Maintaining and protecting your Jon boat is essential whether your boat is a self-build, has been bought used or is a smart new dealership purchase. Particular care and attention needs to be paid to your hardworking Jon boat hull which usually bears the brunt of marine exposure and impacts.
- Why protect your Jon boat?
- Easy Jon boat hull protection
- Jon boat hull-bottom protection
- Advanced hull protection solutions for your Jon boat
- Rounding up
Why protect your Jon boat?
The Jon boat is probably the most hardworking personal utility boat in America so protecting it is essential if you want your boat to last. However, hull protection does not just apply to utility Jon boats. Active recreational use, as well as utility use, will usually take its toll on the hull of even the most sturdy of boats.
The most at risk area of a Jon boat is its flat bottomed, with damage coming not only from the water itself in the form of corrosion but also from collisions, and even slight impacts, with submerged objects in shallow waters.
Many Jon boats also develop damage from the wear and tear that occurs while moving the Jon boat in and out of the water. Impacts occurring with the trailer and shallow dock are all too common among Jon boat owners.
Once on dry land, environmental and UV exposure will also cause damage to untreated boats as nature does its best to age your hull.
The good news is that these problems can be easily avoided when proper protection is added to your boat.
Advantages of Jon boat hull protection
What are the main benefits of taking precautions to protect your Jon boat?
Well, Jon boat hull protection has a range of benefits which include:
- Maintenance of water-tightness.
- Provision of a layer of resilience against abrasive surfaces, scrapes, and knocks.
- Keeping the Jon boat streamlined for optimal performance.
- Saving on costly repairs.
- Helping your Jon boat retain its value over time.
In this handy guide, we will take a look at the key types of Jon boat hull protection as well as ways to actually reinforce your Jon boat hull for even greater protection.
Most of the hull protection tips given in this article are quick, and easy-to-apply, at-home solutions. However, other more intricate tips for ultimate hull protection and reinforcement are also covered. Be aware that those particular solutions will require specialised application and installation by a trained professional though.
So, regardless of whether you want quick-fix hull protection tips or are more interested in professional hull reinforcement we are sure you will find a solution that is right for your boat in this article.
Easy Jon boat hull protection
One of the simplest ways in which you can protect your Jon boat hull is by using a specifically formulated paint or coating.
These type of marine grade paints and coatings offer protection to the hull by providing an effective barrier against water erosion and basic protection against impacts, thus helping to prolong the life of your boat.
Here are some key types of paint you may want to consider.
Antifouling paint is a biologically active coating that prevents hull attachment of waterborne marine organisms that can degrade your hull. This type of paint also facilitates the removal of these organisms if your boat already has this problem.
High quality antifouling paint can be applied separately to specific parts of the boat (such as the bottom which it is designed for) or as part of a entire hull protection system (which offers additional benefits and is recommended if you have the budget).
For a cheaper option you can use antifouling paint only on the bottom of your Jon boat and then use enamel on the sides, bow, stern and interior for good overall protection.
These solvent-based marine paints are a cost-effective solution for your hull and create an attractive and suitably hard-wearing finish.
The best commercial grade enamel boat paint greatly improves resistance against weathering and UV. Enamel paints typically use resin systems to create a tough, chemical resistant paint film with a winning gloss finish.
They are often referred to as topside paint because they are best used on areas that have little, to no, contact with the water.
Bitumen paint is a traditional coating that adds water and weather sealing properties to your hull. Bitumen paint is also resistant to chemical and environmental exposure.
This type of paint works well with wood as well as with metal hulls and can be applied by brush, roller or spray painting. This makes it an ideal paint for those of you who followed our instructions for building your own flat bottom boat.
Polymer coatings are an excellent, but more expensive, option for Jon boat hull protection. They work especially well with aluminum and metal hulls as they prevent corrosion. If you use your Jon boat in the ocean or in saltwater this option may be preferable to you.
Polymer coatings may be clear or opaque and thus work exceptionally well as a type of protective “undercoat”. They form a chemical and mechanical bond with your boat’s hull that also protects the hull from staining, tarnishing and protects it from oxidative and environmental damage.
These types of polymer boat coatings are highly resilient and provide the much needed protection in both fresh and saltwater (which is highly corrosive to aluminum).
Spray and roll-on truck bed liner is a popular grassroots hack for Jon boat owners who want an effective overall hull coating which is affordable and easily purchased online or from a local hardware supplier.
