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The Importance of Cleaning Your Boat After a Day on the Water

by Duncan Seawall

We've all seen the overzealous boaters who wash down their boat after every two-hour trip, but maybe they were actually onto something. As it turns out, saltwater can cause devastating damage to boats if left without proper maintenance.


Related Blog: Top 4 Boat Cleaning Supplies


Have you ever noticed how your stainless boat remains mostly free of rust—also known as 'pox'—when you leave it at the marina? However, when you start taking your boat out for a couple of months, your boat will begin showing signs of rusting? That's because a day on the water can be tough on your boat.


Cleaning Your Boat After Every Trip

Cleaning every day may seem a little over the top, but wiping down the stainless and varnished teak with boat cleaning supplies might not be a bad idea. Why? Because salt will almost immediately start to corrode your boat and form pox.

You'll first start to notice it on the stainless, but the salt will damage the rest of your boat as well if it's not washed away.


What Happens if You Don't Clean Your Boat?

If you leave the salt on your boat, it will cause chalking and pitting.

The crystals from the saltwater will scratch and cause abrasions to your boat and, whether it's the isinglass or the other parts of the boat, the salt from the ocean will destroy a new boat quickly, leaving it full of rust and deterioration.


Washing Your Boat: Not Always Practical

Washing your boat after a day out is not always practical, especially when you have been out cruising for a few days when freshwater can be scarce.

What can you do in this scenario? Basically, you wait it out. As soon as you find freshwater at a marina, start to rid yourself of salt deposits. This takes about as much time as it would doing a load of laundry so you should not skip this step.


How to Remove the Salt Deposits

Sometimes it takes more than a fast pass with the pressurized sprayer to eliminate the salt deposits. You should examine the parts of the boat to make sure you removed the salt. Why? Salt has an infamous reputation for clinging onto surfaces even if you think you rinsed it away.

To get rid of the salt, you will want to scrub down everything, including the exterior and the interior. The cockpit and the mast should also be washed. In particular, pay special attention to the deck hardware and the pulleys.

To clean the pulleys, you can spray water at them. Also, get the mechanism that self-steers as well.


Proper Preparation

As you prepare for cleaning your boat, cover all the electrical equipment and spray around that area carefully. You should start near the top section of your boat and rinse it down section by section. Before you finish rinsing, spray the hull too.

Beware of using too much water pressure because you don't want the water to penetrate between the hatches or other places that could cause issues.

To get the best results, you must scrub the boat correctly each time. After the boat has been rinsed once, wait for it to dry and rinse again. Salt crystals sometimes require a couple of minutes before they will dissolve in water.

Once you have rinsed it, sponge and wipe the rest of it. The boat should be wet before doing this because you don't want the salt crystals to damage the paint or gel coat. Cleaning your boat goes a long way to protect your investment in a hobby you greatly enjoy.


How a Boat Lift Can Protect Your Boat

If you have questions about what you can do to protect your boat, contact us today to speak with a member of our team. We'll help answer any questions you have and show how we can help keep your boat in shipshape.

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