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What Electronics Do You Need on a Boat?

Unless you are a purist with a passion for historical sailing methods and a deep knowledge of celestial navigation, you will need a bevy of electronic equipment on your boat that covers an array of essential purposes, such as: 

  • Communication
  • Navigation
  • Monitoring Boat Systems

Entertainment could be considered to be a final category, but devices such as televisions are generally not seen as “essentials.” In any case, some items’ functions may overlap between the above categories, but each piece of electronic equipment fulfills at least one necessary role.

Communication Equipment

Whether you want to call for help or chat with a fellow boater, you’ll need a way to reach them. With that said, your options include the following:

VHF Radio

Should you need to reach out to law enforcement or even the Coast Guard, you’ll need a very high frequency (VHF) radio. It’s more reliable than a cell phone, which can lose signal or drain the battery, leaving you unable to call anyone. 

With a digital selective calling (DSC)-enabled radio, operators can send distress signals directly to emergency responders, and depending on the features built into the radio, it may automatically provide your GPS location with the distress call as well.

Automatic Identification System

While an Automatic Identification System (AIS) won’t send specific messages, it will constantly broadcast your boat’s name, position, course, and speed, giving boaters the ability to keep out of each others’ way and anticipate where other vessels are heading. Some AIS equipment includes two-way receivers that can display the position of your boat and other boats in the area at the same time.


Even skilled sailors with a full-fledged knowledge of celestial navigation will need assistance from basic equipment, especially when there’s cloud cover. As such, these are your options:


At the bare minimum, you should have a compass on board, and electronic compasses are preferable because they tend to be more accurate.


Even if you have GPS services on your phone, consider a dedicated chartplotter. These feature charts with waypoints and water routes not shown on standard smartphone maps, and they are designed with marine use in mind, providing waterproof enclosures and simple control layouts. Should power cut out for any reason, keep paper charts on your boat, too.


These devices are useful for more than just fishing excursions, as they operate using sonar to measure water depth. Fishfinders, though, will generally display more information for anglers looking for their next catch, such as water temperature and the contours at the sea bottom.


While depthfinders and fishfinders are largely vertical in their operational range, radars extend horizontally, showing boaters other vessels and objects in low or zero-visibility situations.


Simple autopilot systems will maintain a set heading, while more advanced versions can use inputs from chartplotters to follow a plotted course.

Wi-Fi/Cell Range Booster

Should you want to continue using your cellphone, whether to communicate, help in navigation, or for entertainment purposes, a Wi-Fi or cell range booster can help you maintain a strong signal on the water.

Monitoring Boat Systems

Using monitoring systems to stay on top of your boat’s health will keep you from getting stranded, and they make operating your boat far more convenient. Your options for these devices include the following:

Multifunctional Displays (MFDs)

These devices funnel the various systems of the boat into a single display and interface, allowing the boater to control all of the vessel’s digital systems without having to access multiple pieces of equipment, such as the radar, chartplotter, lighting, cameras, and various entertainment systems, at once.

Engine Monitor

The functionality of an engine monitor may generally be integrated into the MFD, but even if your engine has separate monitoring functions, you need a way to view the engine’s temperature, RPM, fuel level, and any warnings indicating low oil or other such issues.

Battery Monitor

Without your battery, you’re dead in the water. Keeping tabs on its state of charge and overall health will inform you as to whether it’s good for a day on the water or in need of replacement.

Do Boats Come With Electronics?

Included electronics will depend on the boat. Just as cars may be feature-rich or relatively barebones, so are boats. If you’re buying a new boat, you may be able to select which electronics are included, and you may even be able to choose specific brands or models of devices, whereas if you’re purchasing a used boat, you’ll need to investigate which items come with it. 

In either case, you will need to inspect the electronics carefully before making a purchase. If they seem damaged due to neglect or misuse, you’ll need to take that into account and either negotiate a lower purchase price or walk away entirely. Never settle for lessened safety.

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What Tools Should I Keep on My Boat?

If you knew exactly what would go wrong on your future boating adventures, you could keep non-essential items back at home or in your tow vehicle, but — of course — you can’t schedule emergencies. 

