How to Replace Aluminum Boat Rivets

by Russell Wood

Boats come in all shapes and sizes, and one of the more popular types of small boats are made of aluminum. It's lightweight, easy to shape and fairly affordable. But those boats are usually held together by rivets, and if they start to loosen, the boat can develop a leak and sink. Replacing the rivets isn't a big deal, but it does take some special tools and some patience.

Lift the boat out of the water with the help of an assistant and set it on sawhorses. This is going to secure the boat on the stands so you can work on it easier.

Insert a small, metal drill bit into the drill and tighten the chuck. You want this bit to be fairly small -- about 1/8 inch or so -- as you're going to use it as a starter bit to remove the rivet.

Place the drill bit in the center of the rivet you need to replace and start drilling. Drill out the entire length of the rivet.

Step up to the next size up drill bit and repeat step 3. Repeat this process until the rivet is completely drilled out of the hole.

Insert the replacement aluminum rivet in the hole in the same orientation as the other rivets.

Press the rivet gun onto the rivet and pull the trigger. This is going to pull the center of the rivet out of the rivet itself, tightening the rivet and securing the aluminum body.

Repeat this process for any other rivets you have that are broken or damaged.

Items you will need

References

About the Author

Russell Wood is a writer and photographer who attended Arizona State University. He has been building custom cars and trucks since 1994, including several cover vehicles. In 2000 Wood started a career as a writer, and since then he has dedicated his business to writing and photographing cars and trucks, as well as helping people learn more about how vehicles work.