sprayed when the hull was right-side-up. It certainly could have pooled.

The deck (cabin, gunwhales, etc.) get built upside down.

I'd still check the outside for evidence of a strike.
I should probably soften the opening line of my last post. It comes across a little harsh, which was not my intention.

In Feb of 2002, I went to the factory with my dad (the original Porkchunker) and Robin gave us a tour. I asked a lot of questions and saw just about every stage of the boats being built. comments were based on first-hand observations.

BTW, I've never seen so many patterns. Every piece of cloth, roving, stringer, wire, etc. gets traced from a pattern, cut, and stacked in a certain order. First used piece/part is at the top of the stack and they work down. It is amazing to watch them work. Pieces/parts fit to the width of flea's leg. It is truly an efficient operation. My hat is off to the "systems engineer" who helps them streamline every action.