A B C of Boat Detailing

boat detailing

Why is boat detailing so important? Boats are a great way to spend our leisure time. Because they allow us to have fun, to share with friends, and to explore the marvels of the sea or lakes. However, UV rays, contaminants from water, sand, dull the shine of metals and fade paint. In the north, winter storage, and in the south, harsh tropical conditions help to deteriorate it further.

A B C of Boat Detailing

Springtime is the time of the year when you give your boat the much-needed detailing work. You can do it yourself, which requires some elbow greasing from you. Or you can take it to a top craftsman, who will return the boat back to you with a shining look.

Detailing Begins with Rinsing

Always start with a rinse using plenty of water to clean the boat out of grit and debris. Specifically, use a pressure washer and work the boat from the top of the flying bridge all the way down.

Soap the Boat up

After removing debris and grime, it is time to work on the boat’s surface to take out the more stubborn dirt. Specifically, add some specialized boat soap to a bucket and work small areas with a sponge one at a time in a circular motion going from the top-down, rinsing it immediately. Equally important, clean the sponge of debris often, and do not let soap dry on the surface, or you run the risk of damaging the finish.

Add some boat soap to your bucket and using a sponge, wash surfaces with a brush, working again from the top down. Then, rinse the sponge or cleaning glove in the bucket often, and don’t let any soap dry on the surface, rinsing frequently with plenty of water. Especially don’t scrub the surface and let the cleaning products do their work.

Rubbing Time

By now, the surface of your boat should be looking much better, although dull. To remove wax, you should get to work and buff out the exterior surface by hand with a paint-safe acidic cleaner. Dilute it following the manufacturer’s instructions. Work small areas at a time and always follow with a thorough scrubbing with soap and water and rinse thoroughly to remove all residue.

Waxing Time

After you have cleaned and dewaxed the boat, it is waxing time. Wax not only makes your boat shine, but it is a protector against debris and grime. The force of elements UV rays, salt, bird droppings, are attacking your boat thin resin finish constantly. Wax will put a layer of protection between the gel coat and the environment. Moreover, if you wax your boat well, you will need to detail it less often.

Use past waxes, their coat is slightly thicker than polishes, thus giving your boat better protection. Apply paste wax by machine, working small areas at a time. As you finish waxing an area, polish it. Keep on waxing until the whole surface of the boat looks just like when you bought it. Always use marine-grade wax because they are better formulated to protect against harsher environments than car wax.

Seal the Wax in

Apply a Teflon wax sealer. The sealer fills the gel coat pores and dries within 24 hours. Not only it gives a glass-like shine to your boat, but it also acts as a shield against dirty water, salt spray, dirt, oil, UV rays, engine exhaust, and other aggressive agents. Four double protection apply a second coat.

Clean the Interior

Now is the turn of the boat’s interior. To clean the interior of the boat, always use a marine multisurface cleaner, which is strong enough to clean filthy spots, and won’t damage the boat surfaces. Similarly, use specialized metal polish for aluminum poles, waxing, and polishing them for extra protection.

Detailing Ends with Rinsing

It is not necessary to wash your boat with soap after every outing, because soaps, even the milder ones, break down the wax. Additionally, if you scrub it with soap after every outing, you will shorten the life of the wax, due to the fact that the wax coat lasts between 2 – 4 months. Hence, you only need to rinse it with fresh water to remove dirt and towel it dry, and do not air-dry it.

Salt attacks the metal pieces of your boat, eventually, oxidizing aluminum and rusting stainless steel. Consequently, after every outing rinse off salt from railings, anchor chain, the windlass, and other metal hardware.

Beauty that Lasts

As we have seen, detailing your boat is a task that requires hard work and can take 1 to 2 days to do it, depending on the boat’s size. If done properly, detailing not only gives your boat a showroom look, but it also prolongs its life. You can either do it yourself or you can take it to a top craftsman to do it.

Sources: Interlux