Owning a boat is a great source of joy; with the right care and cleaning regiment, your boat can last for years of on-the-water fun. However, using improper techniques can actually cause unintentional damage to your boat. In the information below, we’ll go over some of the best methods for how to clean your boat so you can enjoy it for seasons to come.
Don’t Neglect the Bilge
While cleaning the bilge is one of the most important factors for proper engine health, it’s often overlooked by many boat owners. The bilge holds some of the toughest and most damaging grime and oil residue which can build up and cause irreparable damage to the appearance and function of your vessel.
Some people recommend using water and soap to clean the bilge of your boat. However, this is often not tough enough for a thorough cleaning. It is best to use a commercial grade bilge cleaner that is biodegradable. You’ll want to reference the instructions for your specific bilge cleaner. For most commercial grade cleaners, you’ll need to pour some into the bilge of your boat and dilute it with water. Let the mixture sit for a few hours in order to break down some of the built up grime. Once the time is up, scrub the dirty areas and then let the excess water and cleaner drain.
Clean the Hull
The hull of your boat is constantly exposed to water and harmful UV rays. These elements are unavoidable during your time on the water. However, regularly cleaning your boat hull can help prevent permanent stains, discoloration, and reduced fuel efficiency and performance. Luckily, cleaning the boat hull doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Plus, when done consistently, it’ll keep your vessel looking like new.
For best results, you can use a power washer on the hull--this will ensure you remove the maximum amount of surface buildup from your boat. Soak your boat completely with clean water and apply a biodegradable, commercial boat cleaner with a sponge or a soft cloth or brush. You don’t want to use anything to rough or it will cause scratches. You’ll also want to apply a wax or polish afterward that contains UV sunscreen. While the types of cleaner you use will vary, you can use this method to clean fiberglass and painted aluminum.
Take Care of the Seats
Boat seats, especially those made of vinyl, can undergo a great deal of damage when subjected to too much sun exposure. While this damage is mostly unavoidable when you’re on the water, you can reduce the effects by covering your boat when you’re not using it; be sure to choose a cover made with breathable fabric in order to avoid mildew.
Additionally, you should take care to clean your seats and apply protectants that help reduce the risk of cracking and discoloration. Many of these protectants include a sunscreen element so that they won’t break down when exposed to UV rays.
Following these tips for how to clean a boat can help you prolong the life of your boat by maintaining its appearance and function. Regularly cleaning your boat is ideal, but you should also take care to prevent dirt and damage by properly covering your boat when it’s not being used. Be sure to check out Seal Skin’s expansive collection of premium, 5-layer quality covers made for all types of boats.