An increasing number of people these days own boats or are thinking of investing in them. If you are or are aspiring to be a boat owner, one of the things you will need to do is have it maintained on a regular basis. Decisions such as what types of fasteners to use at such times is important. It determines both the longevity of the boat as well as its depreciation. Using inappropriate fasteners is likely to result in a faster depreciation and higher maintenance cost of the boat.
In the past, nails and wood screws were adequate for the construction or maintenance of boats since most of them were made out of wood. Today, most boats are made of fiberglass and other advanced materials. Using nails and wood screws on them will only lead to an increased risk of leakages. The main types of fasteners one can use for boats and yachts these days include:
Screws including the Alloy 20 hex head cap screws are the most common fasteners on boats today. Most boat owners and repair specialists prefer using self-tapping screws on account of the fact that they are meant for use in thin and hard types of metal, the type that most boats and yachts are made of. Using them involves drilling a pilot hole and then directing the screw into the hole.
Some parts of boats and yachts are made out of wood, and the self-tapping screws can also be used to fasten them. For aesthetic effect, one can order them with heads that can sit flush with the surface of the wood. These types of screws are also very useful for fastening most types of fiberglass. However, it’s important to note that they are not suitable for use in environments in which they will be subjected to heavy loads. A rule of thumb, the screw should not be used to fasten material that is thicker than its diameter.
For nautical applications, bolts are ideal for bearing large weights, and in instances where repetitive tightening and loosening is the norm. Examples of these include the Nitronic 50 carriage bolts which also have the advantage of being resistant to corrosion. When using bolts for fastening, choosing to use them with washers is also important. The latter spread the force across the surface of the material being fastened, reducing any indentation.
Rivets are a common sight in boats and yachts. The most common materials they are made out of include aluminum and stainless steel. The latter are best used when weight has to be kept down, and the former are used in environments where the rivets are likely to bear heavy weights.
These are the commonest fastener types found on regular nautical equipment. In a few instances, they may be incredibly specialized. For instance, since sports boats need to be light, their fasteners may be made out of light but strong material such as titanium alloy. The key is to match the fastener type to the application it will be used for.
Started my career in the fastener world in 1969 at, Parker Kalon Corp. a NJ based screw manufacturer located in Clifton, NJ working in inventory control, scheduling secondary production and concluding there in purchasing. In 1971 I accepted a sales position at Star Stainless Screw Co., Totowa, NJ working in inside sales and later as an outside salesman, having a successful career at Star I had the desire with a friend to start our own fastener distribution company in 1980 named: Divspec, Kenilworth, NJ. This was a successful adventure but ended in 1985 with me starting Melfast in August 1985 and have stayed competitive and successful to date. Melfast serves the OEM market with approximately 400 accounts nationally.