How Much Does Cleaning a Boat Cost?
If you're a new boat owner wondering how much boat cleaning will cost, you're not alone. Boat cleaning is a broad, and sometimes confusing, category of services. How much each costs depends upon a number of factors including your boat's length, where you keep it, how you use it, and how often you choose to have it cleaned. In this article we'll take a look at some of the costs associated with keeping your boat clean and help you better understand them.
Types of Boat Cleaning
Broadly speaking there are 3 types of boat cleaning services that the average boat owner will use, with a handful of more specialized cleaning services available too. The three primary cleaning services are hull cleaning, boat washing, and boat detailing.
Hull cleaning refers to the regular cleaning of the underwater portion of your boat's hull and running gear. A hull diver will perform this service in the water and it's usually only required for boats kept in the water.
Boat washing refers to the basic post trip washdown you should give your boat after each use. Many boaters choose to do this themselves while others choose to hire someone to regularly give their boat a washdown.
Boat detailing is a more involved cleaning process usually done by a professional detailer. It involves the application of wax to protect and restore your boat's hull and deck.
Boat Cleaning Costs Simplified
Boat hull cleaning is usually charged by foot of vessel length with prices in the $2-$3 range per foot being common for most recreational vessels. Additional fees may apply for boats that haven't had their hull cleaned in some time. Expect to have a diver clean your hull roughly once a month depending on the growth rate of marine organisms in your location.
Boat washing is also charged by the foot and can range from $2-$4 per foot. Many boat wash services offer regular wash plans for boat owners to keep their boat clean. Alternatively, having someone come out to clean up your boat after a long day on the water is a great way to take the stress out of boat ownership.
Boat detailing is charged by the foot as well. Detailers offer a broader range of services that include things like gelcoat restoration, wax application, and deep cleaning of stains on the hull. Prices ranging from $15 to $30 per foot are common. It is a good idea to receive a quote and provide pictures of your vessel to the detailer before engaging them for services so that both parties are on the same page.
Boat Cleaning DIY or Hire a Pro?
Cleaning costs can start to add up, especially if you have a larger vessel and keep it in the water. Monthly hull cleaning costs plus having it detailed a couple times a year along with the occasional wash down when you decide to not do it yourself could easily add up to several thousand dollars a year. Boat owners on a budget should prioritize their cleaning needs.
A post trip washdown is relatively simple to do yourself whereas strapping on SCUBA tanks and diving your hull every month is likely not something you want to do. In our article Is it OK to Pressure Wash a Boat? we talk about the benefits of using a pressure washer to clean your boat and how it can be done safely to minimize the risk of damaging your boat's deck and hull. Whether you decide to use a pressure washer or not is up to you, but if you plan on regularly performing cleaning on your boat yourself, it makes sense to invest in quality equipment for the job.
A regular washdown makes each subsequent cleaning easier. A lot of boat owners choose to split the difference and do a basic rinse after each use themselves and then have a more thorough wash down done by a pro a few days later when they're available.
Detailing is something many boat owners attempt to do themselves but quickly find they are out of their depth. A skilled professional detailer is the closest thing to a miracle worker in the marine field, they can take an aging faded fiberglass hull and make it look new again. However, a new boat that's well maintained and cleaned regularly may not need as much care and applying a protective coat of wax yourself is possible.
Other Boat Cleaning Services
The above categories of boat cleaning are just some of the most common, there are many other niche cleaning services offered to boaters ranging from interior cleaning and decorating, to engine room cleaning, fuel tank clean outs, and companies specializing in cleaning out fresh and wastewater tanks. Canvas and sails will also require cleaning, with specialized cleaning regimens for each. Regardless of what type of cleaning you're looking for visit BoatEasy's Boat Cleaning Services to find local boat cleaners near you and to find out how much they charge.