What Do You Do With The Swim Platform?

We have been considering what to do with the swim platform since we bought the boat. It is all teak and the previous owner had treated it with a hardware brand of deck stain, the type you would use around the house. They had coated all of the teak on the boat with it and we have removed and re-done everything but the swim platform. The Cetol we have used on all of the other teak would not be a good choice for this area. It probably would hold up okay, but this area gets wet when we are underway, and with the new dinghy mounted on it, something more durable would be required.

After a lot of thought, we decided to AwlGrip the swim platform just as we did the sampson post and anchor platform. We followed pretty much the same procedure that we posted for that refurbishment. The entire platform is made up of strips of teak that are screwed and epoxied together. Over the last 30 years, some of those strips have started to separate. So the first order of business was to epoxy them back together using West System and screws to pull everything tight and hold it all together. The epoxy was poured between the strips, and clamps were used to tighten it up. Then, holes were drilled into the edges and the screws were installed. The screws were countersunk and hidden from view with bungs. The wood was then completely sealed with epoxy. Everything was thoroughly sand with 120 grit sandpaper.

The next step after sanding was to wipe everything down with a tack cloth, followed by AwlPrep. I use the two cloth method with AwlPrep - one cloth saturated to wipe down and the second dry, to remove the excess AwlPrep. Once everything was dust free, three coats of 545 white primer were applied. Each coat was sanded with 220 sandpaper between coats. Once one side was primed and sanded, the platform was flipped over and the other side done. The fasteners that hold the platform to the brackets on the stern of the boat were covered with blue tape to keep them free of primer and paint.

After the third coat of primer was dry and sanded, three coats of the topcoat were applied. We chose the Sahara Sand, which is the same color that we put on the anchor platform. Now, both ends of the boat will match. Just as with the primer, we sanded with 220 grit paper between coats, and wiped down with tack rags and AwlPrep. AwlGrip calls for sanding with 300 grit, but I have had issues with the paint not adhering to the previous coat with 300 or 400. I have never had that problem using 220 and the finish looks just as smooth. Once one side was completely done, the platform was again flipped and the other side done. 

The finished product looks great and the final step, before putting it back on the boat, is to reinstall the hardware. Both the swim ladder and the Weaver dinghy davits are fairly new, as are all of the fasteners. The stainless always gets a good polishing before we re-install it.

White I was working on the swim platform, the pump for the aft Raritan head got a complete rebuild. It is fairly new, installed by the previous owner, but it had not been working quite right. So the winter down time was a good time to get this done. The rebuild kit can be purchased from West Marine or most other marine supplies. The kits are rather expensive, and there have been times when the cost of a rebuild kit and a couple of extra parts was very close to the price of a complete new head. So take that into consideration if you have to do this. The next step is to re-install everything back on the boat.


  1. Hi Chuck,
    two questions..
    1. I'm curious why you didn't just strip the swim platform back to the bare teak and leave unstained. Our platform is similar to yours, and the natural teak has weathered over the years (since 1985)but looks great. The marina teak expert in New Hampshire where we had work done on the trawler said that she prefers to let teak decks and swim platforms just weather to the natural grey.
    2. You mentioned rebuilding your head. We have two electric jabsco heads one we refurbished with a new motor/macerator two years ago, the other still needs to be done. I find them both to be very noisy - do you have any experience with the newer Jabsco Silent Flush or the more expensive Techma Silence or Silence Plus?
    Susan and Dan - Delia Rosa

  2. Good question. It really is just a matter of personal preferences. We did consider doing just that and left it alone for over a year to see how we would like it. So the decision was purely cosmetic. I agree that teak decks should be left to weather, the PO removed the teak decks on ours. Our solution also offers a bit more protection to the wood, since the AwlGrip seals it completely. As to the Jabsco head, they are noisy and most every Jabsco head I have dealt with was noisy, no matter what the model. I am also not a big fan of Jabsco for a variety of reasons. If I were doing a replacement of a Jabsco head, I would look at Raritan instead. Their manual PH II is one of the best available for the price, IMO, and almost any Raritan will be quieter. You don't say which head you now have but the Raritan Sea Era is a replacement for the Jabsco 37whatever series. And if that is the head you have, you can get a Sea Era conversion that will let you use the existing bowl. Hope this helps. Chuck

  3. Hi Chuck and Susan,

    There's no good way to contact you... You haven't posted an email, and this comment will likely be deleted because of our name, but I wanted to reach out and let you know that we're following your travels on TrawlerBlogs.com.

    Please send me an email when you get a chance, to jacob @ trawlerblogs dot com to confirm that you do want to be followed, or would rather be removed. I want to be sure that we are complying with your wishes in your disclaimers on your blog.

    Looking forward to hearing back from you.


  4. Jacob, I did send you an email so you will have ours. We would be happy to have you include us on your website, which I like very much. I am adding it to our favorite links list here also. Thanks for considering us. Chuck and Susan.

  5. Hi Chuck,
    How to you like the Weaver Dinghy Davits? I have a hardshell dinghy and think this might be the way to go. Just wondering if you have any pros/cons to share.


    1. Donny, We are very happy with the Weaver davits. I can't think of any cons so far and the pros are obvious. The dinghy is stored out of the way and it is easy to launch and retrieve so we use it often. The davits are well built and you need to make sure the platform is strong enough to support the weight. If not, reinforce it. If there is a down side it is having to remove the outboard each time we put the dinghy back on the davits. There is a special bracket to allow it to stay on the dinghy but we haven't tried it. For us it's no big deal. Chuck


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