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How to wash your boat for a great looking finish...
Including 16 tips for
a better looking boat

The key to a great looking boat is the rinse... especially saltwater boats.  Pre-rinse your boat, prior to the actual boat wash process, and then after the washing job is completed, rinse thoroughly again and always use plenty of water.  

>   Hose down the vessel from top to bottom, then bow to stern.  On fly bridges and tee tops, make sure you spray the upper, hidden surfaces of tubing/rails; especially where either cloth or a hard surface meets metal.

>  Choose your tools carefully.  For smooth gelcoat I suggest a mitt of some kind.  They are gentle on smooth surfaces and won't scratch.  For non-skid I like a soft medium bristle brush; one with an adjustable handle works well.

You're the boss. Choose the product you think works best for you.  Mix the wash product per manufacturers recommendations.  We prefer our own Island Girl Pink® as it is multi-purpose and you can use it in different concentrations to clean all areas of the vessel.  For general washing, use 1 capful of IG Pink® to one gallon of water.

>  Start at the top (topside of bimini) and work down.  Rinse fly bridge and bimini before going forward.  Then work from front to rear and then, side to side.  Leave stern/transom area for last.  

>  Make sure all stainless railing is washed from the underside to the top, and pay attention to the forward surfaces of stanchions and also, the bases... they are constantly concealing saltwater deposits.  It doesn't matter if the boat sits most of the time, or if it's an active boat.  Salt always collects there.... the stanchions and bases.  Just make sure that salt deposits are flushed away.

>   Wash and rinse one area at a time with fresh water. This will prevent the cleaning solution from sun-drying.  Many boat washes leave spots as they dry.  Our Island Girl Pink® will not leave these spots.

>   Before moving to the next section, we dry the just washed area... especially true for flybridges and their bimini's.  There are a lot of great products that absorb water... like traditional chamois or terry type towels.  I prefer our MicroFiber products.  The 16"x16" Ultra Micro Fiber towels I use, absorb seven times their weight in liquid.  They are reusable and can be washed over 200 hundred times.  For professional detailers, switching to microfiber will save you a great deal of money on an annual basis.

> Occasionally, you will find black streaks where antenna or snaps have been in-
stalled.  These can be difficult to remove.  I use the Island Girl SeaGlow®.  It works the first time every time and is very simple to apply.  SeaGlow works great to remove scuffs where shoes have 'kissed' the gelcoat.   Just spray and wipe with a white paper towel or microfiber towel.

>  Degreasers can be very hard on a boat's finish, especially the transom.  The quickest way to remove all the soot, oil, and crud from the engine transom and the boat's exhaust pipe area is to use the IG SeaGlow cleanser.  You'll be absolutely amazed at how well this product works.  For diesel powered boats that carry their tender on the swim platform, you know the problem there; it's like the tender becomes a soot magnet.  Get rid of it easily with the Island Girl SeaGlow®.  View pictures of actual boats that have been cleaned with SeaGlow®.  I've know some owners or crew that use harmful solvents like Acetone or MEK.  DON'T DO THAT!!!  IG SeaGlow is not harmful to either the environment or seams and hypalon fabric.  Note: be careful around painted on lettering. 

>  Mildew and algae can form under the cushions, on fabric, vinyl, leather equipment and even personal flotation devices. Take the time to clean the crevices.  One trick I've learned that will help remove mildew from vinyl surfaces is to use rubbing alcohol with a microfiber towel or... on really persistent areas switch to a 3M ultra fine scotch pad.

Cushions and like equipment should be washed, dried and treated with a protecting solution to shield against damage from, mold, mildew, ultraviolet rays and discoloration.  Our Island Girl Silk N Seal® works wonders as a sealant and UV Protectant.

Many people forget deck hatch drainage areas only to be reminded when they open that fish box hatch and see the green slime sitting there.  Keep your boat looking great, even in areas where you don't always go.  Just don't forget the channel drains that lie under hatches.

If you've spent time cleaning the cushions and drain areas, then you've probably let the boat dry and have accumulated water spots.  Simply rinse and chamois off.  I still prefer our microfiber towels, but some areas can be hard to reach.  On those areas I use a chamois on a long handled extendable boat hook.  

The last thing I do are the windshield/glass areas, instruments and finally stainless and aluminum tubing surfaces.  I use the Island Girl Clear Horizons® spray product.  Works very well on all surfaces to keep them protected, shiny and looking new.  Simply spray and swipe with a towel.

Finally, I suggest that once every other month or so, apply a light wax to keep stainless and aluminum areas looking their best.  I've tried many of the over the counter products.  The problem with most of these is that they are manufactured using kerosene and other petroleum distillates and don't last long.  Over the years I've changed to most of the Island Girl™ products.  They last longer than the over the counter products and are so easy to apply; no machine buffing required.  Simply wipe on and go about your business.  Note: in some cases where the wax has been over applied, light buffing with a microfiber or terry towel may be needed. 

>  Clean and remove debris from deck drains on a regular basis.  Be careful with the cleanser and detergents you choose.  Never use strong detergents, and most especially abrasive, chlorinated cleansers on your boat for general cleaning.

 There you have it.  My tips for a clean and great looking boat.  Check back
for more articles on how to clean and care for your boat.  

                                                                               Best regards,

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