5 Money-Saving Tips for Easy Boat Cleaning
Your boat may be expensive, but your cleaning routine doesn’t have to be.
Marine vessels are known to be income-draining (it’s a popular joke among owners that “boat” stands for “Bankruptcy on a Trailer”) but taking the right steps to preserve yours will increase both its resale value and your enjoyment.
Why It’s Important to Clean Boats
Aside from the aesthetic value of a shiny hull and unstained upholstery, clean boats run better. There are plenty of ways that neglect can ruin a boat and even cause problems for the local ecosystem.
By the same token, investing in a good trailer for transport is worthwhile. Not only will a quality trailer offer trouble-free performance, but it can also secure and protect your boat with well-designed padding. Once your craft is back on the trailer after a day out on the water, you can inspect it for signs of damage (or freeloading marine life).
Here are some of the reasons you should get in the habit of cleaning your boat regularly.
1. Salt Destroys Just About Everything
From hulls to seats to electronics, salt is incredibly damaging. It’s also difficult to rinse off, which means the longer you let it build up, the harder it will be to remove.
Salt can cause pits and abrasions to form on your hull, rust metal parts, dry out fabrics, and even result in malfunctioning electronics in short order. While using the right paint can protect the hull from the elements, it will still need a solid cleaning.
2. Unwashed Boats Can Spread Invasive Species
For all the damage that biofouling from creatures like barnacles, algae, plants, and microorganisms will do to your boat, the damage they do to the environment can be even worse. Invasive species can hitch a ride on boats to new areas, causing undesirable infestations.
3. Mildew and Mold Thrive in Wet Environments
If you ignore your boat’s interior, mold and mildew can grow on nearly every surface. This can be a huge health hazard to occupants, especially those with allergies, sensitive airways, or compromised immune systems.
4. Boat Batteries Leak and Corrode Over Time
Your boat’s battery is essential for starting the engine, so pay close attention to it. Neglect can lead to leaking and corroded terminals, which can in turn cause further deterioration or dysfunction.
5. Mechanical Parts Can Become Damaged
Wiping away contaminants protects the engine and other moving parts. Dirt, sand, salt, and dust can all find their way into the engine and other parts, causing premature wear or even failure.
Don’t forget to pay attention to the propeller too. Accumulated damage from striking logs, rocks, and underwater debris could compromise its function or performance.
How Often Should You Clean Your Boat?
To best protect your boat, you should put it on a cleaning schedule. However, your exact schedule will depend on how much you use it, where you store it, whether you frequent fresh or saltwater, and various other factors.
In general, the timeline for cleaning boats is based on whether you store it in or out of the water:
- Boats stored in water: Every four to 12 weeks
- Boats stored on dry docks: Every six months
Keep in mind that this timeline only applies to deep cleanings. Ideally, you should perform light cleaning after every outing.
This doesn’t mean you need to give your boat a thorough, inside-out scrubbing after every excursion. Just make sure you wipe down all wood and metal surfaces. Remember, saltwater is highly corrosive, especially compared to freshwater.
5 Boat Cleaning Tips
The following tips will save you money not just on the front end (because you’re putting in more elbow grease than dollars and cents) but also on the back end. You won’t have to replace electronics as often, repair worn mechanical components, repaint your hull, purchase new vinyl for the seats, or install new wood trim due to neglect.
1. Microfiber Towels and Quality Deck Brushes Prevent Scratching
Always use microfiber cloths to wipe down your boat’s surfaces. Other materials are more abrasive and can cause tiny scratches that may manifest as dulling or clouding. When it comes time for deep cleaning, invest in quality boat deck brushes with the right bristle strength for your hull.
2. Purchase Bulk Supplies
If you know you need to clean your boat frequently, it only makes sense to stock up on boat cleaning supplies. Buying during big sales and taking advantage of volume discounts can save you thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your boat. It will also guarantee that you won’t run out when it comes time for a deep cleaning.
3. Clean With Vinegar
Vinegar helps combat corrosion from salt. After each outing, wipe down all wood and metal surfaces with a microfiber cloth and a little vinegar to eliminate salt deposits and other contaminants.
4. Invest in Protection
Avoiding damage in the first place is your best bet for saving money. Waxing is essential, as the wax layer forms a protective barrier between your boat and the elements. Additionally, a durable cover and dry storage will keep your boat from being exposed to harmful substances like salt, wildlife, and other threats.
5. Perform Regular Inspections and Cleanings
Pay particular attention to integral components like the battery, which requires periodic charging and can fall victim to corrosion faster than you’d think. Check your electronics to make sure they function properly. Lastly, look for leaks, signs of pest infestations, loose bolts or screws, and any missing pieces or parts.
Cleaning Is Caring
Your boat has provided you with countless hours of fun and relaxation, so take care of it by following the cleaning guidelines outlined here. With regular attention and some loving labor, you can extend the lifespan of your craft and ensure that it continues to bring you the joy and freedom you crave.
- https://www.rydellcars.com/blogs/744/grand-forks-detail-center/how-often-should-i-clean-my boat/#:~:text=Boats%20that%20are%20kept%20in,serious%20accumulation%20of%20aquatic%20organisms.