Still, by knowing that problems are inevitable, you can prepare, and as such, you should have emergency supplies and tools on hand before you go out. You can create your own “essentials kit,” so you don’t have to reference a checklist for every boating session.

Tools You Should Have

Some of the tools below will see regular use, while others will be “just in case” items. Nevertheless, a go-to list of tools includes the following items:

Jumper Cables/Portable Jump Starter

You likely have a set of cables in your car; your boat should have them, too. Should you have a battery die while you’re on the water, jumper cables will let you borrow some power from a fellow boater. 

If you’re out on the water on your own, though, and you don’t want to wait for rescue, a portable jump starter is a battery you can use to get your boat running again. In any case, purchase quality cables and jump starters that can handle the rigors of marine environments.

A Powerful Waterproof Flashlight

Not only will a flashlight be handy if your boating expedition runs past sunset, but it will also allow you to send emergency signals in Morse code, such as the universally recognized “SOS.” Aim to purchase a light with a luminosity of 500 lumens or more so you can easily be seen from far away.


If you need to make some emergency repairs to an electronic device, you’ll want narrow pliers for fine control. Needle nose pliers can fit into tight spaces and often feature wire cutters. A set of channel lock pliers will transmit more torque and give you a better grip for jobs that emphasize strength over finesse, and locking pliers can make some jobs easier by acting like an extra set of hands to hold items in place.

Wrenches and Sockets

You may need to turn some nuts and bolts, so you’ll need a set of wrenches and sockets in the appropriate sizes.


A comprehensive set of flathead, Phillips head, and even star or torx bits will ensure you can tighten and loosen whatever you need to. A screwdriver with interchangeable bits will keep weight and size down.

Scissors and Wire Cutters

From fishing lines to electrical lines, there are plenty of items you’ll need to cut, so you’ll want to have scissors or wire cutters handy. 


When you need a more obscure item, such as a file or small saw, a multi-tool is a great way to access various tools simultaneously.


Keep several kinds of tape on board to cover various scenarios, such as electrical tape, self-amalgamating silicone tape, and duct tape. 

Zip Ties

In cases where you need to secure lines or cables and adhesive tapes won’t stick, zip ties work wonders.

A Tow Line

Should you happen to run out of fuel or break down, you’ll need a way for another boat to pull you back to shore. 

Spare Bulbs and Fuses

When a bulb or fuse burns out while out on the water in a storm or at night, it can be dangerous. Always carry spares.

A Fire Extinguisher

Even though you’re on the water, fire can still pose a threat, and electrical fires, grease fires, and chemical fires won’t react well to water, anyway. A tri-class extinguisher will handle nearly any type of fire you may experience.

Drain Plugs

Keep spares on board so that dropping one overboard or leaving some at the dock isn’t a disaster.

Goggles and Snorkel

You may have to head underwater to, say, remove a tangled line from your propeller, so being able to see and breathe is undoubtedly essential.

A Rigging Knife

Even with a multi-tool, consider a rigging knife, too. It is designed to cut through thick lines quickly, which is what you want to do if a line is pulling your boat in unwanted directions.

The Importance of Being Prepared

Perhaps you’ve sailed out dozens of times with no problems; you’ve been lucky and made it back to shore every time without having to engage in emergency repairs or call for help. 

Luck runs out, though, and if you boat long enough, you’re bound to run into some sort of trouble, such as:

  • Running out of fuel
  • Having an electrical issue that cuts out navigation, radio, etc.
  • Springing a leak
  • Blowing fuses or bulbs
  • Experiencing a major mechanical failure
  • Breaking something essential, such as a latch, hose, or handle
  • Having to extinguish a fire

These are just a few possible scenarios. In reality, emergencies can take many forms, including some that are truly unexpected, which makes being as prepared as possible a wise move in any scenario.

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How to Winterize Your Boat

Boat on the Water

Not all boat owners live in perpetual warm weather. While living on the constant 100+ degree equator poses its own challenges for seacraft, those living where the seasons change have another concern — winter. 

