Wave damage to front panel

DD2075GL

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I'm the one that renewed this post by commenting a month ago! We decided not to replace the panel yet, especially after finding out we needed to replace the whole thing, not just the colored panel part. It seems they must insert it in and then weld the rail. I didn't want to tap into our insurance after owning the boat only a year. Ours is only a small dent, too  


Mattsonjt, what a great idea to protect the rail in rough water!


We were not going fast when our dent happened, but we did have a full boat. Our lake rarely gets high waves from wind, our situation was more from the rare triple wave from multiple boats. It happened so quick I didn't even think about seeing what the wake boat looked like to chase him down to scold him. Since I didn't know the panels could dent from a wave,  I didn't think to look for damage!


My uncle's older pontoon boat has taken on many waves over the years and there has never been any damage. So I didn't even know this could happen. But his water just seemed to flow down the deck, not have the force of the wave hit the front... His boat's pontoons stick out a foot from his deck, he has about 2 feet of deck in front of the panels, and his panels are a little shorter....they seem a bit more rigid as a result. I don't know if the aluminum is stiffer or just the shortness allows for less give. I do notice the newer pontoon boats have decks that reach out to the end of the pontoons, which I think allow in the water to flow over the deck more easily when the pointy part of the toons dip in the water in a wave situation. 


I enjoy reading all your comments and I always find it helpful to share and learn! Thank you all!
 

Robert6401

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I never saw a solution .Did anyone have success pulling the front lounger and popping it out from the inside? What about a paintless dent repair person? Mine isn't as bad as the original post, so I'm thinking it will pop out and look okay . I figure it's worth a shot anyways .
 

myv10

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I never saw a solution .Did anyone have success pulling the front lounger and popping it out from the inside? What about a paintless dent repair person? Mine isn't as bad as the original post, so I'm thinking it will pop out and look okay . I figure it's worth a shot anyways .
Aluminum can't be straightened like steel, the dents can be pushed out but it will never look right.
 

SEMPERFI8387

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Aluminum can't be straightened like steel, the dents can be pushed out but it will never look right.
And the panels have a slight ribbing so that makes it even more difficult to get it to look normal. I would get a “j roller” and gently roll back and forth “from the inside” to try to work it out as best as possible.
 

lakeliving

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I know the "correct" way is to hit waves at a 45 but down here that would literally put the corner of the bow directly into the meat of the wave. Depending on size I take the bigger ones on from almost parallel and it seems to work out nicely. For some reason here people seem to try and put out the most wake possible.
 
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kkruse1035

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I bought a Bennington with the wave damage mentioned is this thread recently.

I removed the front lounger. It's 6 screws under the seat and a bolt through the fence next to gate.

From the inside I bent out the channel where the panel had been pushed out with a hooked scrapping tool. Carefully pushed the panel back in the channel. Hammered the dent out with a rubber mallet. Hammered the channel back flat and put the seat back. It's not perfect, but 100x better. Took about 1.5 hrs. Hopefully this will be of help to somebody. Hard to believe they damage this easily. My old Beni was 17 yrs old and never had a dent.
 

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Michiman

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Thanks for posting and great job. I see a lot of dented plastic car bumpers that could be popped out with the help of a blow dryer and a rubber mallet. Aluminum is much harder to work with but you prove it can be done.
 

lakeliving

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Are seats bolted through the deck or just screwed from the top?
 

Jacquie

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Thanks TomS, I will be contacting my insurance co. I feel the waves that hit are not so uncommon on our lake (Winnipesaukee in NH)with winds 15 to 20 knots. I'll be worried about this happening again every time the water gets rough. Seems like it was too easy.
I feel you! We recently sustained similar damage to our brand new tritoon - front panel AND door trashed from an isolated wave that wasn’t even “that bad.” Don’t understand how a new boat wouldn’t be able to withstand that type of wave & am concerned about safety & structural integrity if it’s that delicate? My husband’s 7 yr-old 18’ Alumacraft fared better on Lake Michigan in turbulent water than our 26’ Bennington in a cove at LOTO. Seriously disappointed that the manufacturer doesn’t stand behind it’s product or reinforce it.
 

