Harbor Seal ménage à trois or, Seal A Palooza. Oh my god. This group is so loud! There will be no sleep tonight.
Before I became a boat owner my experience with coatings was limited to the ones I used in my woodworking trade. Varnish, satin or gloss, stains, and the occasional latex painting of some crown molding or mantel piece. The addition of a boat into in my life quickly expanded my palette of coating options exponentially.
Polyurethane paints, oil based paint, two part epoxies of various viscosities (fillers, colloidal silica, microfibers), bottom paints, topside paints (one part, two parts), gel coats, fiberglass resins, hardeners, caulks that stick to wood, caulks that don’t stick to acrylic. I could go on. All of this was somewhat manageable in the relatively benign environment of the San Francisco Bay.
Fast forward to moving the boat to a harbor on the Pacific Ocean and the whole game changes from a fairly leisurely task to battle. Here is the realization I have come to after two years on the coast.
The salt air will etch window glass, it will, left unattended destroy any coating you put up against it. I realized this one day when I saw the two tools that have the misfortune of living outdoors, my compressor and my dock wagon, with their lovely factory baked on enamel finishes, had their coated surfaces literally explode.
So, lighten up. Learn as much as you can about coatings and applications but be prepared, the battle is on going. It will never end.
Did I mention seagulls?
While I love my Ryobi cordless tools for marine and land based carpentry there are a couple of tools that I have found irreplaceable by inexpensive tools. The first is the Festool Rotex 125 FEQ sander. I bought this sander several years ago when I was a bit flush (It is expensive). You can go from rough material to finish polish in minutes. Connected to a vacuum it is virtually dust free. This is an investment that will save you untold hours of labor and produce stunning results. Take the plunge and smile discreetly as you observe your neighbors toiling away with their vibrating sanders.
So what are the ideal qualities for a boat tool? Well, they should be compact for stowing, ideally they should be cordless (running extension cords around a boat is not particularly healthy) and they should not cost a lot of money! You don’t want to set yourself up for heartbreak when your 500.00 Festool drill falls in the water. You just want to spend enough so when it splashes you’re just mildly pissed off. These Ryobi cordless tools totally fit the bill. I have been using them extensively for a good six months now and they are lovely, holding up well and replaceable without breaking the bank. Excellent boat tools.