As the final jacket-free days of fall begin to wane, you’ll need to turn your attention to your boat and prepare it for the chilly, freezing climate.

Why Should You Winterize Your Boat?

Most boats live perpetually outdoors, often in the water. Without the right precautions, boats can’t handle the constant freezing and thawing of water. 

Ice will build up on the surface of the boat, but more than that, any moisture in the electronics will crystalize, too. Rubber components can become brittle and crack, ice can expand inside joints and burst seals, and hulls can crack.

In short, winter weather will wreck an unprepared boat. Whether you store your boat in a heated, climate-controlled storage unit, on a trailer in your yard, or tied up at the marina, winterizing will ensure the boat is ready to use come spring. 

Collect Your Materials

To protect your boat for winter, you’ll need:

  1. Microfiber cloths (when you spill liquids, these cloths won’t scratch surfaces)
  2. Fresh engine oil
  3. Fuel stabilizer
  4. Antifreeze
  5. Oil filter
  6. Fogging oil
  7. A cover
  8. A dehumidifier or desiccants

If flexible or rubber parts of your boat have been damaged, such as hoses or gaskets, it’s best to replace them while the weather is still warm and your boat is not yet in storage.

Winterizing Your Boat

The best time to winterize your boat is before the weather drops below freezing. This is important not just for the health of your boat, but it’s for your benefit, too! Working on your boat while wearing a heavy coat, hat, and gloves can be restrictive. It’s best to do it while you can still get away with short sleeves.

1. Change the Engine Oil and Filter

Despite your best efforts, and regardless of how well-engineered your boat happens to be, contaminants and moisture will make their way into the engine. 

Before you change the oil, crank over your motor while the boat is still in the water. This will help the oil to thin out and drain more easily. Fill it up with fresh oil, swap out the filter for a new one, and test the engine to make sure it’s running well. 

2. Fog the Engine

Fogging the engine will protect it from internal corrosion. Older carbureted engines will need fogging fluid, while engines equipped with electronic fuel injection (EFI) will need a combination of gas and EFI fogging oil. If you can run the engine until warm once a week during winter, this will do the trick, too. 

After fogging, check your gear oil, if applicable. You’re looking for signs of water contamination. If you see any water, drain the oil and replace it. 

Also, if your engine has one, drain gas from the carburetor before storage. When in doubt, read the instructions on the bottle carefully and ensure you get the right oil for your engine! EFI fogging oil should only be used in EFI systems, and carburetor fogging fluid should only be used in carbureted systems.

3. Stabilize the Fuel

Even if you’re using zero-ethanol gasoline, you’ll still want to use a fuel stabilizer to ensure the gas survives in your tank for several months. Once you treat the fuel, run the engine for a few minutes to ensure all the gas in the system is stabilized.

4. Flush, Drain, Add Antifreeze

Use the pumps on the boat to eliminate water from the washdowns and live wells, but stop running the pumps once they are dry. Then, run antifreeze through the pumps. Next, flush the engine’s cooling system and add antifreeze. Test the engine to ensure it maintains a stable temperature. 

If your boat has a plumbing system for a head, sink, shower, etc., drain it, too. You want to make sure there is no water left in any of the systems that can freeze while your boat is in storage. Finally, remove the drain plugs.

5. Add Grease and Lubricant

Apply grease to the grease fittings, as well as a marine lubricant. This will fight rust and corrosion.

6. Clean Your Boat and Wax It

Cleaning the boat will ensure that no contaminants, dirt, or debris stay on your boat for months on end. Waxing it will apply a protective coating that will last until spring.

7. Cover and Dehumidify

Ideally, your boat will be in dry storage, but that’s not always possible. Use a quality cover to protect the boat from precipitation if outside and leaks if it’s inside. Also, you can use a dehumidifier and desiccants to ensure it doesn’t foster mold and mildew growth.

Enjoy Your Boat in Spring!

If you’ve properly winterized your boat, you’ll be ready when the cold weather goes away. Make sure to check on your boat throughout winter to ensure it’s staying in ship-shape.

