Boat Detailing Costs Explained
Boat detailing costs can sometimes be a bit confusing for new boat owners. Prices from various boat detailers can vary significantly and it's hard to know exactly what you're getting when you hire a detailer.
What is Boat Detailing
Boat detailing is the process of cleaning and refinishing your boat's hull. While generally all types of boat hulls can be cleaned and refinished, specifically detailing usually refers to work done on fiberglass hulls to protect the hull's surface and restore its shine.
Most boat detailing begins with a simple boat wash to remove any accumulated dirt on the hull's surface and from there the process of detailing can begin. From there your boat's detailer will proceed to buff the hull to remove oxidation and apply a protective finish that restores that hull's color and shine while also protecting it from harmful UV rays. A thorough detail may also address any issues with your boat's wood or vinyl and restore their finish as well although that may be billed at a separate rate than the price per foot that boat detailing is usually billed at.
Why You Should Have Your Boat Detailed
Boats are exposed to sunlight. Simply put, UV exposure will cause your boat's finish, primarily the gelcoat found on fiberglass hulls, to fade and become chalky. This process known as oxidation occurs gradually at first but will eventually degrade a hull and make colored hulls appear whitish. Structurally a fiberglass hull may still be quite sound despite its outward appearance. That said, most boat owners enjoy keeping their boat looking nice and a well maintained boat will command a higher price should you decide to sell it.
The process of detailing your boat will remove oxidation and apply a protective coating that will keep your boat looking great for years to come. For a more in depth look at boat detailing and why it should be included as a part of your boat's maintenance checkout our blog article Boat Detailing: Worth the Cost?
How Much Does Boat Detailing Cost?
Like with most things in the world of boat ownership, it depends. There are several factors that will affect the cost of your boat's detailing.
Condition of the hull. Hulls in good condition are easier to detail. A badly oxidized hull will require significantly more work than one that has been detailed recently.
Boat size. Larger boats are obviously more work. More complex boats like a catamaran or trimaran that have more hull surface will also require more work compared to a monohull of similar length.
Location. There are no industry standard rates for boaters and location will play a major role. Boat detailers that perform excellent work command a premium and are often booked weeks or months in advance in major boating regions.
With these factors in mind, boat detailing costs average around $15 per foot. Vessels that are regularly detailed or new and in good condition may be less expensive whereas vessels needing more work or in areas where demand for experienced detailers is high will likely be charged more. Prices in the $20 per foot range are not uncommon with larger jobs commanding even higher rates.
Finding a Local Detailer for Your Boat
BoatEasy makes finding experienced boat detailers easy. Simply use the search bar above and enter what you're looking for and your location and a list of boat detailers near you will be returned. Here are some tips for finding the right detailer for your boat.
Ask for sample pictures or references. Before and after pictures are especially popular but an experienced detailer should have a portfolio of their work that they can provide to prospective clients.
Ask for a quote. Quotes work both ways, a detailer isn't likely to provide a quote for your boat without first seeing it so be sure to include any relevant information about what you need done as well as pictures of your boat when asking for a quote.
Ask what products the detailer uses. Many detailers are particularly about the specific products they use and should be able to explain why their experience has lead them to choose to use them.