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Boat Care: Boat Scum Remover 101

boat in fog

Any avid boater will tell you that protecting your investment is all about cleaning your boat, including tackling one major problem. 

River Scum

Leave your boat in the water unattended and slowly but surely river scum develops. While the main culprits are algae and pollen, any compound with a high mineral content that sits on the water’s surface is going to give you trouble. Not only will it leave a disgusting stain on your boat but the longer it sticks, the harder it is to remove. 

Use the wrong boat cleaner and you might remove the river scum but wind up damaging your boat’s finish in the process. Some boaters use soap and water while others experiment with products like toilet bowl cleaner, vinegar, detergent or Tilex (which, while creative, isn’t a great idea). Do nothing and that scum line can become permanent.

River Scum Rescue

When combating the gunk, there are a couple things to keep in mind. Never use strong detergents or chlorinated cleansers in general. Chlorine is corrosive and will permanently stain materials that are anodized aluminum like your rails and trim. 

Look for a non-abrasive boat cleaner that won’t remove wax from the fiberglass or consider a specialized fiberglass cleaner which will remove algae, rust, oxidation, mildew, exhaust and waterline stains from all surfaces of your boat (including stainless steel).

The Finishing Touch 

What a lot of boaters overlook is waxing. After any cleaning, it’s important to wax your cleaned surface to keep it clean. Otherwise, it will just get stained again but twice as quickly. Regardless what boat cleaner you use, the little pores in the paint open up, making it easier for dirt and grime to accumulate and stain your boat. Wax after a deep clean to fill in the holes and keep gunk out.

To preserve your boat’s finish, check out formulas with UV filters which will protect your boat against harmful sun rays so it doesn’t become chalky and destroy its look. Also look for solvent-free waxes that won’t deteriorate your boat’s graphics. And, finally, keep a boat shammy or some microfiber towels on hand to wipe down your boat and keep it free of watermarks. 

Regular maintenance checks and cleanings will keep your boat in pristine condition so you can focus on the good stuff–a day on the water. 

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