Waxing a boat isn’t the same thing as waxing a car, at least not entirely. There’s a lot more that goes into it, including the right amount of prep work. Boats are high-maintenance products, and it’s not all about the engine.
A well-done wax job increases your boat’s UV resistance, increases debris build-up resistance, reduces drag, and protects the underlying paint. The hard part, however, is the prep work involved before you get started.
You’ll need to thoroughly wash and buff your boat before you get started. A simple rinse won’t be enough. If this is your first time learning how to wax a boat, follow these steps carefully to make your boat shine.
Steps to waxing a boat
The steps themselves aren’t too difficult. The work is meticulous, however, especially if you want to do the best job. Just be careful to read the directions on your tools and the wax you choose to go with, along with your boat manufacturer’s suggestions.
1. Wash the entire craft carefully
This can’t be emphasized enough. You need to be on dry ground with the boat elevated, whether you have the means to elevate it or it’s up on a trailer. Rinse it off really well. The rinse will help loosen up any debris or material, especially stuff that likes to stick to the craft.
Use a boat cleaner product to wash the boat, rather than something from inside the house. A lot of people just use their Dawn dish detergent because that’s what they use for their cars. But it’s better to stick with something formulated for fiberglass.
Use a sponge or a damp cloth to clean it by hand. A washing brush isn’t ideal. A hands-on wash will give you a better idea of what’s sticking to the boat. If you come across something, work to get it off. Using a brush risks missing something along the way. After you’re done, give everything a good rinse.
2. Give the surface a good buff
You’ll need a buffing tool for this. Most of these buffers are rotating buffers and can get away from you if you’re not careful. You will also need to choose a good polish to go with it.
If you are dealing with a little light discoloration here and there, it’s safe to stick with a polish. If your boat is looking pretty rough, you’ll want to go with a buffing compound. Go easy at first, until you get a handle on it. Work the buffer in overlapping rows.
The buffer will knock off any blemishes and discolorations on the boat. Although you haven’t reached the waxing stage yet, you will notice that a few sweeps with a buffer will produce a nice shine on the surface.
Any part of the boat you plan to wax needs to be buffed first. Also, a good buff opens things up for the wax. It’s not the same as sanding before a paint job, but it’s close in the way it works. If you come across anything that you couldn’t get off the boat by washing it, work the buffer until it’s gone.
3. Now for the wax
The kind of wax that goes on your boat is dependent on the gel coat your boat currently has. If you don’t know, you will have to look up your boat model and manufacturer to determine the gel coat used on the surface.
When you choose your wax, carefully read the instructions on how to apply it. Often, there are subtle differences in application. In most cases, you apply the wax with a pad that comes with it. Don’t get too thick or crazy in the application. All you need to do is ensure that everything has a good coat of wax.
4. Buffer Tool Again
Use the buffer tool to work off the excess wax. In fact, you will probably have to do your boat in sections. You don’t want the wax to stay on the surface for a long time, while you work your way around the boat.
Simply run the buffer tool until you see the hazy look of the waxed surface turn into a lustrous shine.
That’s all there is to it. On paper, it sounds like an easy job. Expect to set aside several hours to do the job in its entirety. It’s one of those things where you have to carefully work your way through each step.
It’s all about how good you want your boat to look and how much you want to improve its longevity. So the time you put into it is important. If a rotary buffer is too much, look for an orbital buffer instead. It will take longer, but it will get the job done all the same.
If you do the job right, you’ll have yourself a boat shine that you’ll be glad to haul around in public. Plus, it will do a lot for your boat in terms of improving its longevity and dependability out on the water.
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