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How to Prevent Mildew on Boat Seats

Boat Mildew

Boat owners are constantly providing maintenance, but the environment that boats are a part of is also extremely harsh to them. Water is the universal solvent, after all, but even aside from the wear on the hull, the shortage of electronics, and the corrosion and pitting that comes from saltwater, the perpetual moisture creates the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew.

What Causes Mildew?

Mold and mildew spores are just about everywhere, and they’re always looking for new locations to thrive in. When boat owners don’t properly clean their boats, inspect for and repair damage, and winterize, mold and mildew will seize the opportunity to set up shop.

The two biggest factors for mildew growth are warmth and humidity. It, alongside mold, can still grow in cold conditions, though; it’s just that the two grow faster when temperatures rise. 

Why Is Mildew a Problem?

A bit of mildew might not seem like a big deal, but it can cause a host of headaches, including (but not limited to) the following:

1. It’s Unsightly

No one finds a boat covered in mildew and mold attractive, and unchecked mold growth is often taken as a sign that the boat is poorly maintained. That can be especially problematic for owners who want to sell their boats for top dollar. 

2. It Can Aggravate Health Problems

Moldy and mildewy boats are more than an aesthetics issue; they can irritate the respiratory systems of those with asthma and similar conditions. Even relatively healthy individuals may respond to continued mold exposure with coughs, watery eyes, and sneezing. They may even develop a rash or other form of skin irritation.

3. It Smells Bad

The odor of mold and mildew is musty, biting, and simply unpleasant. It can also be difficult to remove, especially if the growths are left unchecked for long periods.

4. It Can Damage Your Boat

Though mold and mildew can enjoy building and growing on your boat’s surface, they won’t always stay there. Mold will work its way into wood, fiberglass, and vinyl, causing each to weaken, warp, and break.

Don’t Give Mildew an Opportunity

You can keep mildew from showing up and ruining your boating experience in the following ways:

1. Clean Your Boat

Deep clean your boat every four to 12 weeks if it’s on the water and every six months if it’s dry-docked. Still, you ideally should be at least wiping down and rinsing your boat after every use, including the seats.

2. Use a Quality, Undamaged Cover and Dehumidify

If your cover has any rips or tears, patch them thoroughly, get a new cover, or consider shrink-wrapping your boat for even better protection. Whichever method you use, make sure you also use active ventilation, such as with a dehumidifier or desiccants, to keep moisture from building up inside the boat.

3. Allow for Airflow Inside the Boat

Stagnant air is friendly to mold, so make sure air can move throughout the boat by keeping all the cabinets, doors, lockers, and covers open. Solar vents or battery-powered vents are fantastic for pushing air in and out of boats, and if you have a boat larger than 30 feet, you should consider using two in a push-pull configuration.

4. Remove Items That Harbor Mold

Any cushions, blankets, sheets, mattresses, clothes, and other absorbent items should be stored elsewhere, as they can easily trap mold and mildew. Removing them will also improve airflow anyway.

5. Inspect Your Boat

Cleaning your boat is the perfect time to conduct an inspection. Check for water damage or areas where mildew might thrive unnoticed, and then repair and replace components fostering the substance.

Cleaning Mildew

If you’ve noticed that mold and mildew have begun to call your boat home, don’t panic, as you can get rid of it in the following ways:

1. Use Mildew Remover

Commercial mildew removal products will work as advertised, so long as they’re used as directed. For the safety of family members and pets, never clean the boat when they’re around, and seek natural mildew removers.

2. Use Bleach

You can certainly use bleach, just not straight bleach. Use a diluted solution of three parts water and one part bleach. After spraying and wiping off the mold, rinse thoroughly with water.

3. Use Baking Soda

With a quarter tablespoon of baking soda in a 16-ounce spray bottle and a soft brush, you can remove even stubborn mold patches. Make sure to rinse with water and let air dry.

4. Fumigate and Use a Mildew Blocker

These products are for after you remove the mold. Fumigating with a mildew control product will release chlorine dioxide to kill the spores and eliminate the odor. Follow that up with a mildew blocker to help keep the mildew and mold from quickly returning.

