There’s an old phrase in the automotive industry—“where the
rubber meets the road.” In the world of boating, there’s no more important part
of your boat to clean and properly maintain than the hull itself. It’s where
the boat meets the water. But it’s not just that: the way your hull looks will
impact the way your entire boat
But how should you actually treat your boat’s hull to get
the most out of your cleaning and washing sessions? What can you do that will
lead to a new-looking, long-lasting hull finish you can be proud to take out on
the water? Here’s a five-step guide for your next hull cleaning that will
maximize your chances at taking an old boat hull and having it so clean it
Step 1: Pull the boat
out of the water. Many people—especially new boat owners—ignore just how
important this part of the process is. Cleaning your boat with fresh water is
important, but so is the fact that you can keep cleaning chemicals out of your
local wildlife by cleaning your boat once it’s on dry land. Look for local
marinas that offer boat cleaning areas—otherwise, depending on your logistics,
you may be able to wash your boat on your own driveway.
Why pull the boat out of the water? For starters, it’s the
only way to access the entire hull. What’s more, you can use cleaning chemicals
and solvents that you wouldn’t be able to use in a lake, stream, or river. It
also gives you an opportunity to let the hull dry if need be.
Step 2: Clean debris,
scum, and other staining. Remove any debris that may be stuck to your boat
before you begin, and then proceed to clean debris, scum, and anything else
that didn’t come with your boat purchase off of your hull. What solvents and
cleaners you use at this point are up to you, but you may want to research a
little to find the right match, especially if your boat hull contains graphics
in need of protection. Start by washing the hull clean of any major debris, and
then go in for a finer wash once the excess debris is cleared away.
Step 3: Rinse.
Rinsing the boat off with fresh water won’t seem like it accomplishes much, but
you’d be surprised at how important a step this is. Rinsing clears away any
excess chemicals or solvents left over from cleaning and ensures an even
cleaning of the boat, which is essential to making your hull look new again.
Step 4: Dry. Like
the rinsing phase, it won’t seem like you’re accomplishing much by taking some
time to let your water dry off your boat, but it’s a necessary step to set up
the final sealing of your new, clean hull:
Step 5: Wax. To
ensure that your boat has an enduring, lasting finish, you should wax it once
it’s ready and clean. Waxing can help
prevent UV damage as well as lock out any scum and debris that will form as
you begin to take your boat out on the water again. Let the wax settle and
you’ll then have a boat hull that’s clean, sturdy, and ready to take on the
challenges of the water.