Top 2 Tips for maintaining the Fiberglass boat hull
Fiberglass boat Repairing
The hull of your fiberglass boat is perpetually attacked, this is due to exposure to fuel, oil, salt water, weather and direct sunlight.
Stains and discoloration can be easily removed with good technique and good cleaning tools. Sometimes the gelcoat has become dull due to the sun, so it is said to be “oxidized”. The only remedy for this is polishing.
Here are some tips I can give you for the maintenance of the boat hull.
Maintenance of the boat hull: The right frequency
The frequency of cleaning the hull of your boat depends mainly on its use and the nature of the environment in which the boat is located.
Note that for all boats, regular cleaning is recommended. I advise you to at least rinse the hull each time the boat is washed. If you have the possibility the best is to wash the shell with the brush using the best material to facilitate the task.
To put it simply, the right frequency is: a rinse after each outing and a cleaning with soap each time the boat is washed.
Maintenance of the boat hull: The right method
It is necessary:
Wet the hull
Rub with soap with the brush
It is best to always start cleaning from the top and work your way down, then go from the bow to the stern.
You also have to follow the wind direction. Start by cleaning the part that faces the wind then go to the opposite part.
Avoid cleaning when the hull is in the sun, as this will dry the water and soap very quickly, which will give you more work. If this is not possible, work in smaller areas.
Some parts of the hull will be difficult to clean, this is often the case for places where our dear neighbors of pontoons put their fenders unprotected by a cover or which are 10 years old and all sticky.
In these places you have to try a more “aggressive” cleaning product.
If this is not enough, you will need to switch to the microfiber / acetone combo, if you can access the cleaning area. If this is not the case, you will have to wait for the exit to the shipyard. In this case why not do a polishing?
If your boat is at the shipyard, why not take the opportunity to polish and polish the hull? It is certainly a lot of work but by using the right method and the right products, the results will be extremely gratifying.
There is 2 in 1 polishing / buffing paste for annual boat hull maintenance. I can advise you on the 3M range (choose light, medium and hard depending on the oxidation level of the gelcoat)
Apply in small sections in a circular motion using a clean cloth or polishing cotton without rubbing too hard.
Wait for a veil to form and then buff with a cotton pad or a small electric polisher. Again no need to rub hard, finish with a micro fiber of the best quality possible to remove residues.
For best results, apply a second pass.
This twice applied product provides exceptional protection against weathering, rust and general degradation. However, this product and this service offers a result that will fade fairly quickly (to be redone every year) unlike a real renovation polish.
For a while, the oil, dirt and salt will not stick to the surface and will usually be removed by simple washing.
UV protection with wax
Gel coats are applied to fiberglass boats to act as a protector. The UV rays of the sun can decompose this layer, leading to oxidation. In order to avoid this, a wax can be added to the work you have just carried out on the site.
I recommend that you choose products and accessories of good quality and small, in order to easily store them on your boat (like the products above).
The ideal is to rinse the hull on each outing and do a slight buffing every year at the shipyard. (Depending on the condition of the gel coat, a renovation polish may be necessary every 2 or 3 years).