7 Easy Boat Cleaning Hacks For 2021
Hack(n) - a strategy or technique for managing one’s time or activities more efficiently.
Let’s face it, cleaning your boat after a long day on the water can be an exhausting and time consuming task. In this article we take a look at 7 easy to implement boat cleaning hacks that will save you time and money, and keep your boat looking great
1 - Designate a Trash Bin
Designate an unused locker or bucket as a trash bin for crew and guests. This will make cleaning up at the end of the day a lot easier as the majority of trash is consolidated in one place. It also has the benefit of eliminating the possibility of your trash polluting the body of water you’re enjoying by blowing away or being lost overboard by careless guests.
2 - Use Your Raw Water Washdown
Many boaters are hesitant to use their vessel’s raw water washdown system because they don’t want salt water on their boats. However, when cleaning up while underway a raw water washdown system is indispensable. If your boat doesn’t have a raw water washdown system a bucket works great too. The convenience of a powerful washdown pump and hose for cleanup while underway is hard to beat though so you might consider installing one aboard. Coupled with a stiff deck brush, a raw water washdown hose will make quick work of any mess on your deck while underway.
3 - Use Hot Water
Hot water is one of the best boat cleaning hacks I’ve encountered and I encourage all boaters to take advantage of it if possible. Hot water is very effective at dissolving salt, the primary source of corrosion on your boat’s metal, as well as getting rid of dirt and grime. Additionally hot water helps soaps break down dirt and grime on your deck quicker and allows you to use less soap. Using hot water, any salt spray left aboard from your trip needs only a rinse with warm fresh water to dissolve it away. If you’re like many boaters and you don’t have access to hot water where you keep your boat, consider having it plumbed from an existing hot water heater or purchasing an in-line hot water heater.
4 - Keep Vinegar Handy
Like hot water, vinegar is a great weapon in the ongoing battle between boat owners and salt water corrosion. Mixed with water and then sprayed on your boat, with particular focus on exposed metal, vinegar will dissolve any salt residue that found its way aboard. Be sure to wash well with fresh water afterwards. A small spray bottle of vinegar is also a great way to treat any spots of corrosion you notice or clean mildew and mold you find aboard. For a deeper clean, some boaters have even taken to running their outboards in a container filled with a mix of water and vinegar to clean their engine’s internal components of salt buildup.
5 - Buy A Quality Deck Brush
It’s hard to overstate how important a good brush made for boat cleaning is. Of all our boat cleaning hacks, this is perhaps the easiest to do, so there’s no reason to skimp on it. A quality brush that won’t mark your boat’s gelcoat or lose its bristles and leave them on deck is what you’re looking for. I prefer one with a telescoping handle that allows for easy storage while also being extended for comfortable use.
6 - Prioritize While Cleaning
Boats used in salt water have two main enemies, salt and UV. Metal exposed to salt water will corrode and anything left in the sun for extended periods of time will fade. While having a spotless deck and hull can be nice, there are a few things you absolutely must clean after a day on the water to ensure they work the next time you use your boat. Engine(s) should be flushed thoroughly with freshwater and any metal aboard that came into contact with salt water should be rinsed.
Fiberglass, gelcoat, and even wood are fairly resilient to salt exposure, you could come home from a day on the boat without ever cleaning your boat’s deck and it would probably be just fine, so long as you don’t make a habit of it. By prioritizing your post-trip cleanups on the parts of the boat that could be damaged by saltwater corrosion, you’ll save yourself a lot of maintenance down the road. As for UV exposure, a good boat cover or awning goes a long way toward protecting your boat.
7 – Break Out The Pressure Washer
Pressure washing a boat is subject to some debate, some people love it, some wouldn’t let a pressure washer anywhere near there boat. For serious cleanup though, like after a long day of fishing, a pressure washer is hard to beat. A word of caution, a high powered pressure washer with the wrong tip can easily damage your boat’s gelcoat or nonskid so be careful while using. The correct pressure washing setup however can make cleanup a breeze. Some setups even allow you to feed in your preferred cleaning solution with the water which can save you significant time while cleaning. A small electric pressure washer works perfect for this application.