The 7 Deadly Sins of Boat Maintenance

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A boat is like a home away from home. But that doesn’t mean it should be cleaned the same way. Household cleaning products and bad habits can be damaging to a boat’s surfaces as well as the environment. Here’s a list of the most common mistakes owners make with boat care.

#1 – Dish Soap: Not as gentle as it seems, it can strip a boat’s wax or degrade the waterproofing on marine fabrics. Also, some of the chemicals are harmful to the environment if dumped in the water.

#2 – Windex: Marine windows and mirrors are usually made of plastic, not glass. Windex and other glass cleaners contain ammonia which is great for glass but can cause plastic to yellow and crack.

#3 – Paper Towels: Not very soft, they will leave scratches on a boat’s fragile plastic surfaces and Isinglass windows. Using paper towels is wasteful and costly over time compared to a microfiber towel. It can be washed and reused and is gentle enough for a boat’s surface.

#4 – Pledge: Great on wood but not on clear vinyl like Isinglass. It contains solvents that remove the plasticizers from plastics. This causes the material to become brittle and yellow.

#5 – Soft Scrub/Bleach: A harsh cleanser may seem like a great idea for tough scuffs and stains but it’s too abrasive on a boat. Fiberglass and gelcoat surfaces easily lose their protective coatings to harsh cleaners like Soft Scrub. Bleach-based products have a tendency to discolor fabrics and break down their integrity.

#6 – Limited Storage: With such limited space on a boat, it would be a shame to waste it all on cleaning products. If products are bought for every surface, stain or area of a boat it can become overwhelming and expensive. It’s important to find multi-purpose tools and maintenance products, to not only reduce costs but free up more space on board.

#7 – Procrastination and Neglect: Environmental build-up can quickly damage your boat. Overlooking or neglecting the right maintenance items and schedule will not only reduce the value of your boat over time but will also make maintaining your boat harder.

Keeping a boat in good condition shouldn’t feel like a chore. Proper boat care is actually quick and easy, when done right. It’s important to use products specifically designed for a boat’s unique surfaces. Without good maintenance, a vessel can easily depreciate and re-sell for thousands of dollars less.