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Up Topic Welding Industry / Technical Discussions / Can boat masts be welded?
- - By 49DegreesNorth (**) Date 03-13-2003 00:09

A friend of mine had the mast on his boat break in half last weekend while sailing. Is it possible to weld it to repair? It is essentially just an aluminum extrusion. I have always heard that you cannot repair boat masts, but I don't know why. I have an AC tig setup. This is not something I would just want to try if it won't work, as having the mast come down can be dangerous for people on the boat.

Parent - By DGXL (***) Date 03-13-2003 00:16
Yes they can be repaired. DO NOT OVERHEAT.
Parent - - By colins (*) Date 03-13-2003 16:34

Before going ahead and repair welding the mast, you might want to investigate what type of material it is so you could match the filler material. Depending upon the grade of material, welding may not be such a good idea. Different grades receive different heat treatments and by welding on the material, you may be setting yourself up for another failure, by changing the mechanical properties of the mast in the region of the weld. subsequently someone could end up getting hurt. It might be a good idea to speak with the mast manufacturer and determine what grade of aluminum it is, then, speak with or find out if this particular grade is readily weldable-you can probably find out alot of info on welding by visiting the Alcoa website.

Good luck and let us know how things turn out,

Parent - - By jwright650 (*****) Date 03-13-2003 16:44
Check out the particular codes regarding repairing that watercraft, maybe the code won't allow repairs. Maybe that is why you heard that you can't weld or alter the mast in any way.
I'm only guessing, so check out this possiblity for yourself.
John Wright
Parent - By DGXL (***) Date 03-14-2003 04:54
Have repaired more masts and other sea going hardware than I care to remember. The knowledge and history of the material is of course a great concern. Typically GTAW or GMAW with ER4043/ER5356 was used if anodizing was involved. The nature of the repairs ranged from minor to severe. They often involved a cover plate w/geometry that was "low stress" of some sort if severe.

I can say with 100% satisfaction that all the critical repairs I've made to vessel structures have held to date. This includes fuel cell repairs (no I am not recommending this). Some of these people I still know from 20+ years ago for whom the work was performed.

One point I forgot to point out:
We have said no to some repairs as they were basically catostrophic in nature.

It is possible to make a welded repair on most aluminum boat masts, but don't throw caution to the wind. Of course all this information I've learned was from someone who did it before me.
Up Topic Welding Industry / Technical Discussions / Can boat masts be welded?

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