The 98¢ Solution

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved


Maybe not the most elegant solution, but ours didn't require any special skills, looks okay and cost less than a buck!When we removed our old voltmeter in favor of a battery monitor, we were left with this hole in the fiberglass panel that’s part of our battery compartment.

We needed to do something to cover it. This is on a major walkway in the boat and goes straight into the battery compartment.

The obvious thing would be to get a nice piece of wood, shape it and glue or screw it down. Maybe put the boat name or a favorite quote on it.

Unfortunately, Dave and I are not, by any stretch of the imagination, fine woodworkers. That just wasn’t going to happen.

We needed something easy. And hopefully cheap.

Our first thought was to find some cute little decorative plaque and mount it there. Couldn’t find anything we liked that was the right size. We then proceeded to tour Home Depot, looking for something that we might use. At first, nothing hit us.

Then Dave spotted some self-adhesive floor tiles. Maybe not an elegant solution, but it would be easy to cut to size and all we’d have to do was press it in place. Maybe not the most elegant solution, but ours didn't require any special skills, looks okay and cost less than a buck!

There were numerous patterns and I picked one that I thought would look the best with the gelcoat and teak nearby. Just 98¢!

Back on the boat, I marked the cuts and used just regular shears to cut the floor tile. Then I wiped the gelcoat where I was going to put it with rubbing alcohol to get any grease off and made a couple of very light lines to align the patch with.

Pulled the paper off the back of the linoleum patch and stuck it on. Project done!

Maybe not the most elegant solution, but ours didn't require any special skills, looks okay and cost less than a buck!

If someday we find a decorative plaque that we like, it’s a simple matter to remove the floor tile and replace it with something else.

In the meantime, this is simple, cheap, took less than five minutes to do and doesn’t look bad. It does what we needed right now — make it so that little hands (or dog noses) don’t accidentally reach into the battery compartment, and nothing can fall in there. I’m happy!

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  1. Thanks for the idea. Andy just cut a new hole for an access point and this will work for us too. We will just velcro it over for easy removal. home depot here we come!

  2. Why not just keep the voltmeter? Doesn’t hurt to have a backup.

  3. Sheer genius.

  4. I removed an old broken compass from my boat that left a gaping hole in my bulkhead (I sail on a lake so eventually I will replace the compass). I went to the dollar store and bought a plastic chopping board.It’s white and my bulkhead is white. I just used the screws form the compass to screw it into place. It will be easy to take off when I do get around to replacing the compass.

  5. I think boaters have to be expert “re -purposers. ” I spend a lot of time in stores looking at items for alternate uses and filing that away.

  6. Very clever!

  7. Danielle Moreau says:

    What a great idea! Thank you for all your little bits of inspiration Carolyn! ….Danielle

  8. I tried the same fix a couple years ago on our boat. Unfortunately, the glue seem to be made to hold to a horizontal area. Over a fairly short period of time, it started slipping down and out of place. Additional glue (E6000) held it in place.
    S/V Ten-Ten

  9. Not the way I would like to fix it!

  10. I have to agree with Marc Stan. Not really much better than covering the hole with duct tape. To each their own though. flk k

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