Tips for Keeping Your Boat Looking Like New
We’re just guessing here, but you didn’t invest money on a beautiful boat to have it looking like crap, right? A poorly maintained boat really stands out from the crowd, and not in a good way.
Keeping your boat looking its best just requires a little regular cosmetic maintenance from time-to-time. A well-cared for aquatic vessel will also put some money back in your pocket by maintaining its resale value. Here are some basic boat maintenance tips to keep your prized watercraft looking like new.
Hull and Topside Maintenance
The gelcoat used to give fiberglass boats their mirror-smooth finishes and lustrous shines is very susceptible to damage from the sun’s UV rays.
Unless the hull and topside are regularly washed, polished and waxed, the gelcoat will oxidize, leaving it dull and discolored.
- Clean, polish and apply several coats of marine paste wax to the gelcoat at the start of each boating season
- Wash the boat with boat soap after every trip to remove all traces of salt and other contaminants
- Clean and apply a coat of liquid wax to the gelcoat several times throughout the boating season
Deck and Brightwork Maintenance
The deck takes the full force of the sun’s heat and UV rays. It’s also prone to stains from dirt trodden into it, as well as any spills.
Keeping the deck clean might be a never-ending process, but it’s a simple one.
- Hose down fiberglass decks after every trip. Use boat soap and a brush to remove dirt from molded anti-skids, and use stain remover to eliminate any stains.
- Swab teak decks with water once a week. Don’t use detergents on or scrub teak decks, as they will strip the teak wood of its natural oils and damage the wood.
- Treat a teak deck with teak cleaner once or twice a year to keep it well conditioned.
Metal brightwork is easy to maintain with metal polish and a bit of elbow grease. Regularly polishing chrome and stainless steel fittings helps prevent pitting and oxidation.
Seating and Carpeting Maintenance
Unless they’re regularly attended to, seats and carpets become havens for mildew and mold.
Minor amounts of mildew on the surface of upholstery can be dealt with, but mold establishing itself deep within carpets or seat cushions may require the affected item(s) to be replaced completely.
- Clean seats and upholstery with vinyl cleaner, and try to keep them as dry as possible
- Clean carpets several times a year using carpet cleaner mixed with warm water, a soft brush and a wet/dry vacuum cleaner
Enclosures and Bimini Top Maintenance
The canvas used in cabin enclosures and Bimini tops is notorious for fading, and the vinyl used to create windows is prone to yellowing and cracking.
Washing the canvasses on your boat with boat soap and a soft brush once or twice a year prevents dirt from building up. Canvas enclosures and Bimini tops typically have lifespans of about five years. However, there’s not much you can do to prevent the fabric from fading over time.