How to Restore Color to a Faded Boat

When the sky is clear, the water is blue, and the sea is mostly empty, there are few things as beautiful as a vibrant colored boat ready to be taken out from the marina. Unfortunately, your boat doesn’t qualify. The good news is that even if your boat has faded in color over the years, there are still things you can do as an owner to spruce up its look and make your boat look every bit as good as it runs. And even though you’re up against Father Time, you can still restore a boat to full luster by focusing on the best restore-ready materials and treating them with the right
care.

First Things First: Wash and Clean

You’d be amazed at how gorgeous a boat can look simply through giving it a thorough wash—especially if you haven’t cleaned it in a while. Problems like grime, dirt, ocean debris, salt, and grease tend to build up over time, and if you don’t address them regularly, you’ll find that your boat will almost always suffer from premature aging.

Check out the array of cleaners available at BoatLife.com to see what’s been missing on your boat. Clean the bilge, clean the aluminum, and clear your fiberglass of stains. Then you can step back and take a look at how much color your boat has really lost over the years.

Getting the Most Out of Your Fiberglass

Fiberglass is issue #1 when it comes to most cosmetic boat restorations. Treat it with a high-quality Fiberglass Cleaner before giving it a full restoration; you want to see if there are stains and debris that can easily be cleared out first.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming a general cleaner is enough for your fiberglass. Boating Magazine recommends a heavy cutting compound in order to clean off oxidation stains and restore fiberglass to its previous luster. They also recommend cleaning with a foam pad, and then finishing everything off by buffing the fiberglass with a power buffer. (Sometimes, the only way to get hard-set stains from fiberglass is with a power buffer).

Keeping Your Colors Bright

It’s not enough to restore your boat’s colors and forget about it—you’ll want to make sure to save your work as much as possible so you don’t have to keep borrowing your buddy’s power buffer.

Perhaps the most important addition to your boating routine will be wax. LifeWax is great for general boat use while Graphix Wax is especially aimed for boats with custom graphics. This wax won’t only offer your boat’s fiberglass some protection from the sun’s powerful rays, but will help keep your hull free of debris, giving it an extra coat to keep dirt, grease, and other typical boat villains at bay.

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