detailed boat

When it comes to major maintenance on systems and engines, often times it is best to consult the expertise of a boat yard or independent professional who specializes in engines, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, etc. But the more basic care and maintenance of keeping your boat clean and beautiful doesn’t need the attention or expense of hired help. These tasks can easily be performed by the owners or even an ambitious child or grandchild, just be sure the maintenance gets done on a regular basis. Here’s how to keep the showroom shine on your gelcoat or paint finish!

  • Start at the top and work your way down. Grime collects on the tower buggy top and on the fiberglass hardtop. If you wait for the rain to rinse it off, it will leave black streaks down the topsides and hull.
  • Wash with a neutral PH soap that does not remove wax. Dish detergents will quickly dissolve wax and expose the gelcoat or paint to the elements.
  • Use clean cotton mitts for fiberglass and metal surfaces. Use another mitt for the vinyl enclosure to avoid transferring grime from one surface to the other. Occasionally, take all of the cotton mitts and toss them in the washing machine to remove residual dirt that collects in the fibers.

Wookie at that chamois job!

  • Additionally, we would recommend when washing the mitts in a clothes washer to use a mild detergent free of dyes and fragrance and also add a couple ounces of distilled white vinegar to prevent a residue from being left on the mitts from the laundry soap.
  • Painted boats should only be washed and waxed with the paint manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Dry with a blade, a chamois or a clean terry cloth towel. Water left to evaporate leads to spotting on metal, black painted windshield masks and glass. A dockside filtration canister is a good investment.
  • Wax is not the same as polish; the former seals; the latter cleans and preps the surface for wax.
  • When water no longer beads on the surface, the wax protection is gone. Always test a small area to determine the condition of the substrate. If the wax is difficult to remove, the surface needs to be cleaned before wax can successfully be applied.
  • Cleaner/waxes combine two steps into one, but are not as durable as a pure wax coating.
  • We suggest using cleaner/waxes compatible with your paint or gelcoat finish between hard coat waxings – most products are not harsh to waxed finishes and may even help prolong the durability of the hard coat waxed surface.
Princess Lily