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Boating - - BOAT DOCTOR | Q&A -

Q:

Hi Boat Doc­tor. We left our swim lad­der down after tak­ing a dip at a lo­cal beach. When we took off, we heard a bang and looked back to see our lad­der hang­ing on by one bracket. Sev­eral screws pulled out of the fiber­glass swim plat­form. There is no way to get in­side the swim plat­form, so through-bolt­ing is out. A friend rec­om­mended in­sert­ing dow­els into the holes in or­der for the screws to bite. Would you agree with this?

Kate and Bobby Winslow Is­lam­orada, Florida

A:

I’ve never been a fan of the dowel method. It’s quick, cheap and ef­fec­tive in the short term. It’s a good field re­pair. But dow­els are all end grain and don’t last long once they get wet.

In­stead, I’ll sug­gest a prod­uct and a tech­nique. The prod­uct is called Tog­gler by Gare­lick/ EEz-In (gare­lick.com), and they are spe­cial bolts for blind fas­ten­ing. In­tended for se­cur­ing seats onto cockpit soles, they are very se­cure and work well. I would rec­om­mend these for your lad­der re­pair. These are sized for ¼-20-size bolts, so you may have to drill out the holes on your lad­der bracket. A half-inch hole must be drilled to use them.

Al­ter­na­tively, drill the holes out to four times their di­am­e­ter. Fill the holes with thick­ened epoxy resin or a pre-made epoxy patch such as the Pet­tit EZ Tex re­viewed on this page. Once cured, drill a hole and tap threads for the ap­pro­pri­ate-size ma­chine screw.

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