Rib boat maintenance | Repair and restore your RIB boat using those 9 easy steps!


There is a saying that two happiest days in the life of a boat owner are the day when they buy the boat and the day they sell it. And that is quite true. I know this from a personal experience.

You sell your used boat and you buy a new one. And a new boat is without any doubts better. 
However, there is something beautiful about a perfectly maintained used boat. In this article I am going to explain the tips and tricks that should make your rib boat maintenance much easier. And save some money while doing it.

My RIB boat (sold) had a fiberglass bow. So this article is going to cover the fiberglass and a RIB boat as well.
This guide is mostly written to help the responsible boat owners (YOU – since you’re reading this). Meaning, you plan to take care of your boat. Pull it out of the water when the season is over, unlike my father who keeps his boat in the water the entire year. 
This would make your boat look like it’s been trough a lot. No matter the brand.

So let’s get started.


The boating season is over.
Prepare your high pressure washer and call the crane.
Once the crane lifts it up clean the underwater area with a high pressure washer. You shouldn’t delay this operation.
It is much easier to clean the antifouling with a high pressure washer when its not dried out for months on the dry dock. So do it right away. And do it thoroughly.
Why? The better you clean it with a high pressure washer, less work you will have later. It is much easier to work with a high pressure washer than sanding the anti-fouling.
You should also clean the engine area from the shells with the hydrochloric acid. 


Everything starts with the list. Your rib boat maintenance should as well.
Start from the bow, moving slowly towards the stern of the boat while inspecting everything on the boat. Write down everything that requires fixing on a peace of paper.
My RIB boat had a fiberglass bow. So I wrote down:

  1.  Fix gel coat scratches.
  2.  Sand the teak wood floor.
  3.  Clean and restore the rubber.
  4.  etc..

The list may sound silly to you and you can do it without it. However, I believe it makes the process much easier and it helps you not to skip anything. 
Once you fix something, simply scratch of the completed task from the list. By the time you reach the end of the list, your list will be scratched, but your boat won’t be.


It is time to roll up your sleeves and GET INTO IT.
I suggest taking on the dirtiest jobs first.
I like to start with the gel-coat.
First I inspect all the gel-coat parts of the boat and mark every scratch that needs to be repaired with a waterproof marker. After that you will need a Dremel Tool or something similar. 
You will need to deepen the scratches with a Dremel tool so the gel-coat can have some “grip” to hold on. Otherwise, it would simply fall off after you filled it in.
Once you deepen all of the scratches, you need to clean them with acetone to remove all the dust from it.

It is time to fill up the scratches. To do this you will need a gel-coat and a thickener. I recommend getting the original gel-coat for your boat from the manufacturer. In case you can’t get your hands on the original gel-coat for your boat, go to the paint shop and get the common one that they recommend.
Of course, the color must be same or similar. You can get a thickener in the paint shop as well.

For the needed tools, I usually take a small container and a finest painting brush I can find.
I mix a bit of gel-coat with a few drops of thickener (2-3%). And that’s it.
Now all you need to do is carefully fill up all the holes and scratches. (Note: Some holes or scratches may be too deep for one filling. Deeper holes will usually need to be filled twice. Just wait till the first layer dries off and fill in the next one.).

Another trick you can do to make your job a bit easier is to put a scotch tape over the gel-coat fillings. This will flatten the fillings a bit so you will have less material to sand.
After it dries of, remove the scotch tape and start sanding.
Get the waterproof sanding paper and start sanding using the roughest granulation first, moving up to the finer paper(Note: Once you get to 600 you should use water while sanding.).

I recommend hand sanding in circles. If you are not experienced and you decide to use a sanding machine you might press too hard and do more harm than good.
Therefor, get a small wooden block, place your sanding paper over it and start sanding. The roughest granulation paper is simply to flatten the surface. After you’ve flatten the surface you need to go wider and wider with each next granulation paper so the circle scratches from previous sanding don’t show.
For example you can use: 200 – 240 – 280 – 320 – 400 – 500 – 600 (User water from now on) – 800 – 1000 – 1500 – 2000.

Once you finish the sanding and you polish the boat, it will look like it’s factory made.


I decided to restore the teak wood floor next since I think the rubber is the most delicate part and I recommend leaving it for the last part.
Grab the high pressure washer and clean the teak wood floor. No need to worry, the high pressure cleaner is not going it dig out the grouting. Of course, unless it is a professional one with too much pressure in it.
I don’t recommend using that one.
But I use a Karcher K7 mini-wash. It is the strongest unprofessional high pressure washer.
Set it to straight (Not rotate) and clean the teak wood going along the lines. 
Once the teak wood dries off you can grab the sanding machine. I use metabo sanding tools. Follow the wood line while sanding.
For the first granulation paper you can use 80. After that you can use 120 for finishing. Once you get near the sides of the boat use your hands for sanding. Don’t do it with the machine or you might scratch your boat.
After you finish sanding the teak wood floor clean it again with the high pressure cleaner.

