Saltwater and exposure to the sun’s rays can be very hard on your boat. Consequently, the most important rule of boat washing is that no matter how tired and sunburnt you and your boat washers are, your boat needs a good washing after every single use.
The first thing you want to do is rinse everything from top to bottom. Make certain all your doors, windows and hatches are securely closed and all loose equipment has been removed first. Use a gentle spray and don’t spray too close. Gelcoat, especially older gelcoat, can become chipped or otherwise damaged with a hard spray.
You also want to make sure you stay away from any non-marine formulated cleaners. Don’t ever use bleaches or ammonia-based cleaners or your basic, standard household cleaning products like dish soap to wash your boat. These items can deteriorate gel coating and permanently damage vinyl boat upholstery over time. You want to use a biodegradable marine approved boat cleaning detergent instead. Marine-grade cleaners will safely clean your boat and its upholstery, while providing an added layer of protection against the elements. Then gently wash and brush everything thoroughly and rinse from top to bottom again.
There are also very effective spray-on restorers that can help brighten colors that have become dull over time, while adding that handy layer of protection we previously discussed as well. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions for proper application.