Remove Oxidation to Make a Boat Shine Like New

Over time, a boat’s gelcoat succumbs to the rigors of the environment. Sun, salt spray and UV rays wear on the vessel’s hull, turning it chalky and pitted. Staining from bird droppings, dirty water and rusted fittings also affect the appearance. With the right tools and products, boat owners can easily bring new life to their investments, for significantly less than the cost of having the job done by a professional.

Using a modern, random orbit polisher virtually eliminates the possibility of burning or swirling the finish. They’re lighter and more effective than older models, so the work gets done in less time and with less effort. Tools such as Shurhold’s Dual Action Polisher Pro, combined with the company’s Buff Magic, quickly bring back a boat’s shine.

After a thorough wash to remove loose dirt and grime, grab a clean buffing pad. Shurhold has a helpful guide for pad choice on its website,

Using a paint brush, cover a 2′ x 2′ section with a small “X” pattern of the buffing compound. Don’t use too much. Quality compounds, such as Buff Magic, break down into finer and finer particles the more they’re polished. Work the product in thoroughly for maximum effectiveness.

Apply the pad to the boat, to avoid spraying material once the polisher is turned on at low speed. Work in an overlapping, up-and-down pattern, then side-to-side, at a steady pace. Apply gentle pressure to the machine.

Once completed, stop to examine the area. With a microfiber towel, wipe away the excess compound. Depending on the oxidation, it may take two to four passes with the polisher to bring back the shine. Repeat as needed until the desired level of shine is achieved.

When moving to a new 2′ x 2′ section, overlap by 6″ to avoid missing spots. Ensure the pad is clean and free of debris in between areas for maximum effectiveness.

Boats look their best when mirror-like finishes reflect their surroundings. With the right tools and a little elbow grease, they’ll stay in top condition and remain a source of pride for their owners. 

Dedicated to educating boat owners, Shurhold provides key tips for boat value preservation at Inventor of the One Handle Does It All system, Shurhold manufactures specialty care items and accessories to clean, polish and detail.