Subject: (New Boat Rot Prevention)
Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2000
I have read your article with interest. I recently purchased a 1998 Champion Bass boat (tournament model 181). Champion claims that they rot proof their stringers and transom by encapsulating in fiberglass cloth. Their boats have a good reputation, but after reading your web page I am worried. Many other brands of bass boats have gone to what they claim are all composite, but there is not much information to purchasers as to what this means__composites eg foam or other cell materials can decompose as well. I have looked for areas that you suggest—though holes and fittings and none show exposed wood, but the important areas where the stringers are totally covered by carpeted decking and not visible. Can you suggest from your customers’ experience where I should consider protecting my Champion from rot with CPES?
If you had said that it was a 1988 boat then I would have given you a series of tests to perform to see exactly what condition the stringers were in. But for a 1998 boat I think you have little to worry about. I would take Champion’s claims seriously, to the extent that they did all they could to prevent rot.
If there is wood inside the stringers then eventually there will be rot, no matter what they did. But it will take at least 10 years before you see any signs at all, if then. If none of the holes, fitting locations etc show no exposed wood then you are in pretty good shape. This shows good attention to detail by Champion. The high-volume, mass production boat builders do not do this very conscientiously and so the rot gets a good head start.
Foam and cellular material are not often used structurally, but for flotation purposes, according to regulations imposed by the government. I wouldn’t be concerned about them.
Keep the boat covered, but with plenty of ventilation, so that there are not so many opportunities for temperatures and moisture levels to reach levels where the rot fungi thrive.
Enjoy the boat. If 10 years from now you see something suspicious, come on back to me and I’ll tell you what to do.