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
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
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.
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
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.
Girl Pink® will not leave these spots.
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
Mildew and algae can form under the cushions, on fabric, vinyl, leather
equipment and even personal flotation devices. Take the time to
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®
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.