A well-maintained fiberglass boat has the potential to offer many years of boating, pleasure, and fun.
While a fiberglass boat doesn’t require an extensive amount of maintenance, it can still benefit from a practical repair schedule. Issues with a fiberglass boat include repainting the hull, repairing any cracks, or giving a good clean and polish. Proper maintenance is certain to keep the boat operating issue free for that much longer.
Below are six steps to maintain the aesthetics, performance, and safety of the fiberglass boat:
Get organized by writing out a maintenance schedule to ensure the work on the boat is completed on a consistent basis. A separate calendar for boat cleaning can itemize the best times to check parts for failure or wear, apply fresh paint, give a general clean, or prepare for winter lay-up.
Giving the fiberglass boat a good wash is certain to help maintain the attractive appearance and avoid the buildup of salt, stains, and dirt. A periodic washing schedule is essential for not only keeping a clean hull and deck, but also makes it easier to notice other maintenance work. Only use the made for purpose cleaning solutions when washing the fiberglass hull and avoid heavy abrasives.
1 – Fresh water rinse
After using the boat in a saltwater environment give it a complete wash down using clean, fresh-water to help with removing all signs of salt residue. Also, make sure to clean the outboard engine (if applicable). A build up of salt residue can soon start eating away at the finish of the boat.
2 – Superstructure (clean)
Give the entire area of the deck (superstructure) a complete wash with a high-quality marine soap, warm water, and soft sponge. This should include washing and rinsing the windshield, deck boxes, vinyl seats, etc.
3 – Scrub the Deck
Scrub down the hull, deck, fixture and fittings using a pH-balanced and biodegradable that is especially intended for marine applications. A medium stiffness deck brush is likely to give the desired results. Avoid the brush with stiff bristle as this could potentially damage the boat’s finish.
4 – Superstructure (dry)
After the superstructure is fully cleaned make sure to thoroughly dry the surfaces using a dry, soft cloth.
5 – Windows and upholstery
Give the windows a sparkling shine using a home solution of water and vinegar or a more typical commercial cleaning product. Also, give the upholstery a good coating of a commercial vinyl solution to ensure the boat and equipment is well-maintained at all times.
6 – Polish and protect
A high-quality polish can help to protect the surface of the fiberglass hull once it has been given a good wash. A quality wax benefits the fiberglass material by providing a hard shell and a great shine. This protective layer will help to minimize the signs of color fading or discoloring after long-term exposure to the salt water. Use the right equipment when polishing to avoid scratching or digging into the surface of the hull.
Any small cracks identified in the fiberglass material should be repaired as soon as possible. A fiberglass hull is most susceptible to cracks if likely to launch and recover from the beach or sailing in rough waters. A minor crack that isn’t fixed immediately can soon turn into a significant crack in a short time-frame. Any reliable fiberglass repair kit should be able to help with repairing these small cracks.
A yearly inspection or replacement of the pump is essential for the fiberglass boats. A low performing pump can mean the water that trickles in isn’t pumped out. A boat used every year can benefit from having the pump replaced yearly. This is a quite simple job and can be completed with a few basic tools.
If planning to work with fiberglass it helps to utilize the proper personal safety gear to avoid inhaling the potentially toxic fumes. Safety equipment to wear when working with fiberglass (repairing cracks, cleaning the hull, prep work for painting, etc.) includes full body protection suits, goggles, gloves, and respirator. This should make sure the toxic particles in the air aren’t breathed in when working on the boat.