Purchasing a boat is a serious investment. No matter whether you use your boat for business or pleasure, you probably want to keep it looking great. Not only will your clean boat be a source of pride, keeping it clean and looking new will help it last as long as possible. If you take good care of your boat, your boat will take good care of you! Here are some ways to keep your watercraft going above and beyond.
- Charley Hartley of Bassmaster.com suggests keeping a welcome mat on your boat. He asks, “You’ve got a welcome mat for your house or apartment, why not your boat?” This helps keep dirt, mud, grit and grime off the pristine carpets of your watercraft. (On a similar note, don’t be afraid to vacuum and spot-clean your boat’s carpets every once in a while! There’s a lot of crud that accumulates in there.)
- Hartley also suggests tackling problems as they occur – specifically, the scum that accumulates on the waterline on your boat’s hull. He uses microfiber towels to scrub away that scum line before it can dry (which makes it harder to get rid of). These cloths are specially made to prevent scratches; not all towels are made equally, so be careful that you’re not using something that can damage the boat.
- In the same vein, rinse the boat with fresh, clean water after you take it out of the water. This can help get rid of the scum line, or make it easier to clean, and it will also remove any reside that can destroy the boat’s finish (especially if you are boating in salt water).
- Clean glass elements and vinyl upholstery with their respective commercial cleaning solutions. If you’d rather make your own glass cleaner, you can use a solution made with water and vinegar. Vinyl treatments are also available to help preserve the upholstery.
- Your boat’s exterior is covered with something called a “gelcoat,” which protects the fiberglass underneath from moisture and UV rays. If the gelcoat looks chalky, it is probably oxidized, and will need to be restored. Damage to the gelcoat can occur from something as simple as bumping into the dock too many times. Fortunately, there are various ways to repair and restore the gelcoat, leaving your boat looking good as new.
- Brushes are helpful when trying to remove dirt and grime from your boat’s exterior. When using a brush to scrub your boat, choose one with a long handle (to help you reach difficult places) and medium-stiffness bristles. Bristles that are too stiff can scratch your boat.
- Use a soap that is environmentally-friendly and easy on your boat. Some “concentrated” soap can actually degrade your gelcoat and cause damage to the hull over time. Choose a cleanser that is biodegradable and has a neutral pH, and follow all directions on the label, especially those instructions that deal with diluting and disposal of the product.
The Internet holds a wealth of information on the care and keeping of boats, but it’s always a good idea to go deeper! Contact the manufacturer of your watercraft if you want their specific recommendations and cleaning tips for your model.
This post was written by a guest contributor for Central Michigan Graphics, the experts in custom vinyl graphics for automotive, marine, and retail applications.