How to Clean a Boat


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a boat might seem kind of silly — do you need to clean something that spends
all or almost all of the time in the water?

answer is yes. Boats need regular cleaning to ensure barnacles and other
oceanic life don’t cause damage to the hull. If you’ve never cleaned a boat
before, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Here are some easy steps to make
your boat cleaning less of a hassle.

1. Get It out of the Water

you’re secretly Aquaman or have gills, your first step will be getting your
boat out of the water. The hardest part of the cleaning job stays hidden below
the waterline, so to make your job easier, put your boat in dry-dock before you
start your work.

small boats, this is easy — drag it up onto the dock and flip it over. For
larger vessels, you will need the assistance of a professional dock.

2. Rinse

don’t generally want to wash your boat with the water it’s been sitting in,
especially if you spend a lot of time in the ocean. Saltwater can cause a lot of
problems for your vessel
if you don’t take the right precautions.

by giving your boat a good freshwater rinse. This will knock off any loose
debris and give you a better idea of how big a job this is going to be.

3. Start Scrubbing

is probably the hardest part of cleaning your hull. If you spend a lot of time
in the ocean or any salty body of water, you probably have barnacles growing
on your hull

and other portions of your boat. You’ll need a plastic putty knife to remove
large barnacles, and a steel scrubber to get rid of smaller ones.

you’ve gotten rid of the barnacles, break out the soap and sponges and give the
keel a good scrubbing. This part of the job is just like washing your car — add
soap, scrub until clean and then rinse.

4. Clean the Deck

keel of your ship isn’t the only thing that needs some attention during your
annual deep clean. Make sure you clean the deck as well. Only use cleaning
materials that are safe for your boat. If you’re cleaning an inflatable, for
example, traditional cleaning products like bleach, acetone and ammonia can all
damage the material.

if it doesn’t look damaged, using the wrong cleaning products could leave your
deck’s surfaces more susceptible to salt or UV damage the next time you head out
on the water.

5. Do Any Necessary Repairs

you notice any damage to the hull or deck while you’re cleaning, this is the
time to repair it. Don’t let minor damage become a big leak that will have you
calling for sea rescue. Do the repairs now, or have them done professionally if
you’re not comfortable doing it yourself.

sure you’re done with any necessary repairs before you move on to the next

6. Add a Coat of Wax

everything is clean, and you’re ready to head back out on the water, you’ve got
one step left — adding a coat of
to your
keel. This works much like a wax coat does on the car in your garage,
protecting the fiberglass beneath from water and sun damage. Break out a
microfiber cloth or a buffing wheel for your power drill and go to town, making
sure the entire vessel is coated from stem to stern.

7. Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor

you’ve finished all these steps, pat yourself on the back. All that’s left to
do now is crack open a cold one and enjoy the fruits of your labor. In general,
you only need to deep clean your boat once or twice a year, but pulling it up
into dry dock once in a while to rinse it off and remove any barnacles can make
your job more relaxed at the end of each boating season.

A Little Regular Cleaning Goes a Long Way

if your boat is in the water all the time, it will occasionally need to be
cleaned. Set aside a day or a weekend to do the job right and keep your boat in
top condition.