There’s not much better than a new boat – but an older boat that looks new is almost as good! Paul from A1 Marine Matters does a lot of our detailing work – and he’s provided us with some fantastic tips for maintaining your boat.
Tip 1 – Frequent washing
Saltwater can really do a number on your boat. Salt gets everywhere, and it doesn’t take long before the metal bits of your boat start corroding. Wash your boat once a fortnight, whether it’s on the water or on a hardstand. Don’t use harsh chemicals or commercial boat washes – these can strip the wax and cause extra problems. If in doubt, look for car wash and wax products.
Tip 2 – Wax on, wax off
We get a lot of sun here in Queensland – and while that sun can be great for boating, it can also really do a number on your boat. UV rays can damage your boat’s paintwork and, if left unchecked, cause serious damage to the materials underneath.
Solution? Wax your boat regularly to keep it protected from the harsh sun – every 3-6 months. Don’t wait until the gel coat starts looking dull and chalky: this spells minor disaster, because to repair the damage you’ll need to go through a full cut, polish, and wax process. Ugh! Keep up the waxing and this won’t be an issue. If the finish on your boat is starting to dull, then it’s the perfect time to apply a new coat of wax. We recommend Carnauba Wax for most boats; if yours is particularly high-powered then perhaps a synthetic polymer seal would be more effective. If you’re waxing by hand, it can be quite a large job – expect to take at least 4 hours to apply wax to a medium sized boat.
Tip 3 – Check for rust
Regular wash-downs should protect the stainless steel parts of your boat from corrosion. But you’re better off making sure of the fact rather than assuming; regularly check every steel fitting for rust. And if you find some, don’t put off dealing with it – attack it immediately and hand polish it until it’s gone.
Tip 4 – Look after upholstered surfaces
Upholstery is comparatively delicate stuff, even if it’s designed for hard wear and outdoor use. Sun, salt and damp can all damage soft surfaces. You really don’t want split or mouldy seats! After taking your boat out, rinse off the upholstery, let it dry, then cover it to protect it from sun, wind, and rain.
Tip 5 – Airing out
Even if you protect your boat carefully from the rain, mould is still a serious threat in such a humid environment as South-east Queensland’s can be. Ventilation covers will help; regular airing out (at least once a week) will help even more. And if you still get some mould creeping in, we provide mould removal services for boat covers and upholstery.
Tip 6 – Keep cover and clears clean
Boat covers and clears are often neglected, but this is a big no-no – keeping them clean and dry can do wonders not only for the life of your boat, but also for your comfort and ease. Rinse and air your boat cover frequently to avoid mildewing or damage from the salt water; undamaged covers keep your boat in better nick and smell a lot better! Rinse your clears with fresh water to remove salt crystals and as much dirt as possible – skipping this step can lead to scratched clears. Then use Plexus and a soft cloth to remove salt spray and other grime. Rinse again, then dry with a clean chamois. Do this each time you go out and you will always be able to see clearly out of your clears.
Tip 7 – Rinse and cover the helm
Components of your boat’s helm will deteriorate when exposed to UV rays or salt. After using your boat, rinse off the helm with fresh water, use a clean chamois to dry it off, then cover it.
Tip 8 – Teak decking
Teak decks are beautiful, but they do need special care that might not be obvious if you’re used to dealing with other wood types. Being naturally fungal-resistant, they don’t tend to need sealing or oiling (which can actually be dangerous; you don’t want a slippery deck!). Instead, they need careful cleaning to stay looking their best for as long as possible. Keep them clean so that dirt and mould doesn’t build up. Don’t use a pressure cleaner or hard-bristled scrubbing brush on teak – ever. A pressure cleaner can actually blast some of the softer wood fibres out of the timber, leaving an uneven surface that will look bad and eventually need to be fixed. Hard scrubbing brushes can achieve much the same effect – not good. Rinse them after every use with salt water, not fresh. Wash your decks with a dedicated teak cleaning solution, then use a brightener solution.
Talk to us about getting your boat detailed while you have it in for servicing if you don’t have time to do it yourself.
Got any other boat detailing tips you’d like to share? Comment below.