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.