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How to Protect Your Boat Graphics from Sun Damage

Speedboat on the water

When you go outdoors during the summer, you put on sunscreen to prevent sun damage. Simple enough. So how come you don’t apply the same logic to your boat graphics?

The truth is, boat graphics are every bit as susceptible to sun damage—which means if you want to protect your investment, you’re going to need a little bit of know-how and the right products in order to keep your graphics at their original luster for years to come.

Step #1: Clean Your Boat

Let’s say you were full of dirt and grime and haven’t taken a shower in weeks. Would you put on sunscreen then? Of course not; you’d take a shower and clean yourself off first, then properly dry. Your boat has the same needs. That’s why we recommend starting off with a literal clean slate—clean off your boat’s fiberglass and upholstery. If you plan on adding some sun protection, make sure that your boat is clean and ready to receive it. This will ensure even application—which also happens to mean even protection from the sun.

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Step #2: Find the Right Wax

There’s no actual sunscreen for boats—but there is wax to be found that is built specially to protect your graphics from sun damage. That’s what you have to do at this stage of the game: find the wax that actually mentions UV protection on the label. Identify a wax that mentions that it’s for protecting your graphics specifically and it’s hard to go wrong. Fortunately, we have an idea where you can find that kind of wax…

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Step #3: Apply

With the right wax applied, you’ve essentially given your boat “sunscreen.” But what happens if you’ve already left your boat out in the sun too long and there’s some sun damage? Now that you’ve identified the right wax to use for your graphics—and presumably you have a clean and dry boat upon which to apply this wax—you’re ready to rub the wax on and buff it off. You can use a power buffer if you like, but if your boat doesn’t have a lot of square footage on its hull, you shouldn’t have too much trouble buffing by hand.

In that case, we’d recommend Color Restorer before waxing your boat. Although this doesn’t necessarily bring your graphics back to life, it can actually bring some of the luster of the original coat of your boat back, which goes a far way in restoring it to its former glory. And since it doesn’t harm or scratch the gel coat, you can rest easy knowing that the Color Restorer will do its job without further damage. Keep in mind that this product isn’t necessarily for restoring graphics colors, as custom graphics have many different constructions. That’s why it’s so important to give your graphics a good “sunscreen” application every so often.

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