How to Clean a Boat Before Summer
With spring coming to an end, get ready to welcome back the hottest (but for many people, the most enjoyable) season of the year: summer! It’s finally time to whip out those swimsuits, invite your friends and family over for a socially distanced campfire at the beach, and get your boat out of winter retirement. Sounds like a lot of fun, right? You bet it is!
Boats can be pretty expensive, so if you want to enjoy them for years to come, you need to give them some TLC. Hopefully, that’s what you did when you stored your boat over the winter. But now that you’re looking at one of your most prized possessions, you might realize it’s become filthy from all those months in storage. If you’re a new boat owner, there’s a good chance that you’re absolutely clueless on how to clean a boat. Need help? Read on!
How to Clean a Fiberglass Boat
Cleaning a boat takes time and effort, but thankfully, it is not as hard as you think. All you need are the right materials, some open space, and a bit of your time. Add a little sweat equity and you can get your boat ready for the water in no time! If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, you can always have a professional to do it for you, but this can set you back $40-$50 per foot of boat.
If you’ve decided to take on the challenge of cleaning your boat, then let’s get started.
First things first: prepare all the needed materials. You need to use the right tools for the job to make the boat washing process easier.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Water hose, buckets, and sponges
- Cleaning brushes. Make sure they’re sturdy enough to withstand usage and have long handles to get to those hard-to-reach places. Also, use a medium-soft brush to prevent damaging the boat’s finish.
- Boat soap. Make sure that the soap you are going to be using is tough on dirt, yet environmentally friendly.
- Chamois or microfiber cloth
- Buffer and boat wax
Now that you have all that you need, it’s time to learn how to clean a boat hull. This may be the first time you’re doing this, so we prepared this handy step-by-step guide for your reference.
- Rinse your boat. Never scrub a dry boat, since this can damage the finish and gel coat. As a precaution, rinse off your boat with fresh water from top to bottom before applying anything.
- Soap and scrub. Mix the boat soap with water in a bucket and use a sponge for scrubbing. Rinse off the soap as soon as possible to keep it from drying and leaving behind some ugly streaks. In outboard-powered boats, don’t forget to clean the motor, lower drive unit, prop area, and motor mounts, where dirt tends to accumulate.
- Scrub the deck. Use a long-handled scrub brush and a boat soap for scrubbing the deck. Avoid using bleach, since it can be extremely toxic.
- Dry your boat immediately after washing, using a soft, highly absorbent cloth to prevent spotting.
- Buff and wax. Apply wax to preserve the look of your boat and protect it from the elements. For best results, buff the surface before applying the wax.
Pre-Summer Boat Cleaning Checklist
Aside from cleaning the hull and deck, don’t forget to check on the following before setting sail this summer. These parts need cleaning, too!
- Clean dirty windows like a pro by using simple a water and vinegar solution and a clean microfiber cloth. For scratched windows, ask a professional for help.
- Dirty Metals. There’s metal all around your boat, and it will be pure joy to see it shine brightly like the rest of your boat! To do this, get an appropriate chrome or stainless steel cleaning solution from your nearest hardware store, apply it on the metalwork, and leave it on for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the manufacturer’s directions. Afterward, wipe it off with a clean cloth and apply a wax sealer or protectant. Then, step back and admire your handiwork.
- Oxidized Metals. For pitted or oxidized metalwork, grab some metal wax and leave it on the affected area overnight. Then, grab a piece of fine bronze wool and gently scrub off the wax the next day. Repeat this several times until you fix the issue.
- Vinyl upholstery. Do you know how to clean vinyl boat seats? Here’s how you do it: First, clean off the upholstery with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or salt. You may also use vinyl cleaners if you want to make sure your seats are spotless and apply some spray-on furniture polish to protect against stains. For upholstery with mildew, use a solution with 1 part ammonia and 4 parts water or commercial stain removers, followed by a fresh water rinse.
- If you have a carpet in the cabin, vacuum and spot clean it from time to time. Consider using a stain remover for hard-to-remove stains.
- It’s a sin to forget about your engine, so make sure everything is fine and functioning before you take it out of storage for the summer. Use an engine cleaner such as WD-40, along with a cleaning cloth, to remove accumulated dirt, grime, and grease. WD-40 also protects your engine parts from exposure to moisture.
Now that you know how to clean a boat and have invested some sweat equity to make sure your boat is sparkling clean and ready to hit the water, get ready for some serious fun!
Keep Your Boat Squeaky Clean and Ready for Summer with a Seal Skin Cover!
If you feel that cleaning your boat is too much for you but you don’t want to spend on having it professionally cleaned, here’s a cheaper option: Use a high-quality boat cover such as the ones we have at Seal Skin. At Seal Skin Covers, you get more than your money’s worth. Our products are 100% waterproof yet extremely breathable, tough, durable, and extremely affordable.
If you’re interested in buying a cover for your precious boat, call us at 800-915-0038 during our office hours (Monday to Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST) and we’ll answer all your questions about our products, exchange, and refund policies. We have the best covers for your boat so give us a call today!