Your boat is your pride and joy.
There’s nothing like spending time out on the water.
But your prized vessel can become an eyesore over time if you don’t take the necessary steps to maintain it.
There are some tasks that you can handle on your own and we’ll be taking a look at those.
However, some aspects of cleaning your boat should be left up to the expertise of a professional boat cleaning service.
Let’s start with the basics: the areas of your boat that need attention.
Cleaning your boat
These are the parts of your craft that you’ll need to care for.
- Hull (From the waterline up)
- Decks: teak, fiberglass, etc.
- Superstructure (AKA the parts of your boat that extend above the main deck)
- Swim platform
- Interior, including the engine room
- Stainless steel/chrome
- Vinyl/polyester/olefin/acrylic upholstery seating
- Any carpeting
- Leather seating
The following are the boat-cleaning jobs that you can handle on a regular basis.
1. Gather supplies
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Sturdy cleaning brushes that won’t damage finish or gel coat
- Long-handled scrub brush
- Washing pads
- Chamois cloths
- Environmentally-friendly soap
2. Follow this process
Working from the top down, follow these steps:
- Rinse the entire boat completely. You should NEVER scrub a dry boat!
- Lather up the area you’re working on with a sponge soaked in a warm solution made with an environmentally-friendly cleanser.
- Scrub and rinse one section at a time. If you suds up the whole boat at once, some of the sections will dry before you can get to them. If your boat has an outboard motor, remember to lather up and rinse it, too, as well as the lower drive unit, the prop and motor mounts.
- Scrub the deck with the same soapy solution and a long-handled scrub brush.
- Dry each section with soft drying cloths that are highly absorbent and will soak up water – without scratching or damaging your boat’s surface coating.
- Waxing will protect the finish but it doesn’t need to be done after every use. Applying several coats of a carnauba wax once or twice during the season is sufficient.
- Wash the windows and any other glass surfaces with a 1:1 solution of water and vinegar.
- Clean metal and chrome by applying a light film of cleaner and letting it sit for 15-30 minutes. Wipe it off with a clean cloth. Afterward, apply a sealer to protect against the elements.
- Carpet and upholstery certainly need attention, but these jobs are best handled by a professional.
Trust the experts
Here’s the deal: The materials on your boat are not like cleaning the carpet, leather or upholstery in your home.
Your boat experiences wear and, eventually, damage, from the time it spends in the sun, water and sitting during winter.
The upholstery and carpeting are made of water- and sun-resistant materials (acrylic, olefin, vinyl, polyester), which unfortunately makes them tricky to clean well on your own. Leather is difficult to clean and restore, too.
That’s why calling in someone to do professional carpet, upholstery and leather cleaning and restoration for your boat is so necessary.
And don’t forget the carpets – they need that skilled touch, too.
The pros understand the importance of identifying the type of material so it can be cleaned properly, in a way that doesn’t encourage sun damage, bleaching or loss of color.
But that’s not all.
Let’s take a look at some of the additional reasons to trust a qualified boat cleaning expert to handle the job:
- Your boat will maintain its value longer. If the time comes that you want or need to sell your boat, you’ll want it to be in the best shape possible to recoup as much of your investment as you can.
- Skilled technicians can identify – and fix – small issues before they become bigger, more costly problems.
Professional boat cleaning service for the win
It’s important that you keep up with the maintenance tasks you can do on your own throughout the season.
Use the right supplies and follow the correct procedure to prevent damage to your craft.
Trust the upholstery, leather and carpet to the experts so you know the job is done correctly and you won’t face hefty restoration or replacement costs in the future.
It’s also a good idea to have your entire boat professionally cleaned at the end of every boating season.
Follow these tips and it’ll be smooth sailing all the way.