Gelcoat Needs Semi-Annual Waxing - 04/08/2009
We bet you thought the great thing about fiberglass boats is that they don’t need any maintenance -- right? We are sorry to be the bearers of bad news but while the fiberglass doesn’t need much maintenance, the gelcoat on top of it does. Believe us when we say we have tried as hard as you to avoid coming to this conclusion, but if you want to keep your new boat looking new you must wax it from two to three times a year. There are several reasons, among them dirt and soot which will get into the porous gelcoat, oxidation which will make it chalky, and ultraviolet rays will fade the pigment in it.
What Professional Captains Do
Engine and generator exhaust, particularly diesel, can have more soot in it than you realize and once it has time to soak into the pores of your gelcoat, it is very difficult to get out. Again, regular waxing will keep that from happening.
Staff members of BoatTEST.com keep their boats in marinas not far from I-95 and they are convinced that rubber particles in the air find their way to their boats. They need constant washing, and that, together with a good coat of wax will keep the gelcoat from getting dingy.
The Professional Solution
There are many waxes on the market, but the coating we like is the one most builders apply to their boats before they ship them out the door – it is Yacht Brite’s “Pro Polish.” It is gel coat cleaner, sealant, and polish with UV inhibitors that produces an ultra high gloss finish in one easy step. (That’s one reason why the builders like it.)
We think that it’s better than a wax, because Pro Polish is formulated with cosmetic grade ingredients and contains no fillers or talc, protecting the gelcoat against sun, salt, acid rain, and other harsh environmental elements such as soot and tire rubber.
“Pro Polish” sells for $22.98 for a 16 oz bottle, or $109.98 per gallon. We’d go
for the gallon and save a lot of money and be sure we have enough for mid-season
polishing. The appearance of your boat is almost totally determined by the condition
of the gelcoat and the vinyl seat coverings. Poorly maintained gelcoat can knock
thousands of dollars in value off an otherwise fine boat. We think it makes good
economic sense to invest a few bucks in protecting the big investment. Caution:
Never wax steps and the decks where you walk. Waxing will only make those surfaces