Keeping Your Boat Ship Shape!

Post by: TheYachtMarket News
11 July 2008

If you have a new or used boat for sale, remember - first impressions count.

We've put together a handy guide to help you keep your boat in ship shape and Bristol fashion!

What You'll Need:

  • Soft Rags
  • Wax
  • Soap
  • Sponge
  • Squeegee
  • Compound (for removing deep scratches)
  • Scrub Brush
  • Boat pole and scrub brush attachment
  • Hose with a water source

Wash Your Boat

Rinsing your boat regularly with freshwater, will reduce the amount of time needed to wash and wax your boat. Start by spraying the entire boat with a fine spray. Not only do you rinse the outside, but also the inside and under side of the top. If it's a sail boat, try to hit as high up on the mast and rigging as possible. It takes a minute or two for dry salt crystals to dissolve completely, so after a few minutes hose it down thoroughly then give it a final rinse, starting from the top and moving doing the hull sides last. If you have an outboard boat, don't forget to do the engines, including the undersides of the mount brackets.

Washing your boat with a high-quality marine soap, rather than a standard household cleaner is kinder to the boat. Domestic cleaning solutions have very high alkaline levels and will strip the wax off your boat's hull a lot faster than a specialist marine soap. It could also scratch the gelcoat if they are not removed thoroughly.

Use a soft bristled deck brush for cleaning cushions and canvas and never use a brush on any plastic curtains. Imitation lamb's wool brushes are the least abrasive on bright finishes. For tougher areas, choose a natural bristle brush. Avoid stiff bristles as these will scratch.

Always dry your boat thoroughly. Whatever drying method you choose, be sure to remove water before the water spots appear.

Wax Your Boat

One of the most important parts of the waxing process is to properly prepare the surface. Use a fibreglass hull cleaner to remove barnacles and algae. Boat wax usually contains powerful acid cleaner so always take precautions to avoid breathing the fumes and protect your skin. Be careful not get on any metal, as this will cause corrosion. Use lots of clean rags when waxing your boat.

Oxidized Gelcoats

If you choose to use an oxidation remover, start with the least aggressive rubbing compound available. If your boat's gelcoat is oxidized but not too severely i.e. if it has a moderate-dull look, choose a fine rubbing compound. Remember, when using abrasives they will actually remove the gelcoat. If your gelcoat is severely oxidized, talk to your local boat yard and have it done professionally.

Of course, is time is of the essence and money is no object, you could always use a professional boat cleaning service. These are becoming increasingly popular in the sailing world.

Be Green!

Most cleaning products contain chemicals which disrupt the reproductive cycle of fish. Detergents containing phosphates may result in damage to aquatic life. Products used on boat hulls and decks may contain chlorine, ammonia, potassium hydroxide and solvents, also harmful to the aquatic environment.

Remember! For the best overall maintenance for your boat, preventative care is the key. Take time to rinse, clean and wax your boat regularly and your boat will keep ship shape for years to come.