Have you ever pondered the question, "How can some relatively new boats appear so old while so many older boats look like new?" The distinction can be striking and in most cases, a boat's appearance and operating condition have very little to do with how much the boat is used. The deciding factor is simply how well the owner cares for it after and between uses. Here's a case that illustrates the point while providing a template for keeping your boat looking and running like new.
Roger owns a 32-foot Regulator® center console powered by twin Yamaha 350 outboards. To look at it resting in the slip at the marina, it appears to have just come off the showroom floor. The sea-foam green hull shines; the white interior and matching white pipework that supports the T-Top gleams in the sun. The isinglass windows of the enclosure are scratch free and crystal clear, and the stainless steel deck hardware sparkles.
Even the big Yamaha engines look factory fresh, but looks can be deceiving. Roger purchased the boat new in 2008 and has racked up an impressive amount of hours over the last six years. And they aren't exactly easy hours, either. While he enjoys taking his grandchildren out for a few hours on the water, Roger is an avid ocean fisherman. The way he fishes requires a boat that is in top shape mechanically, but it's obvious he also takes great pride in its appearance.
"This is not my first boat or my biggest," said Roger. "I owned a 50-foot, diesel-powered convertible that I kept behind my house for quite a few years. I made a lot of canyon trips in that one."
Roger is not obsessive about the care and maintenance of his boats, but he does follow a protocol that has served his vessels well over the years and protected his investment for personal use and resale.
"I do my best to maintain my boats so they are ready to go fishing whenever I am," he said. "I always follow the manufacturer's maintenance schedule on the engines and my own schedule for everything else on the boat. And I always take the time to clean my boat and do all the little things that need to be done after each and every use throughout the season. That is the key to keeping it looking and running like new."
The 32' is kept in a slip during the fishing season, which for Roger stretches from early April through mid-December, a span of almost nine months.
When it comes out at the end of the season, the engines are professionally winterized by a Yamaha-trained mechanic, the fuel on board is treated with the proper additives to prevent it breaking down while the boat is stored, and the freshwater water system and head receive a dose of antifreeze. But that's not all.
Roger also cleans and treats the canvas and isinglass before removing it for storage at home. Then he gives the boat a thorough cleaning with special attention to any stains on the fiberglass and finishes it up with a heavy coat of wax inside and out. All this is done before the boat is shrink-wrapped for winter.
In the spring, the boat is commissioned and everything is gone over with a fine-tooth comb. The bottom and running gear below the water line get a fresh overcoat of antifouling paint; the hull and interior are washed down and waxed again. When it's splashed, the boat looks and runs like new for the start of another fishing season. The key is to keep it that way between uses.
As he leaves, Roger usually stops to look at the boat one last time before heading home, knowing it will be there looking great and ready to go fishing at a moment's notice.
Protecting the inside and outside of your boat and engines pays big dividends when it's time to use it again or time to sell it for another. It's easy to find just the right products at great values to help protect your boating investment at iboats.com pages such as these:
Product Spotlight | Tips & Tools to Keep Your Investment in Tip-Top Shape
A boat is a huge investment, and it takes extra care to extend its lifespan and keep it looking shiny and new. When getting your boat ready for warm weather use, it's important to clean it inside and out, even beyond what meets the eye. To help you through the process, the following are some nitty-gritty tips to ensure your boat is in tip-top shape throughout the summer:
Supply Check List Preserve the exterior of your boat by cleaning and protecting its every surface susceptible to damage from the sun and everyday use, by using not only the best products but tools that will help protect it's every nook and cranny.
Tools for Cleaning Your Boat
Before you start, assemble a kit that includes an assortment of cleaning materials, including wet and dry cloths, a scrub brush (not too rough) for stubborn dirt and build up, a bucket or two for cleaning solution and water, a mop and sponges. You may also want to add a couple items for your comfort, such as a kneeling pad and even a small stool to reach higher areas.
Cleaners and Treatments for Boat Surfaces
The various materials that make up your boat require different cleaning and treatment agents. Before you start scrubbing away, make sure you have proper supplies on hand, and since boat surfaces vary, the following is an assortment to consider:
Exterior Cleaners: The exterior of your boat can be cleaned with a variety of all-purpose and special purpose cleaners. Be sure to use a cleaner appropriate for the surface being cleaned. Following, apply a UV protectant like 303 Aerospace Protectant to fiberglass, plexiglass or rubber boats and wipe completely dry to maintain and restore a like-new appearance.
Surface and Carpet Cleaners and Treatments: In addition to basic soap and water, make sure you have a specialty cleaner like 303 Fabric & Vinyl Cleanerto remove dirt or build up on boat upholstery and vinyl elements. Should you encounter any stubborn spots or stains, try a cleaner that targets the specific issue, such as 303 Cleaner & Spot Remover.To help retain a fabric's water and stain repellency, use a product like 303 High Tech Fabric Guardto make future spills much easier to clean.
Rubber Cleaners and Treatments: Cleaning and treating rubber materials on your boat or trailer is often over looked, but it is an important part of boat care. Make sure to clean off tires, hoses and seals that could crack if not treated properly. Use a protectant like 303 Aerospace Protectantto keep the rubber material in good shape.
Boat Top Cleaners: Hard tops, vinyl seating and vinyl engine covers can be cleaned with a mild soap solution or 303 Fabric and Vinly Cleaner, followed by application of a UV protectant to shield it from the sun. If you have a soft top, you need to be extra cautious, as it's even more susceptible to staining and UV damage, which can lead to rotting and tearing, along the seams. Clean the soft canvas top frequently with a mild, non-detergent soap, rinse thoroughly and apply a water-repellant formula like 303 Fabric Guard. Seams can be preserved with a UV Protectant like 303 Aerospace Protectant.