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Basic Boat Cleaning Tips

Simple, But Essential to Boat Maintenance


Many new boat owners, wanting to keep their investment in tip-top shape, often ask "What is the best way to maintain my boat?" The answer is so simple, it's almost a no-brainer. But, because I remember being a new saltwater boater (after a childhood of boating on the Great Lakes), and not knowing what the white stuff was crusting the boat, I think basic boat cleaning tips are worth covering.

1. Rinse with Fresh Water

After every trip, give your boat a fresh-water wash down, including the outboard motor if it has one. Make sure to completely remove the salt residue that can eat away at the boat’s finish if you boat in a saltwater environment.

2. Wash the Superstructure

With a soft sponge and marine soap, wash in small portions – and rinse – the exterior part of the boat above the deck (superstructure) including vinyl seats, deck boxes, windshield, etc.

3. Scrub the Deck

Scrub in small portions – and rinse – the deck, fittings, hull, and outboard motor using a biodegradable, pH-balanced marine soap and a deck brush with medium stiffness bristles. If you choose a brush with bristles that are too stiff, it can harm the boat’s finish.

4. Dry the Superstructure

Thoroughly dry the boat with a soft, dry cloth.

5. Clean the Windows and Protect the Upholstry

Clean the windows using a commercial cleaning solution or vinegar and water. Treat all vinyl with a commercial vinyl treatment to protect and preserve your boat’s upholstery.
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