Boats are great for so many reasons, from fishing to wakeboarding or just hanging out on the lake. But we often neglect in cleaning them properly, especially at the end of a long day on the water. You are tired after a long day in the sun and all you want to do is get back and enjoy a cold beer on the couch.
When we come back to launching again our boat is still covered in muck and grime. This doesn’t look good to anyone, not even your closest friends! We have some tips to keep your boat shinning with as little work as possible, starting right from the beginning of the season.
Preseason boat cleaning checks
Whether it’s getting your boat ready for the warm weather, or knowing that the fish are soon going to bite, we have a few tips to help you keep your boat clean all season long. This is a great opportunity to get the whole family involved, our youngsters love getting a bit grubby!
Prewash the hull
First of all, let’s have a look at your hull and trailer, did you clean it properly before putting it away at the end of the season. Grab your power washer and set to the low pressure of no more than 2000 PSI and a wide nozzle. Move from the bow to the stern, washing using a circular motion. You may find that a soft brush is needed for tougher areas were the algae has hardened onto the gel coat.
Sealing your deck
If you leave your boat outside over the winter make sure to use a cover to stop too loose foliage much settling on it. Go ahead and give it a good brush all over to remove any loose dirt and cobwebs. Next, wash the deck with a “spot free” rinse. This stops any hard water spots from forming when it dries out. If your deck hasn’t been compounded and sealed there is nothing to stop dirt getting in there. Adding a layer on top of the non-slip such as a compound seals it from dirt and makes cleaning later in the season a lot easier.
Cleaning the cushions
Check your upholstery, vinyl surfaces can become dirt and mildew magnets so make sure you sort them out before the season starts. Make up a solution of soap and warm water and drip it over the cushions. With a soft cloth or sponge work in a circular motion working the dirt out of the surface. Rinse off the soap and dirt and wipe away with a clean sponge. It’s a good idea to apply a protectant after the cushions have fully dried.
Moving to another lake
When you are moving your boat from one lake to another it is important you give it a good scrub. This makes sure you don’t bring any invasive species or diseases across with you. Make sure you clean out your bilges and drain them out fully. All visible animal or plant residue should be thoroughly cleaned by rinsing and scrubbing down with a soft brush. Be careful to note anything clinging onto the trailer frame as well. The main step, however, is to allow the vessel and trailer to fully air dry in the sun for at least 5 days. This makes sure to kill anything invasive that you can’t see.
On the water cleaning
If you have the luxury of a dock to tie your boat up to at your lake it is still important to wash at the end of each day. Sun-dried fish blood is very hard to clean but using good soap and a brush with some good old-fashioned elbow grease and it will come off. Rinse the deck with fresh water using a hose and spray nozzle.
To remove the hard water spots on the windshield, use a 50 – 50 mix of vinegar and water and wipe clean. Use a chamois to clean straight after washing on your gel coat also helps stop water spots. A non-skid deck is difficult to clean, but using a soft brush and bio-degradable soap after each trip keeps it smart.
Essential cleaning tools to have onboard
It’s always worth having the tools you need to keep your boat clean on board if you have space. A good long hose is great, make sure to get one that can reach the full length of your boat from the outlet. When using a hose a spray nozzle is essential to make it easier to cover the vessel all over, careful not to damage it by letting a truck drive over it.
We always have a soft tip brush with a large surface area, attached to a lightweight handle. If it doesn’t float then fill the handle with foam. Always important to have onboard is a good bucket with a piece of rope tied to the handle. Always hold the rope and the handle when filling it up.