Keeping your boat clean

Everyone loves a day on the boat, but not everyone enjoys cleaning the boat afterwards.

Some say the two best days of owning a boat are the day you buy it and the day you sell it. Regardless of how long you’ve owned your boat, you need to regularly maintain it to keep it in good condition, particularly if you do plan to sell it someday. Here are some tips for keeping your boat in good condition.

Wax the hull

If you are planning to dry-dock your boat over winter or just for a few weeks, wash and wax the hull before putting it into dry storage. Use a non-toxic, environmentally safe boat cleaner while the boat is still wet and apply it with a sponge or soft scrub brush. After washing and drying the hull, use a non-toxic brand of fiberglass or gel-coat wax to prevent surface dirt and grime from becoming ingrained.

Waxing your hull reduces the need for detergents or heavy scrubbing the next time you wash it. Remember not to put wax on your boat deck though, as you don’t want to make your deck slippery.

Put water repellent on your windshield

Use a marine water repellent to reduce the amount of grit or salt that sticks to your windshield. Be careful to pick a product that’s safe for plexiglass or glass, depending on your windshield type.

Protect your upholstery

Avoid replacing your vinyl boat upholstery by applying a coating to protect it from the elements. Use a damp cloth to wipe away any dirt, grime or salt residue. Wipe the upholstery with a damp cloth and apply a vinyl protectant. Use a boat cover to guard against stains and weathering while preserving the life of your upholstery.

Flush your live well

If you own a fishing boat with a livewell system, you should scrub and flush it on a weekly basis using a mixture of baking soda and hot water. Avoid using bleach or any strong detergents because they may produce toxic residue, which will cause issues with any bait or fish that you put inside your livewell.  Once you have removed the dirt and grime, rinse the system out several times before heading back out on the water.

Rinse the deck

Try to rinse off any dirt or spills when they happen, rather than waiting until your next clean-up. If you use your boat for fishing, rinse off any bait or debris before it dries. When scrubbing the deck, consider the type of boat deck before buying the cleaning liquid. For example, on a non-skid deck, use a medium-stiff deck brush and boat soap that has been specifically formulated for the marine environment.