Never Give Up

All of these procedures are temporary solutions, given that, as long as your boat is in the water, it’s susceptible to mold and mildew. It’s up to you to protect your boat with routine maintenance and a watchful eye!

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How & Why You Should Use a Dirt Catcher in Your Bucket

Bucket With Cleaning Supplies

In your boat, exactly how would you use a dirt catcher — and why? This tool is a plastic trap that you can insert into your clean-up bucket to hold your boat cleaning or maintenance tools. The grate in the trap allows dirt to fall to the bottom of the bucket while keeping your tools from sitting in the dirt.

This makes it easier to wash your boat safely and clean your tools after you’re finished working with them. Here’s a detailed look at how and why you should use a dirt catcher in your vessel.

What Does a Dirt Catcher Do?

When you wash your boat, you’ll want to avoid scratching the surface to keep it looking new and attractive. However, one of the most common causes of scratching on your boat’s surface is the dirt and grime that gets trapped in your cleaning equipment.

Sponges and brushes will collect debris as you start using these tools to wash your boat. If you store all of your equipment in your bucket, that debris will cling to your tools. As you rinse your equipment over a dirt catcher, however, the debris will get flushed through the grate.

The dirt catcher lets you keep your sponges, brushes, and other equipment separate from the grime that you remove from your boat’s surface. Your cleaning equipment will stay cleaner and softer, so you can continue washing your boat without damaging it.

The Benefits of Using a Dirt Catcher

There are several benefits of using a dirt catcher that make it a useful tool in washing or maintaining your boat. Essentially, this tool offers an easy and effective way to help you keep your equipment and tools cleaner as you service your vessel.


All dirt catchers consist of thick, sturdy plastic to support the weight of your equipment. In addition to supporting that weight during each use, the dirt catcher will last longer. You’ll be able to use the same dirt catcher for many years before you’ll need to replace it.

Ease of Use

Anyone can easily use a dirt catcher. Dirt catchers have finger holes that make the devices easy to grasp and hold, so installing or removing the item is simple. In addition, you won’t need much strength to pull the dirt catcher out of the bucket.


You can use a dirt catcher in any standard five-gallon bucket. You’ll be able to use the same dirt catcher in multiple buckets, or you can buy several dirt catchers to use in a few different five-gallon buckets. If you have a large array of equipment and tools, it may make sense to use more than one bucket, each with its own dirt catcher.

Using a Dirt Catcher

Using a dirt catcher is fairly straightforward. The bottom of the plastic grate has fins that prevent it from sitting flush on the bottom of the bucket.

This makes it easy to set the guard in the bucket while leaving a gap for dirt, debris, and sediment. As you rinse off your equipment and tools, the dirty water and debris get flushed through the grate and settle on the bottom of the bucket.

After you’re finished using the dirt catcher and you have cleaned your equipment for the last time, remove the dirt catcher and rinse it with a hose. Make sure to rinse all of the dirt and debris from both sides of the unit. Let the dirt catcher air dry completely before storing it.

Commonly Asked Questions

Here are a few answers to common questions about the use of a dirt catcher.

How Many Dirt Catchers Are Necessary?

The best practice is to have two buckets and to install a dirt catcher in each bucket. Use one bucket strictly for washing your equipment, and use the second bucket for rinsing. This ensures you’ll thoroughly remove dirt from your equipment and keep your tools clean.

Why Do Dirt Catchers Come in Different Colors?

Different colored dirt catchers allow you to separate your wash and rinse buckets. Your black dirt catcher will tell you that you’re using that bucket for washing your tools. Similarly, you’ll know that you’re using the blue dirt catcher for rinsing.

Why Not Make a Homemade Dirt Catcher?

While you can build your own dirt catcher, you’ll probably spend more on the materials to build it than it would cost to buy a premade version. Additionally, your homemade dirt catcher may not be as effective or durable.

Don’t Service Your Boat Without a Dirt Catcher

Once you’re familiar with the purpose of a dirt catcher, it’s easier to understand the advantages of having one. Overall, investing in this simple yet useful product will help you protect the beauty of your boat for years to come.

