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, salt water can cause devastating damage to boats if left without proper maintenance. For example, have you ever noticed how your stainless boat remains mostly free of rust, also called pox, when you leave it at the marina? However, when you start taking your boat out for a couple months, your boat will begin showing signs of rusting.
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Cleaning Your Boat After Every Trip
We've all seen the guy who meticulously scrubs down his boat every morning with a gentle cloth. Maybe it seems a little over the top to clean your boat that thoroughly every morning. However, 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 will first notice it on the stainless, but the salt will damage the rest of your boat as well.
What Happens if You Don't Clean Your Boat?
If you leave the salt on your boat, it will cause chalking and pitting. Crystals from the salt will scratch and cause abrasions to your boat. 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
Especially when you have been out cruising for a few days, freshwater can be scarce and this can make washing your boat a task that is not practical. 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.
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 on to 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.
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 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 gelcoat. Cleaning your boat goes a long way to protect your investment in a hobby you greatly enjoy.