One of the less glamorous aspects of boat ownership is giving your pride and joy a bath on a regular basis. Even if your boat spends most of its life on the trailer or if it sits patiently at the dock, somehow airborne particles, leaves, bugs and sundry other stuff seems to collect on those once-pristine decks at an alarming rate.
Not to worry, just put on some shorts and flip-flops, grab the garden hose and get busy.
What kind of detergent should you use? Good question. Rule of thumb is use cleansers that are free of phosphates and other caustic chemicals. Why? Other than probably being too harsh for your boat, phosphates and caustics are harmful to the environment. The whole “think globally, act locally” thing, you know.
After your vessel’s squeaky clean and you’ve wiped all the water spots off, now’s the time to break out the waxes and polishes to bring out the shine. Space won’t allow us to discuss in detail each of the gazillion waxes, polishes and miracle finishes on the market, but we can tell you to use only those products made specifically for boats.
Yes, it’s tempting to slather the same paste wax that you use on the family grocery-getter—but be strong—go the boat store to get the high-quality wax or polish that your boat deserves.
A good coat of a boat-specific wax can go a long way in protecting your boat’s fiberglass from dirt, grime, salt spray and it’ll even make it easier to remove those bugs that your boat collects from cruising down the highway on its trailer.
Metal components, such as railings, cleats and other hardware can resist corrosion and stay looking better longer if you take a few minutes to wipe ‘em down with a marine-specific metal polish. A good polish shouldn’t be overly abrasive and ought to leave a protective film to guard against future corrosion.
Your local marina, boating supply store, favorite boat website or mail-order catalog should have plenty of cleaners, waxes, and polishes that are just right for whatever kind of boat you own.