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Can I Use a Brush on Boat Seats?

Boat Seats

Buying a boat is a significant investment. Maintenance, accessories, and fuel drive up costs even higher. But the costliest expense of all is failing to maintain the boat properly, including the simple act of cleaning. Regular boat cleaning is essential, but only with the correct tools and processes. Yes, brushes are one of those tools, even for seat upholstery, as long as owners use brushes designed for that purpose.

Why Is Cleaning Seats Important?

While the hull may get the lion’s share of attention thanks to the threat of spreading invasive species, a boat’s interior is just as important. Faded vinyl covered in mold isn’t just unsightly — it can stain clothing and towels, cause health problems, and drive down the value of a boat. While modern boat vinyl does have anti-mold and mildew properties, these properties degrade when not cleaned properly.

The Best Types of Brushes for Seats

Boat seat upholstery has different requirements from the rest of the boat. Here are the properties you want when selecting your brush:

Soft Stiffness

While the hull will require stiff-bristled brushes, these brushes will damage seat upholstery. For seats, owners should stick with soft-bristle brushes. They won’t cause deep scratches or tears in vinyl but will require longer scrubbing sessions to remove dirt.

High-Quality, Dense Bristles

Generally, the bristles are plastic, often a form of polystyrene, nylon, or rubber-infused material. You’ll want a material that is soft yet able to withstand lots of scrubbing without degrading.

Wooden Head

Brush heads are usually wood or plastic, but wood is more durable.

Telescoping, Rust-Resistant Metal Handle

You’ll need a telescoping handle so you can change the length based on your needs. Also, it should be made of a hardy, rust-resistant metal such as aluminum or stainless steel.


A quality wash and wax soap will simultaneously remove dirt, debris, and other contaminants from seats while also adding a protective wax layer. However, boat owners must take care to use soaps and cleaners that are safe for use on vinyl. Also, ensure that the cleaner you use features UV protection. Your boat seats will sit in sunlight for much of the year, and UV damage will cause unprotected seats to fade.

Cleaners that use harsh chemicals can not only harm seat upholstery but can damage brushes as well. You also must consider that you and other passengers will have to sit on the recently-cleaned seats, and detergents with toxic materials can stain clothing and even harm the skin. The cleaner you select should ideally be biodegradable and non-toxic to protect occupants, the boat, and the environment.

Boat Seat Cleaning: Best Practices

Here are the steps for maintaining fresh, new-looking seats:

1. Sweep Away Dirt and Debris

With a soft brush, remove loose dirt or debris on the seats.

2. Wipe Down the Seats With Distilled Water

Distilled water will not introduce any contaminants. Use a soft cloth or rag to gently wipe the water on the seats, then use a different cloth or rag to dry them.

3. Mix Your Cleaner

Read the instructions on your cleaning solution and prepare a mixture in a bucket. You may be able to use tap water rather than distilled water, but again, check the instructions.

3. Softly Scrub

Using your soft brush, gently clean the seats. If you have removable cushions, take them off the seats and clean them all over.

4. Wipe, Rinse, Dry

Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned every upholstered surface, get a fresh, soft cloth or rag and wipe the surfaces down. Then, rinse and dry with a new cloth.

Improper Cleaning

Cleaning your seats with the wrong tools or cleaners will result in damage. This is why you should avoid using:

●     Power Washers: The pressure can cause vinyl to rip

●     Harsh Cleaners: Bleach, Goo Gone, and other harsh chemicals remove protective coatings

When in doubt, read the instructions and obey warnings. If the cleaner label claims it will harm vinyl, don’t use it!

Preventing Damage Long-Term

To ensure your seats last from season to season, clean them every month. You can clean them more often if you notice buildups of grime or mold. Also, you can enact these preventive measures:

●     Don’t spill food, drinks, or sunscreen on the seats

●     Wipe the seats after all boating sessions

●     Use covers when the boat is not in use

●     Never cover the seats if the interior is wet, as this can lead to mold growth

With some simple care, your seats can stay pristine.