Alicedream

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I feel you! We recently sustained similar damage to our brand new tritoon - front panel AND door trashed from an isolated wave that wasn’t even “that bad.” Don’t understand how a new boat wouldn’t be able to withstand that type of wave & am concerned about safety & structural integrity if it’s that delicate? My husband’s 7 yr-old 18’ Alumacraft fared better on Lake Michigan in turbulent water than our 26’ Bennington in a cove at LOTO. Seriously disappointed that the manufacturer doesn’t stand behind it’s product or reinforce it.
That is ridiculous. There is not a pontoon or tritoon in the industry that can take a wave to the panels and not have damage. Any one who knows anything about pontoons know this Is a possibility. Bennington has built its reputation on standing behind their product and the quality of their boats. So don’t throw out a bunch of nonsense because you did not do your research.
 
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Jacquie

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You are correct. Our expectation was based on experience with other boats, not a toon. We were idling in a cove & the wave did not seem that substantial, so it was a painful lesson that I’m glad we learned early. I joined this group to learn more. Thank you for the warm welcome.
 

Baja 252

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Being on LOTO I worry about this all the time. I've had four different pontoons and over the years have had a lot of waves come over the front of the boat. Our Bennington has the ESP hull which really helps, but even it's no match for the LOTO washing machine. During the rough water holiday weekends I take the negative of peoples weight in the front of the boat and turn it into a positive by having everyone sit in the back. Maybe not as fun, but sure beats panel damage.
 

Potomacbassin’

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Most of this is basic physics - a wall of water is an enormous amount of force and structurally speaking a perpendicular panel would have to be made of steel and welded to steel to withstand it. If you can kick it in or over, it doesn’t stand a chance against a big wave. We once wrapped an aluminum canoe around a rock on a river in Maine, full on banana. Took 10 guys about 2 hours using pulleys to finally get it off. Water is no joke. I also saw a bass boat deck separated from the hull spearing a rogue wave.

That all being said, I’m sure the panel can be supported from behind with a welded plate or bracing to help withstand smaller nuisance waves. I might hire a guy to do so since I’ll be dealing with Chesapeake Bay waves on the regs.
 

Jacquie

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Thank you. Glad you walked away from the canoe incident! We just expected a boat to be made to withstand that type of wave (it was in a cove & really didn’t seem that substantial). I’m not sure what the “wave threshold“ is, but lesson learned. We are getting a quote to reinforce it & will simply avoid boating when it’s rough or busy, which could prove interesting on LOTO. I’ll be a little gun-shy going forward but appreciate hearing from you.

Most of this is basic physics - a wall of water is an enormous amount of force and structurally speaking a perpendicular panel would have to be made of steel and welded to steel to withstand it. If you can kick it in or over, it doesn’t stand a chance against a big wave. We once wrapped an aluminum canoe around a rock on a river in Maine, full on banana. Took 10 guys about 2 hours using pulleys to finally get it off. Water is no joke. I also saw a bass boat deck separated from the hull spearing a rogue wave.

That all being said, I’m sure the panel can be supported from behind with a welded plate or bracing to help withstand smaller nuisance waves. I might hire a guy to do so since I’ll be dealing with Chesapeake Bay waves on the regs.
 

Potomacbassin’

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Thank you. Glad you walked away from the canoe incident! We just expected a boat to be made to withstand that type of wave (it was in a cove & really didn’t seem that substantial). I’m not sure what the “wave threshold“ is, but lesson learned. We are getting a quote to reinforce it & will simply avoid boating when it’s rough or busy, which could prove interesting on LOTO. I’ll be a little gun-shy going forward but appreciate hearing from you.
Well please keep us updated we can all learn from your experience. I’ll also update any improvements I make on mine - unfortunately for me I’m going to be very hard on this boat and she’ll be eating waves frequently, so I need to really figure this out. Maybe patent a “wave eater” panel?!
 

Jacquie

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Now you’re talking! Will do ;)

Well please keep us updated we can all learn from your experience. I’ll also update any improvements I make on mine - unfortunately for me I’m going to be very hard on this boat and she’ll be eating waves frequently, so I need to really figure this out. Maybe patent a “wave eater” panel?!
 
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