Cracked Rivet on Jon Boat: Simple Quick Fix

This is how I am going to repair one crack rivet on my riveted jon boat. This method may or may not be for you. It all depends on your situation. Again this is only one cracked rivet. If you are fixing an old boat with a lot of leaky, and or cracked rivets, there may be better options out there for you.

My Situation

So I have a 2016 Alumacraft 1436 LT riveted jon boat. I power this boat with a Predator 13hp motor and a SPS Swamp Runner Thai Long-tail mud motor medium kit. So far the top speed is 23 mph and that is without making any modification to the engine or tuning props or changing shaft lengths.

The transom started to bubble and bend a little so I sent a picture to Alumacraft. After a few weeks of emailing them back and forth, they told me that I had voided my hull warranty because I modified my boat by installing the motor on the boat. So if you plan to get a new jon boat, and you want to put a mud motor on it, keep that in mind….

I am now putting this Wetlander Bottom Coating on the jon boat and did a leak test to find leaky rivets. After marking all the leaky rivets and flipping the boat over, I found a cracked rivet and it was the one that would leak a drop of water every second or two.

Cracked Rivet Found… What NOW?

I debated keeping it in the boat, but I dreaded the thought of that cracked rivet failing and leaving a hole in the bottom of the boat! Not gonna happen. So I went to research how I should fix it.

  • Buy a rivet set with tools and fix it = Expensive + More Time
  • Solder over the rivet = Didn’t like the sound of that
  • Leave it?

The answers I found online did not appease me. So I thought, “no matter what, the cracked rivet has to come out”. So then you’re left with a hole in your boat. Then I figured I would just fill that hole with a bolt and seal it with marine 5200. GOLDEN!


I knew I had to remove the cracked rivet, so then you’re left with a hole. Then I would just fill that hole with Truss head or Pan head bolt (I used Pan head because I didn’t know about the other kind when I went on my search for the bolt), and seal it all with marine 5200 or 3M 5200 Marine Adhesive Sealant. This was awesome because it was;

  • Quick – I could fix that cracked rivet now
  • Longevity – It would last as long as the boat
  • Inexpensive – Buy a bolt, lock nut, marine 5200, and loctite if you want to go crazy safe
The Tools & Hardware Used

Tools/Items Used:

  • Pneumatic Grinder or grinder of your choice
  • 80 grit heads for grinder
  • 3M Marine 5200 Types for permanent seals below the water line_
    – Fast Cure  –  2 day cure
    Regular Cure – 7 day cure
    3M Marine 4200 for removable purposes, not meant to be used below the water line
  • Drill with drill bits
  • Pan head or Truss head bolt (1/2″ long, 1/4×20 thread)
  • Lock nut for bolt (1/4×20 thread)
  • Loctite if you want to be extra safe
  • Wrenches to tighten bolt down
The Process

First I wanted to remove the rivet. So I used the pneumatic grinder, with an 80 grit attachment, to take the head off of the cracked rivet. Once the cracked rivet head was off the body of the rivet, I used a punch (you can use what ever you have) to knock out the body of the rivet. Now you should have a hole.

The hole that was left in my boat from the cracked rivet was 3/16″. If you were to replace the rivet with another rivet I’m sure that measurement would come in handy. Again this is a 2016 Alumicraft. My hole was angled, and it put a lot of pressure on that one rivet, forcing it to fail. So I then drilled out the hole to 1/4″ and made the hole straight.

I then prepped the bolt, nut, and marine 5200. Clean the area around the hole with Acetone and let it dry. Then put a small dab of marine 5200 on the shaft of the bolt and on the underside of the bolt head. Place the bolt in place and depending on the location of this bolt, have someone go to the other side with a wrench and the nut and tighten the bolt down. When you tighten the bolt down, you should see a nice bead of 5200 come out that circumferences the bolt head. I left that bead there and did not disturb it. Tighten down to your likely (I went fairly tight). You could also use the loctite here on the nut to help prevent the lock nut from coming loose.


This quick fix for a cracked rivet may or may not be for you. I used it because I only had one cracked rivet. If you have multiple leaky cracked rivets, it may be best to buy a rivet kit with a tool to replace a lot of them.

This worked for me and it will work for many others. I used a stainless bolt and nut and this fix should last longer than the boat. It was cheap, took little time, and will last a long time.

Hopefully this article helped you in your search to seal up  your riveted jon boat. Now lets get back to that Wetlander Bottom Coating!

So if you’re interested to see how slick these boat bottom coatings really are, and if they are worth the money, stick around! New articles and videos are posted every Saturday morning @08:30!