Companionway Installation: Part 12 – Taco Marine Project Boat on Ship Shape TV

Ship Shape TV

These old style doors and smokey transparent acrylic lid get updated.

This how-to video clip from Ship Shape TV provides tips on updating or replacing the companionway in an older boat. From redoing the glide rails, to replacing the doors, to selecting the best materials and hardware, this video provides helpful insights.

lid for companionway

Older lids were transparent to let light through but did not provide privacy.

glide rail

The video below shows what to do with the old companion lid glide rails, hardware and how to select more durable and practical companionway materials for your boat.



Rub Rail Installation: Part 11 – Taco Marine Project Boat on Ship Shape TV

rub rail selection tipsRub rail selection and installation. In our latest Taco Marine Project Boat video, the first 4 minutes is about selecting rub rail that best fits the size of your boat and the different choices in materials. The second half of the video provides tips on installation to make the rub rail project go a little quicker and how to create a better seal against water intrusion.

Rub rail selection

Watch the video below for rub rail installation tips on measuring, caulking, attaching, bending and trimming rub rail.

Click here for Taco Marine’s handy rub rail replacement selection guide.

Painting the Deck and Hull: Part 10 – Taco Marine Project Boat on Ship Shape TV

Putty for fiberglass boats

Applying a special putty to smooth out the fiberglass repair.

Part 10, of the Taco Marine Project Boat,  is filled with prepping and painting tips. Before painting the deck, a product called Super Poly-Fill putty was used over some exposed structural fiberglass in the splash well to provide a smoother surface for the paint. It sanded real easy and Ship Shape TV was able to paint over the top of it. If you have some micro scratches in your gelcoat, they recommend Gelcoat Putty that’s used for that finer type of repair. But if you need to repair below the water line, it’s best to use Trowel-On Epoxy Putty which is resistant to osmotic blistering for a more permanent solution.

Painting a boat with a roller or spray?

Ship Shape TV spray painted the Taco Marine Project Boat versus using a roll-on method.

When it came time to painting, we learned a few tips from Ship Shape TV and other vendors that you might find helpful; from priming to sealing, to sand or not sand, to roll-on or spray-on the paint finish. It all depends on your needs and application, watch the 5 minute video below for some helpful information.

Stringers, Bulkheads and Fuel Tanks: Part 9 – Taco Marine Project Boat on Ship Shape TV

boat stringers and bulkheadsBefore installing the new custom fuel tanks into the Taco Marine Project Boat, issues with the stringers and bulkheads were addressed. The rotted wood inside the stringers was replaced with a resin infused marine fir plywood, then they were fiberglass attached to the back of the transom. An additional stringer was added Taco Marine Project Boat stringer addd between fuel tanksbetween the two fuel tanks to support the deck so it complies with current Coast Guard regulations – which mandates for safety reasons, that the deck cannot use a fuel tank for structural support.

The video below, (edited from Ship Shape TV), provides tips on types of materials we used and changes in structural requirements since the boat was originally built.


Boat’s Fuel Tanks Leak. Now What? Part 8 – Taco Marine Project Boat on Ship Shape TV

A leaky fuel tank needs to be fixed or replacedHaving fuel tanks that leak fuel is wasteful and dangerous. To test for leaks the TNT Custom Boatworks staff pressurized the Taco Marine Project Boat’s fuel tanks with 3 lbs. of air pressure and then went around the seams and weld joints with a soapy paint brush. Notice all the pin hole leaks causing bubbles around the seams. Older boats in use may have similar leak issues, so it is a good idea to have your boat checked. If left un-addressed, fuel leaks are bad for the environment and could be dangerous if not repaired. With the Taco Marine Project Boat going to a future owner, we chose to have new tanks made versus repairing the pin-holes. Make sure your new fuel tanks are built by a certified tank manufacturer so they meet specific US Coast Guard requirements. Check to see if your current fuel tanks have a seal or placard with a US Coast Guard Approval designation.

Boat fuel tanks are typically made from different gauges of aluminum, from 1/8th inch to 1/4 inch, depending on the sizFuel-Coatinge – in gallons, of your tank. An option for more protection to help prevent fuel tank leaks in the future, is to have them powder-coated, shown here on the left. With the boat being upgraded to best possible state, we opted to have our new tanks powder coated

Watch the video (Part 8), to see how the new fuel tanks were built and the options we had as the manufacturing process took place.


boat fuel level sensor

A couple of fuel tank sensor unit options discussed in the video are the Rochester Arm Sender unit that has been used for decades, and a Wema Fuel Level Sensor that slides up and down.

Fuel tank sensor

Coming Soon, a New Episode of the Taco Marine Project Boat: Fuel Tanks

Taco Marine

Discussing the fuel tank design for proper function of filling and venting the fuel.

Because of the harsh marine environment, fuel tanks may corrode and cause tiny pin holes that create fuel leak problems –  problems that you may never see, but ones you’re able to smell. To help prevent that corrosion, the Taco Marine Project Boat’s fuel tanks were also upgraded with a powder coated exterior surface. Watch how a high-end boat fuel tank is made by TNT Custom Boatworks, one of our industry partners.

Coming soon, the Taco Marine Project Boat, Part 8; Fuel Tanks.

Replacing the Transom: Part 7 – Taco Marine Project Boat on Ship Shape TV

What is a do-it-yourself project without a glitch every now and then. The Taco Marine Project Boat ran into just that – after removing the motors and inspecting the transom, we discovered the transom’s interior plywood core lacked structural integrity and was beyond repair. The solution?

DIY - replacing the transom on a boat

Completely remove the entire transom and replace it: Fiberglass hulls need extra reinforcement and the transom is one of the main areas requiring added strength. Transoms most often consist of layers of plywood, cut to shape and bonded in place with resin, and then apply more layers of fiberglass and resin. With Inboard/Outboard installation, a big hole is cut through the transom, and many times holes are drilled into the transom to mount swim ladders, transducers or other accessories. When the sealant fails around these holes, water begins to leak into the plywood core, causing it to rot and delaminate.

This boat transom needs replacing

Cut, grind and sand: In our project boat, we cut away and ground out the layers of fiberglass, to completely take the transom’s plywood core out. We carefully chiseled off any remaining pieces of plywood bonded to the hull and then sanded with 80-grit sandpaper to make bonding the new transom in place much easier.  DIY tip: Use an artist’s foam board material to make a pattern for the new transom. It doesn’t need to be exact, as any little gaps get filled in when the new transom is bonded in place.

replace a rotten transom with composite materialAttaching the new transom: We opted to use Coosa Composites structural panels because they don’t rot, are light weight and they have the structural properties of fiberglass. Coosa Composites materials utilize the latest knitted fiberglass and woven raw materials – making it an excellent replacement for wood and other traditional core marine materials. Next, bond the transom in place using resin and proper fillers.

The next step is to inspect the stringer grid, bulkheads and core materials by removing the deck for a thorough inspection. To see Parts 1-6 of the Taco Marine Project Boat and other helpful DIY tips, click the links in the right column.