Are you in love with your yacht? When a yacht refit makes sense and how to choose a refitter

Yacht owners: If you’ve owned your yacht for any length of time you may find yourself at a crossroads of whether or not it’s time to start shopping for a new yacht or make necessary repairs to your existing vessel. It’s likely you have been on many memorable trips with friends and family that have built lasting memories. When does it make sense to do a yacht refit? How do you go about choosing the right yacht refitter to do the job?


There are many things to take into consideration. Most newer yachts are loaded with new technology and systems. While these are great selling points, are these new systems in your best interests? The answer is not so simple. Most of the time a yacht owner or crew members know every inch of you vessel. When presented with a new yacht with new technologies they will find new issues will not be as easily rectified because of lack of knowledge, which can be costly and can certainly rack up lay days at the shipyard while your crew and or contractors learn on your dollar. This is where keeping and refitting you older vessel will be more cost effective in the long run.


When weighing the pros and cons of purchasing a new vessel or moving forward with a refit you’ll have to do the math. Here is an outline to help you get started.


1. Cost: Is your vessel beyond repair? If not, can you afford a refit? A yacht refit can consist of many different variables that may be hidden beneath the superstructure of your yacht.

There may be things happening below the surface that may be missed or will pop up while in the middle of a large refit, so it’s important to choose the right refitter. That leads to part two…

2. Estimates:  When choosing the right yacht refitter, it doesn’t hurt to scour the internet looking for reviews of contractors. But your search will not end there! It’s important to get several estimates. The best estimate is not always the cheapest or most cost-effective. A bad refit can certainly cost more in the long run.

3. Planning: Choose a company that can build an estimate by planning the refit from prior refits along with experience. This is a crucial step in the process.

4. Skills:  The right yacht refitter will specialize in what they do. Many refit yards hire different sub-contractors that bid on the job, and not to anyone’s surprise the job will go to the lowest bidder. That being said, YOU as the owner of you vessel should have some influence on who is performing your yacht refit. You should be able to feel comfortable with the refitter and not wonder about the final outcome.

5. Job Timeline: Having a good estimated timeline of when your refit will be finished is a good indicator of the quality of the contractor you’re hired. if your contractor cannot give you a timeline, this might be an indicator that they are not the right contractor for the job.

Choosing a company such as Dolfab will ensure that all the steps above are covered. We will walk you through your job from the very inception and do our very best to ensure all issues (obvious and hidden) will be taken into consideration.  From the very beginning, we can even video document the entire refit job so there will be no questions that cannot be answered at the time of Commissioning.

Since 1984 Dolfab, Inc.  has provided quality work held to the highest standards ensuring your beloved yacht will continue to make memories for you and your family.

AJAO Hull Restoration: Yacht Refitting

DolFab Metal Fabricators recently completed extensive repairs on the hull of Ajao, a beautiful 80’ Baglietto yacht. Ajao suffered from major corrosion to its hull due to an issue with the external exhaust system. The yacht almost sank due to this corrosion and demanded an array of extensive refinements.


Dolfab was hired to perform repairs on the hull, fuel tanks, and bow. The process of repairing the Ajao was quite an undertaking. The scope of the project involved emptying the fuel tanks and removing corroded sections there, removing large sections of the yacht’s hull, replacing all the missing sections with customized new panels which were then welded into place, and finally pressure-testing the structure to ensure its seaworthiness.


The Dolfab crew found other issues on the yacht. The damaged hull created too much pressure and had caused the teak flooring on the bow to burst open. The team repaired and reinforced the structure of the bow, going through the forward bulkheads to ensure the yacht is seaworthy after all repairs are finished.


Ajao passed the pressure testing procedures and was scheduled for fiberglass repair and paint before it was relaunched earlier this month. Ajao has now been restored to its former glory!


DolFab has been working since 1984 in the commercial and private marine market to deliver custom metal fabrication and yacht finishing solutions in the Fort Lauderdale area.

Detaclad: Innovative Method that Offers High Sheer Strength & Quality


Welding is a common process which is used in a number of different industries such as chemicals, refining, engineering, metals, and mining.  Earlier, conventional methods were used to join or fuse together two metals, however, now we have access to the latest technological advancements including tools and techniques that science has created to make our jobs easier.

A peculiar new technology has come forth which uses the energy of controlled explosions to weld plates together. Explosion Welding Process or Detaclad, is a unique and robust technology that is in great demand these days and has been adopted by a number of different industries due to the advantages that it offers.

Detaclad technology is widely in practice all over the world and is implemented to fuse together two dissimilar metals.  Explosion welding process is a step by step procedure that involves six phases such as: –

  • Plain Material Inspection
  • Grind Mating Surfaces
  • Assemble Backer, Cladder & Explosive
  • Explosion
  • Flatten & Cut
  • Testing ad Inspection

All these steps need to be followed in a sequence, in order to get the desired results. Significant precision is involved in all the stages to avoid errors. Even a small mistake can be significantly costly as all of the raw material will then have to be disposed off. With the help of explosion cladding, one can join unlimited range of compatible ad Non-compatible metals.  The Cladding process creates ductile, high strength weld over the entire metal surface. Using Explosive Clad, there are many benefits over roll band and weld overlay. There are many different metals such as Titanium steel, aluminum steel, and aluminum copper which have been created by using explosion cladding technology rather than the conventional welding process.

In nutshell, we can say that Detaclad is a globally tested and proven technology. Products designed with explosive welding procedure have better design options, corrosion resistance and improved service life. Here at Dolfab we are very proud to say that we use this innovative and awesome technology. Check out the Dolfab project gallery to see the work we did on Life of Riley, a 113′ Burger yacht that underwent this process.

Coast Guard Certification on Marine Metal Fabrication

When hiring a welder for your vessel, make sure you are dealing with the US Coast Guard… the USCG has specific requirements that have to be met in order to be USCG Certified.

There are a series of tests that include different types of welding and may consist of welding different thickness metals, penetration of the welds and most likely a bend test. If your vessel is being repaired the you may need a “CFR”: Condition-Found Report. This is a report submitted to the Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative, either in written or electronic format, describing the condition(s) found while performing a task specified in the work item, such as an inspection.

After the “CFR” we have “CIR”: Critical Inspection Report. This report is submitted to the COTR within the first 25 percent of the availability contract period, either in written or electronic format, describing the condition(s) found while performing a task specified in the work item, such as an inspection.

When the time comes to make a boat or yacht repair, one may shop price but it’s important to remember you get what you pay for. Quality is everything when it comes to the safety of your crew and family. Dolfab is proud to be a USCG certified welding and fabrication facility. We employ only the finest welder and fabricators in the industry and maintain an experienced team of USCG & ABS certified welders on staff. Their experience with Stainless Steel, Carbon Steel, Aluminum and Cupra-Nickel is unparalleled in the industry. We have the expertise, equipment and facilities to perform all types of welding either on your vessel or in our welding shop.