Boat cleaning is an essential part of boat ownership. Without regular cleaning a boat can quickly become unseaworthy. Even if your vessel has been under wraps, the covers have to regularly come off to remove grime that collects with the change in weather.
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Why You Need To Clean Your Boat
The process of cleaning does more than keep your boat beautiful, it mitigates the destructive nature of substances such as:
Seawater is more corrosive than freshwater because of its chloride content. Chloride penetrates metals allowing for oxidation and corrosion. If left unchecked and uncleaned salt stains will eat away your metals and strip protective layers and films from plastic, wood, and fiberglass.
Oils are just as destructive and can eat away at non-high density plastics and rubber. Failure to remove oils and grime can leave grommets and seals degraded. Mildew, though not corrosive to boats, isn't healthy for people and pets. It likes to grow on materials like vinyl and it can cause a wide range of respiratory illnesses.
It's recommended that boats are cleaned on a regular scheduled basis on top of cleaning after each use. Although most boats are used recreationally, it's best to view your vessel as a tool that needs to be regularly maintained and cleaned before putting it away. This will ensure your craft is ready to disembark anytime you set foot upon it.
Essential Boat Cleaning Supplies
1. Basic Detergents
There are two important factors to consider when choosing a cleaning detergent. Is it biodegradable and is it water-soluble? Cleaners need to be biodegradable for the sake of marine life and the continued health of our oceans.
A water-soluble detergent won't have small particles that act like sandpaper and abrade your craft while cleaning.
Oxy Clean and Simple Green are good choices for most surfaces. For glass and plexiglass use vinegar. It's just as reliable as any brand name cleaner and is biodegradable.
2. Brushes And Tools
Having the right tool for the job is essential- especially when cleaning. Climbing up and down a ladder to reach hard to clean spots can be exhausting. This can be mitigated with the use of a telescoping pole with a cleaning head attached.
These types of poles come standard in most cleaning kits. Depending on the type of material you're cleaning- fiberglass, brass, or stainless steel, most cleaning kits come with a variety of "heads" that are designed to be used on different surfaces. Most kits will come with a:
- Telescoping Pole
- Short Handled Pole
- Various Cleaning Heads- Mop, Sponge, Soft and Hard Brushes
- Shammies and Wipe-up Cloths
3. Polish And Wax
After spending the time to clean your boat, it's highly recommended that you seal up every surface you can. Waxing and polishing keeps your vessel protected from UV rays and the damage from marine oxidation.
It's important to use the appropriate type of polish on the different surfaces a boat can have. Make sure not to use waxes designed for plastics and fiberglass on chrome and brass. Metals should be buffed with polishes designed for them. The same holds true with wood. Wood surfaces need an oil soap so as not to strip its finish.
Cleaning with a Boat Lift
A boat lift is ideal for keeping your vessel clean. After an outing, lifting your boat out of the water makes it easier for you to reach all parts of the boat. You now have full access to the hull and can scrub and rinse below the water line. Because nutrient rich waters off the coast of Florida are ideal for barnacle growth, storing your boat out of the water via a lift can keep marine organisms from growing on your hull.
For any routine maintenance, repairs, or if you’re looking to install a new boat lift, dock, or seawall, contact us today to speak with a member of our team.