How to Keep Your Boat Looking Like New

Keeping your boat clean isn’t just a matter of vanity; it extends the useful lifespan of materials that are exposed to the elements, improves functionality in many cases and can even help you sell it for more when the time comes. A few hours of scrubbing can make your pride and joy look like new, so it’s well worth it for any boat owner.

The most important step in keeping your boat clean and protecting your investment is to select the right cleaners. There’s a wide variety available that can tackle everything from oily grime to mildew, but it’s important to know the difference between products and how they will affect different surfaces. A general all-purpose cleaner will work fine on fiberglass, but it’s best to avoid using a harsh chemical on painted surfaces because you could damage the paint or gel coat.

A drive-in boatwash is a great way to get your boat looking as good as new without spending hours on scrubbing. This type of system uses high pressure, hot water (120-140 degrees F) to quickly remove algae, mud and other debris from your boat. It’s also much safer for the environment and your equipment than a hand wash. Plus, these systems use a closed loop system that eliminates the need for freshwater disposal after the wash.

Boat Canvas

Boat canvas needs a cleaning at least monthly to keep it from staining, and if you have a large enough washing machine it can be washed in the same way that you would wash your own clothes. If your boat isn’t large enough for a washing machine, you can clean it by hosing it off with warm (under 120-degrees) water and a bit of laundry soap or woolite. Then, rinse it thoroughly and apply a protectant to it before it dries.

Marine Heads

A marine head is an inconvenient, but necessary part of any boat, and they need to be cleaned regularly to prevent clogs and overflowing. A basic marine head cleaner can be used, but it’s best to buy a product that contains anti-fungals and anti-bacterias.

Non-Skid Decks

Your non-skid decks will require more than just a weekly hosedown with a gentle marine detergent. They will need a treatment with a non-skid protectant once or twice a year, to keep them from becoming dull and scratched. These products don’t contain wax, so they won’t build up and leave your deck looking gummy, but they do add some sheen.


It’s important to completely dry boats, trailers and any equipment before moving it to a different body of water. This ensures that any invasive species or fish diseases are not transported to a new waterbody. This process can take several days, especially for bilges and live wells that are difficult to reach with air. If you have any questions or concerns about this process, please contact the DEP boat office in Downsville, Gilboa, Grahamsville, Shokan or Mahopac for more information. boat cleaning near me

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