How Often Should I Wax My Boat? (1)

Q&A How Often Should I Wax?
It’s a big job, so only do it as often as necessary.

Q: I am a new boat owner in Victoria and I curious about something. How often do I need to wax it to keep it safe from corrosion? Thanks for your help!

Keeping your boat looking clean and operating at optimal condition is a lifetime commitment. You don’t want the preparation to go out on the water to be an exercise in bringing your boat back from the dead, so be prepared to invest some routine elbow grease every time your boat hits the water. Each time your boat is on the water means it’s exposed to damaging ultraviolet rays, ocean sediment, salt, toxins in the water, and constant action of the wind and movement of the water surface.

Cleaning your boat should be top priority before and after every marine adventure, and to maximise the beauty and functionality of your vessel, you should consider integrating a waxing component to the routine maintenance of your boat, paying attention to the deck, the fiberglass hull, and the superstructure.

The Waxing Dilemma

There are several schools of thought on the frequency you should wash, detail, and wax your boat, and which products are recommended for the job. “How often should I wax my boat?” is actually a trick question, because the frequency of your wax application is individual to every boat owner, and depends on factors such as how often you take your boat out into the water, for how long, and under which conditions. As a rule of thumb, you may only need to wax your boat once a year if you keep it above water or in the garage. If you keep your boat in the water year-round, though, you may want to think about waxing your boat every three or four months, amounting to about three times per year. Exposure to the sun is another variable too—and keeping your boat freshly waxed with the proper wax can protect from UV rays.

With this in mind, there are at least three steps in the wax-and-buff ritual:

1. Clean, clean, clean your boat. The first step before you wax your boat is to clean the surface thoroughly. If you’re diligent enough to rinse your boat off with freshwater after every trip, you’ve already laid the groundwork for a good looking boat. Scrub every surface, making sure to eliminate the salt and mineral deposits, unwanted marine growth, grease, and mold with a commercial cleaning agent or marine soap. Remember that polishing and waxing a dirty vessel will drive contaminates into your gelcoat.

2. Polishing: This is the step that creates the smooth, glossy surface that requires protecting with a layer of wax. Your gelcoat is a thick surface that protects your fiberglass boat from all nicks, scrapes and UV rays, so don’t buff it to death, but polish it enough that the surface is smooth and ready to be sealed with a protectant.

3. Waxing: Now is the step when you apply a thin layer of either a polymer sealant or a natural wax substance to lock in your achievements with the previous two steps. Natural wax will provide a deep, beautiful shine that will make your boat’s surfaces appear almost three dimensional. The benefits to polymer sealants are they are plasticized, providing extra durability and minimising the need for frequent re-application.

The key to extending the beauty of your boat is keeping it clean, polish when necessary, and keep it waxed. Investing in these steps will provide many years of enjoyment on the water.

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