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When’s The Best Time for Cleaning Your Boat

Cleaning Your Boat

Cleaning your boat is an essential part of boat maintenance. Regular cleaning helps keep it in excellent condition and prolongs its lifespan. Knowing when’s the best time to clean your boat can be a challenge and varies based on usage and the environment. Captains Preferred Products will provide the best times based on those factors.

Our Recommended Cleaning Based on Water

If your boat is in saltwater, it is essential to clean it more frequently to prevent damage to the hull, propeller, and other parts. You should aim to clean the whole boat after each use, as the salt can quickly cause damage if left sitting. Saltwater can cause corrosion to the boat’s metal components over time. To avoid this, we recommend flushing the engine after each run. Most newer boats include a connection for flushing the waterways. We also recommend rinsing down the hull with soap after each use.

If your boat is in freshwater, the need to rinse down is less important, though still recommended after each use. With freshwater, we recommend a more thorough cleaning once a month, or every 3rd – 4th use, depending on how often you use it.

Time of Year Look

It’s important to consider the time of year when cleaning your boat as it will affect the cleaning interval.

Spring / First Run of the Season

Spring is an excellent time to clean your boat, especially if it has been stored away for the winter. During the winter, the boat may have accumulated a lot of dirt, grime, and other debris, which can be challenging to remove. This accumulation depends on what type of storage is used. If kept anywhere aside from indoor storage, such as on a lift, trailer, or in the water, you should plan to give your boat a thorough clean at least a couple of times a month.

Cleaning your boat in the spring is typically associated with a first season start-up, which may involve dirt and grime on the deck and haul.

Summer / Mid-Season

Summer is also an excellent time to clean your boat. This is another season when your boat is likely to accumulate dirt, grime, and debris as you use it frequently. At a minimum, giving it a deep cleaning in summer will make sure it maintains those new boat qualities.


For certain regions, fall means the boating season is coming to an end. In places like Canada and the Midwest, boats are typically deep cleaned 1 final time before being put away for the season. This is a great time as well to identify any damage or repair maintenance that needs to be addressed before the next boating season.


Winter is typically when the majority of boats are stored, and are generally not deep cleaned unless maintenance or repairs are needed, which would also lend itself towards cleaning.

With that said, in southern regions like Florida, boats are used year-round. In that case, winter in Florida falls back to our regularly recommended cleaning intervals based on use.

The Use of Proper Cleaning Products

Using the right cleaning products is essential in maintaining your boat. Using the wrong products can damage the boat’s surface and cause more harm than good. It’s necessary to use products that are specifically designed for boats and the marine environment. When choosing cleaning product(s), make sure they are safe for the type of material your boat is made of (fiberglass, aluminum, wood, etc.), and don’t overlook the material of things like your seats, deck accessories, etc.

Captains Preferred Products carries different products based on what you’ll be cleaning. You want to make sure the cleaning product is specific to what is being cleaned. For example, there are cleaners specific to boat bilge systems and cleaners specific to seat materials. Those are not interchangeable.

Keeping Your Boat in Pristine Condition

The best time for cleaning your boat depends on several factors. These include the type of water your boat is in, the time of year, and how frequently you use it.

Cleaning your boat based on those factors is essential to keep it in good condition and prolong its lifespan. Regular cleaning of your boat will also help you identify any damage and repair maintenance that may be needed. This will allow you the ability to use your boat during the best boating season.

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Get Ready, CPP Coming To Market!

We’re working hard to launch our first line of products! (updated, our products are available for purchase!)

First Group of Products

Our first product offering will include:

Why We’re Different

We understand there are quite a few boat cleaning products currently on the market. We’ll be offering premium products geared towards consumers & commercial businesses. Our products are not run of the mill cleaners, soaps, and accessories. Are products are / and will, be used by life-long boaters, charters, crews and marinas.

We have over 15 years of boating experience, including tournament fishing, charters, deep sea fishing and more. Our products are backed by experience and the need to keep our equipment in tip top shape.

Keep an eye out for our products! Soon you’ll see them in your local Marina, as well as our online boat cleaning products store (Captains Preferred Products)