A boating acquantance of mine (known as "SilverBullet" over at BoatingABC.Com) recently completed a very nice swim platform project on his boat, and he was nice enough to share it with Boat-Project.Com. He also asked that we recognize Bryan459 on BoatingABC.Com as he helped a great deal on this project.
Hats off to both of you for sharing this nice projet on a 2002 Cobalt 226.
One option my boat did not have was a factory installed swim platform. With an active family, this was a necessity. After looking at what was available, I chose one from SwimPlatforms.Com. The cost of this platform was around $1,500 - which was more attractive to me than the $4,000 swim plaftorm from Cobalt. The all fiberglass swim platform from SwimPlatforms.Com weighs about 90 lbs and is "conservatively" rated for 600 pounds, and they are custom built one-at-a-time.
The swim platform arrived in a crate the size of a 4X8 sheet of plywood. It was 90 bounds plus 230 pounds for the crate. When it comes to offloading, the truck that came out to deliver mine had a lift gate to bring it down. They are not kidding when they talk about the packing. Got the crate opened up and there is a swim platform in there. Nearly everything is through bolted. There are 6 screws that are drilled through that are holding the insert in. Before I mount it I am going to pull those out and either fill with thicken epoxy and redrill or coat with liquid epoxy and bed them in.
One extra step that I did is to coat all of the holes that were pre-drilled in the platform with epoxy. This included the holes under the center hand-hold. I also noticed that there were a couple extra holes that got drilled and I noticed some chips in the gelcoat, as well as a few holes that were not aligned very well as shown below. I chamfered the holes on both sides, cleaned them with acetone and coated them with slow set Marine Epoxy. I then thickened the epoxy using milled glass and filled the 3 extra holes and the chips. It is all hidden so it is no big deal. I have come to accept that when it comes to fiberglass work, you will find this kind of thing.
I bought some wood to make some stands to help me get this thing installed. After getting the platform on the stands, I noticed that all of the stainless steel hardware was through-bolted, which is good. But the holes are not sealed or bedded with anything, so I will be going one by one and bedding in 4200. While this may not be necessary, I am taking the extra step and ensuring a top-notch job. When I removed the hardware, I was a little disappointed that the holes were not drilled all that well. So, all of them came out and all holes were chamfered and coated with epoxy.
After I was satisfied with my re-working efforts on the swim platform, it was time to assemble the platform to the boat. I then got a few jack-stands and saw horse and fitted the swim platform. Using the swim platform as a template, I drilled all the holes and countersunk them for the bolts. Here is where the old adage "Think twice and cut once" is true. As is my best practice, I coated each of the holes with 3 coats of vinylester resin and then a final coat of resin with surfacing agent in it.
I bought some 1/16" neoprene rubber to create a buffer for the brackets on the swim platform. I will say that neoprene was a bad idea. It deformed too much and made for an ugly appearance. That being said, I was not about to take it off and start over. I changed out to HDP (High Density Plastic) on the other mounts and that worked much better. Again, this is probably not necessary, but I was out to do the best job that I could. During this process, my buddy (known as Bryan459 on BoatingABC.Com) helped immensely. You really need a second set of hands when you are wrestling such a large and heavy platform.
We are now down to the last step, attachment of the support down-tubes. Unfortunately, I discovered that the support tubes were too long - so I contacted the manufacturer and they sent out another set right away. I have to hand it to them. They have been very responsive and may not be totally at fault for the tubes. I trimmed the platform so I could get a tighter fit and that may have been enough. If I did not have trim tabs, it probably would have been an easier fix. Anyway, today Bryan459 came by again and we dry mounted the tubes. Drilled all the holes. After he took off, I coated them with polyester resin to protect in the event water finds it's way in. They will be through bolted very soon and the platform will be done.
Well that pretty much finishes the project. It went fairly easy, but I tried a lot of options; epoxy, polyester work, and other new techniques that resulted in this being a learning project as much as anything else. Overall I am happy with the project, and with my active family, I am sure glad I did it.
We think this is a fantastic project, and the outcome was well worth the time and effort. We like how you had an idea, and kept fine-tuning it as you went along. For a project such as this, you cannot rush the job, but rather you have to stop along the way and re-think it a bit.
During the editorial process, we did leave out some of the details on construction so that this remains an overview rather than a detailed step-by-step project. If you wish to contact the author, "SilverBullet" can be found at BoatingABC.Com. Or if you wish to leave a comment here, we'll do our best to make sure he gets it.
One thing for sure, "SilverBullet" and "Bryan459" can work on our boat anytime...
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