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March 26, 2009

Making Your Boat Like New Again

Detailing tips to help get your craft ready before the season.

It will typically take a full weekend (12 to 16 hours) of work to buff and detail an oxidized 25-foot center console, Winchell says. Professionals charge $30 to $35 a linear foot, on the average. Mike Register, who owns Mike's Marine Ways in St. Marks, Florida, details at least one boat a week."Spring is our busiest time of year, obviously, but detailing is a regular part of my business," Register explains. "Whether you do it yourself or we do it, the best protection afterwards is a good wax job. I like a cleaning wax with carnuba, like Meguiars. If you don't use harsh detergent soaps and you wax again whenever the water quits beading, that's the best protection against oxidation."

There are a number of effective marine cleaning products available, including 3M, Meguiars, Star Brite and house brands from Boater's World and West Marine. Use each for its intended purpose, however.

"There's no such thing as a universal cleaner," Christenson explains. "Leave the household products under the sink, and avoid harsh chemicals like acetone, stain removers with acid, or toilet bowl cleaners. They'll just remove the wax and damage the gelcoat. With the right compound and a little elbow grease, you can take care of any stains or problem areas."

Take the time now to have your boat cleaned and waxed. That way, it'll be ready for more important things later on, like helping you catch more fish.

Basic Cleaning Kit

  • Nonmarking water hose and nozzle
  • Telescoping brush handle
  • Boat soap ? Cleaner wax for touch-ups
  • Microfiber cloth or mitt
  • Stiff bristle brush (white) for decks and nonskid
  • Bucket
  • Chamois
  • Metal polish
  • Vinyl cleaner
  • Soft bristle brush (blue or yellow) for smooth surfaces