Note: There is no need to sand the teak wood floor if it is not coarse. Just clean it with a high pressure cleaner. each sanding session makes the teak wood layer thinner.


It’s time to fix and/or replace everything that is not working properly. That speaker that doesn’t work. The navigation light or a broken sounder. The corroded safety fuse.
Whatever it is, it is time to replace it. Same goes for the lost or damaged cushion, cup holders, bimini top, etc.
Sure, it might be just a small peace of equipment that you think no one cares about as long as it doesn’t affect your boating experience. And you’re right.
But once you add up all of those small damaged parts together it makes a difference between a good looking boat and an old junk.
If you are not good with wiring, I recommend calling an expert to do it for you.
It might cost a bit more, but SIMRAD GO 7 costs 1000€ so it is better to be safe than sorry.


First wash your boat using a simple sponge and some shampoo. After you wash it and it dries off get your buffing machine. When I bought my first boat I was on a budget. Back then, I’ve used a Skil polisher.
It may not be the best one but it is light on the hands and it gets the job done. Today I use Rupes – much better tools. There are a lot of manufacturers on the market with a wide range of tools, you can pick the one that suits you and your budget.
I use a green 3M paste for polishing.
The buffing process is easy. Put a 3M paste on your buffer sponge and with a turned off polisher spread it over approx. 1.5m width of gel-coat. Applying the compound over the whole hull and then buffing it is the wrong approach. The compound would dry off long before you’re finished and it would not work. To do it properly, the compound (the paste) must be wet. That’s the reason we do it piece by piece. 

Start the polisher, put it on the lower speed (1 or 2), and spread evenly on the surface.
For the next step turn it up a notch (3) and start polishing.
I don’t recommend high speeds on the machine as it might burn the gelcoat.  
After you finish polishing the chosen area wipe it with a dry rag to remove the excess polish paste. Do it right away so the compound doesn’t dry off. It will be harder to get rid off later if it does.

Note: If you have parts to polish near your water line, you need to put the crep tape over the anti-fouling. If you go over your anti-fouling with your polisher by accident, it will dirt your gel-coat.

For the engine cover, I use the purple (finer) 3M paste. Also, you need to get a softer sponge for the purple paste.


It is finally time to clean the tubes. I like to do this the last because because of tubes waxing. To wax the tubes, they must be perfectly clean. If you clean the tubes and buff or sand afterwards the tubes will get dirty again. Waxing the dirty tubes will seal the dirt underneath the wax and make it look worse. 

For cleaning and restoring the tubes I use Gommo Strip or Forte by Veneziani, Euromeci. 
And it works perfectly. The instructions to use it are on the labels.


After you clean it all with Gommo Strip or Forte, it should restore your tubes to the original condition.
Once the tubes dry off completely apply the Gommowax by Euromezi.
It will seal and protect your tubes from the dirt and the sun radiation.
The summer in Croatia is hot and the sun radiation is pretty strong.

Joker RIB Boat tubes renewal we did for a client


This step is quite simple. Put 3M paste on the peace of rug and start rubbing.
Wipe it again with a clean piece of rug once you finish.
This type of finishing really lifts up the general look.


Wash the boat once more (Yes I know. But it’s needed because of the dirt from the tubes.).
After the boat dries grab a pint of teak oil and a brush.
Put on the teak oil and let it soak up. There are usually instructions on how to use it on the container.
You can also use a teak sealer. Teak sealer is a bit better than the teak oil as it provides a better protection from the sun.
But be careful when buying the teak sealer. Some of them have pigment in it and it might give your teak wood an unnatural color. I’m not a big fan of that.

Once everything is completed, cover your boat for the winter. Don’t leave it uncovered as all the work you’ve done will go to waste.
If you are planning to get the mechanics to inspect the engine and winterize it, I recommend doing it before you start the repairs.
They have the tendency to dirt everything 😉

Here are some pictures of my RIB boat, Maestral 745, before and after.

boat repair rib boat repair

Used rib boatRib boat maintenance

rib boatMaestral 745 RIB

You can always rent a boat. Especially on vacation.
But even though boat maintenance is not easy It is an amazing feeling being a boat owner.
To take the boat out for the first time, take your friends and family on a boat trip.

It’s important to keep in mind that if you do a lot of things by yourself and you do them right – you can save up a lot of time and money.

Mario Mise

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About Me

I fell in love with boating from a young age. As a kid, I used to cruise around in my father’s old speed boat. Now, many years later, boating is no longer child’s play. I run a serious boat rental business. My goal is to build a boat charter where every guest we get feels like a part of our small family. 

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