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Boat Detailing & Boat Washing

Learn everything you need to know about boat detailing & boat washing, and find a contractor near you today.

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Boat Detailing & Boat Washing Overview

What is Boat Detailing & Boat Washing?

Boat washing and detailing are similar to washing and detailing a car. Washing your boat after use, removing stains, and keeping it waxed is an essential part of owning a boat.  

What Problems It Solves:

Detailing and washing your boat can help to protect your investment. Any boat seller will tell you that it’s easier to sell a boat that has been maintained and waxed over the years. 

UV rays destroy a boat’s gel coat if it isn’t properly protected. Your boat needs regular washdowns so that dirt and grime don’t build up on the outer gel coat. The buildup is especially damaging for boats that have been in salt, muddy, or brackish water.

Images of Boat Detailing & Boat Washing

Advantages & Disadvantages of Boat Detailing & Boat Washing

Advantages:

Washing and detailing a boat is partially about aesthetics. However, it’s also a necessary part of the maintenance that keeps your boat finish from becoming damaged. Some advantages to detailing and washing your boat include:

  • Increasing re-sell value.
  • Preventing corrosion.
  • Preventing stains from setting in permanently.
  • Preventing dulled fiberglass, faded paint, and dulled metal. 

Disadvantages:

The disadvantages to detailing and washing a boat mainly relate to time, cost, and the chance of ruining a part of your boat. It can be a tedious undertaking for the average person. Disadvantages of detailing and washing a boat include:

  • It takes time to clean and detail your boat by yourself.
  • If you don’t have the correct equipment and cleaning supplies, you may end up doing more damage by setting in stains or scratching the finish.
  • Finding and purchasing the correct equipment and cleaning supplies for your boat can be expensive and inconvenient.
  • Knowing how to thoroughly clean all the places in your boat that need cleaning.

Boat Detailing & Boat Washing Process

Process

Hiring a professional boat washer and detailer can help keep your boat in pristine condition.

The Marine Matcher team can help match you with a local professional contractor who can help keep your boat looking its best. We can find a contractor for regular cleaning or more involved processes like waxing. 

Marine Matcher also can help you find contractors that can help you with boat lifts, boat storage, boat repair, or any other boat-related services.

The process you should use to use our services to help you find a boat detailer and washer in your area include:

  • Step 1: Complete our online form with your name, phone number, and email address.
  • Step 2: Use the online form to explain your boat cleaning and detailing needs.
  • Step 3: We will send you an email with up to three local contractors in your area who can help you.
  • Step 4: You will select the contractor that you want to help clean and detail your boat.

Questions To Ask Contractors

Before choosing a contractor, you will want to ask them some questions:

  • How much experience do they have?
  • What materials and products do they use for cleaning?
  • Do they specialize in freshwater or saltwater boats?
  • How do they repair boat scratches?
  • What protectants do they use on boats?
  • What do they include and not include in their cleaning service?

Costs of Boat Detailing & Boat Washing

Various parts of your boat need cleaning throughout the year. Often, companies will bundle multiple services and provide a discount. Here’s a breakdown of those parts, how often they need service, and what their service generally costs:

 

  • Engine flush: $100 – $150; every time you take your boat out in saltwater, brackish, or muddy water
  • Washdown: $8 – $40 per foot, depending on the size of your boat; monthly
  • Cleaning canvas: $3 – $6; this is generally an add-on for a more general service, like a washdown; monthly
  • Vinyl seating protectant: Generally, this service is included as an add-on to other services; however, you can DIY it for $15 – $50; every other month
  • Gelcoat waxing/sealing: $10 or more in addition to a base rate for the washdown service; every 3-4 months
  • Metal polish and wax: $16 – $15, including washdown service; every 3-4 months
  • Diving and zinc anodes changed: Generally, this service is included as an add-on to other services; every 3-6 months
  • Engine cleaning: $3 – $6, in addition to regular service of washdown; yearly
  • Bottom repainted: $1000 – $3000; every two years
  • Canvas protectant: Generally, this service is included as an add-on to other services; however, you can DIY it for $40 – $100, depending on size of the boat; every 2-3 years  
  • Thru-hulls replaced: $300 – $1000; every 3-5 years
  • Dripless shaft seal and stuffing box serviced or replaced: $200 – $1300, depending on size of boat; every 3-5 years

DIY Solutions for Boat Detailing & Boat Washing

When it comes to washing and detailing your boat, it is absolutely something that you can DIY. However, it’s normal to make mistakes. 

Here are some mistakes to avoid when cleaning and keeping your boat clean:

  • Using the wrong cleaner: The wrong cleaner can strip off the wax, leave permanent damage, cause rust, or fail to clean marine buildup.
  • Forgetting to rinse before scrubbing: If you don’t rinse all the debris from the boat before scrubbing, pieces of dirt can scratch your boat’s finish.
  • Failing to inspect the propeller: It’s always necessary to check for corrosion, remove algae and debris, and check for anything wrapped around the propeller.
  • Forgetting to cover the boat for storage: The sun’s UV rays, rain, birds, and pests can do a lot of damage to an uncovered boat.
  • Air drying your boat: When water dries on your boat, it can leave behind trace minerals. Wiping your boat dry with a microfiber cloth can keep your boat looking well-polished.
  • Overlooking upholstery: Air out cushions completely between trips to avoid mold, vacuum and wipe up spills as they happen, and use a marine-grade vinyl cleaner to remove stains.

To avoid these mistakes and more, it’s in your best interest to utilize a contractor for the work. If you choose to DIY your boat cleaning, make sure to do your research beforehand.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Do You Need to Clean the Bottom of Your Boat?

Ideally, you should have the bottom of your boat cleaned once every month. At a minimum, make sure you clean the bottom of your boat every three months. Be sure to check your anodes and replace them if they have corroded.  

How Much Does it Cost to Clean the Bottom of a Boat?

If you’re looking for someone to clean the bottom of your boat, you can expect to spend between $2.50-$3.50 per foot.

Can You Use Dawn to Wash a Boat?

Dawn dishwashing liquid is designed to cut grease, but be careful using it to wash a boat because it can strip your wax. A dedicated boat soap is not too expensive and will prevent you from having to re-wax your boat early. 

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Tell us about your project and we'll follow up with an email to help you find up to three of the best marine construction contractors for your project.

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