Hot tips for gelcoat care
If you’re a boat enthusiast like the rest of us here at Leisure Boating, there is one thing, above all else, that will get your heart racing. No, it’s not Hettie the curvaceous brunette from the florist on Dorp Street who’s into tight-fitting corduroy, or Dr Wagenaar’s receptionist Lizette who flutters her long eyelashes at you every time you come in for root canal treatment, but rather, it’s your gleaming boat with a shiny gelcoat.
Here are our tips on how to maintain the gelcoat and have the best looking boat in the entire marina.
The first port of call is using an oxidation remover to release any buildup on the hull and then a buffer. Remember, if you apply new wax without removing oxidation residue or dirt, you’ll be sealing in these imperfections and the dullness of the hull will become even more visible.
Once your buff of the hull is complete, it’s time to apply the wax. Yes, we know, it’s backbreaking work, but to get the desired look for your boat, it needs to be done properly. Really enthusiastic boaters will apply two coats of wax for the best effect.
Now it’s time to bring out the shine. Use a good marine polish that has UV200 inhibitors help stop fading and oxidation and is easy to apply. The finished product should be a smooth and shiny non-stick coating that repels dirt and grime.
Each time you use the boat, particularly in salt water, rinse off the entire boat to get rid of any dirt. If salt water is left to crystallise on the boat, these crystals magnify the sun’s rays, increasing the UV penetration and result in the early degradation of the wax, speeding up its breakdown.
Automotive tyre cleaner can be used on the rub rails to bring out their shine and they will compliment the look of the shiny hull.
Clean the chrome appointments on the boat, making them shine and this will also compliment the look of the boat.
When your boat is on its trailer, use a gentle de-greaser after spraying down the boat with water to remove any grime and dirt. If you omit this step, the dirt will bite into the wax job and all your waxing will be for naught.
If you notice staining and a buildup of grime and need to use strong degreasers, it is always advised that you re-wax the boat. De-greasers often contain chemicals that strip away the wax coating and oxidation of the gelcoat will set in.
Always try and store your boat on its trailer parked in a shaded area where direct sunlight is minimised. Try and keep the boat clear of trees that drop leaves and twigs.
Be careful of applying acrylic coatings over a waxed hull as the wax gets trapped underneath these coatings. Some of these polymer coatings can be applied to a bare, clean hull and then the wax is applied on top of the coating.
Get your boat looking its best and shining like a bright star. The saying from the movie The Karate Kid springs to mind here. “Wax on … wax off.”