These liners work well to protect your Jon boat hull from impacts, abrasions and corrosion from the marine environment and the weather. They do wear down though and will wear away quicker than the more expensive alternatives, so you will need to regularly re-apply the coatings for continued protection.
Waxes offer a certain degree of protection and are a cheap, quick and effective way of keeping your Jon boat hull looking pristine and performing well on the water.
Both marine waxes and the classic carnauba car waxes work just as well with very little difference in price between the best products.
Waxes work especially well on aluminum boats. The application does require elbow grease, but as with cars, persisting with a polishing routine builds up a slick and shiny layer over time that will enhance your boat’s performance and protect any decals on your boat. Wax also makes your boat look better.
For best protection you are better using wax after you have applied protective paint or a protective coating!
Marine fillers come in a variety of forms. They are good to have to hand if you want to correct pitting or cracks in your metal, wood or fiberglass boat prior to applying paints or other coatings.
A quality epoxy-based marine filler can be used on areas of the boat that lie below the waterline and are fast curing with no shrinkage, meaning you will be ready to sand within minutes. Once set you can prime the hull and apply the paint of your choice with no issues.
Putty marine grade filler is another great choice for those of you in a hurry, or have to make repairs while away from home, as it fully sets in about 1 hour.
Sacrificial Anodes, or Galvanic Anodes, can be used on any metal Jon boat to offset the effects of galvanic corrosion.
These little blocks of metal are a very easy-to-apply way of protecting the submerged areas of your Jon boat against corrosion.
They can be attached to any metal Jon boat hull but will gradually erode as their more active voltage metal interacts electrochemically with metal ions in the water so you they need replaced at regular intervals.
Jon boat hull-bottom protection
There are also other practical and affordable options for protecting your Jon boat hull from scrapes, dents, and scratches picked-up in shallow water or while hauling the boat around.
Basically, anything that will create a resilient physical barrier between your boat’s bottom and submerged obstacles (without causing handling issues) will protect the hull from impacts and improve its lifespan.
Simple keel protection is probably the cheapest option available to the budget-conscious Jon boat owner.
Although keel guards, or keel bands, are usually used on v-hull boats, or these type of canoes, they are a practical and affordable way of protecting the bottom of your Jon boat.
They are a great inexpensive way of reinforcing the areas on your Jon boat that are vulnerable to dents and scrapes from abrasive surfaces including sand rocks and gravel often found in very shallow waters. They usually come packaged as self-adhesive strips which can be applied easily and quickly to any cleaned and primed keel area.
Rubbing strakes are another cheap way of protecting the bottom of your Jon boat.
Rubbing strakes are often made of rubber, or more commonly, stainless steel. They provide a simple but effective barrier between the bottom of your boat and submerged obstacles thus protecting the hull from being directly scraped or dented.
They are a very cost-effective solution. Both the self-adhesive rubber strakes and the screw-on steel strakes are easy to fit.
Advanced hull protection solutions for your Jon boat
Teflon bottom and plastic bottom protectors are the most expensive options for Jon boat bottom reinforcement and protection. They require specialist application.
These bottom protection products are applied to the hull of your boat using specialist techniques that create layered bonding. This type of specialist application provides a distinct protective layer to guard the boat against abrasions and heavy knocks.
Whole bottom solutions not only protect the flat bottom of the Jon boat but will also provide cover to areas that are near the waterline.
These ‘Black Ice’ or Teflon bottom products provide a 3/8” bonded layer of Ultra-High Molecular Weight (UHMW) polyethylene which can be used to either cover the most vulnerable areas of the hull or the entire hull (see featured image at the top of this page).
A plastic or Teflon bottom can be used to offset the thickness of your Jon boat hull and will thus aid buoyancy while also providing a gliding effect if your boat encounters submerged obstacles.
Plastic bonded layers can be applied to an aluminum Jon boat in a similar manner, usually by professional technicians who apply layers of epoxy resin for a reinforced finish.
There you have it, a broad range of options at a variety of price points that will provide even the most abused Jon boat hull the protection it needs and give it the TLC required for optimal performance on the water.
However, it is important to remember that when it comes to hull maintenance and care, you should not rely solely on products!
A simple, but disciplined, maintenance routine that includes inspecting, cleaning and drying your boat down after use will ensure that problems don’t develop and that any current problem areas are not left to deteriorate into serious issues.
Also keep in mind that storing your Jon boat in an area away from direct sunlight will also protect your hull from premature aging. And, of course, care should be taken when launching off those gritty concrete ramps so you avoid creating hull problems before you even get onto the water.