Friday, July 22, 2016

Is Your Boat Well Maintained?

What can be more satisfying to the eye than a well-maintained boat that shines and sparkles under the sun.  Hey, there’s a reason certain aspects of boat maintenance are called “bright work.”  We'll show you how to maintain features of your boat:

Fiberglass and gelcoat, which needs to be regularly cleaned, waxed, and polished for both protective and cosmetic purposes.

Marine canvas and Eisinglass or Strataglass, which deteriorate quickly without proper treatment. 

Upholstery and vinyl which need to be cleaned several times a season—but if you use the wrong type of cleaner, you can accidentally destroy the materials.

Bright work, which, includes all wood surfaces and trims that are exposed to UV rays.  They require quite a bit of upkeep to keep them in good shape. 

We'll show you how to refinish dull-looking wood, and explain the seasonal maintenance you'll need to do every spring.

Gelcoat, in good condition,is the tough, glossy exterior finish that protects the underlying fiberglass from salt, sun, and everything else Mother Nature can throw at it.

To keep your gelcoat in good condition, you’ll want to spend time maintaining it throughout the course of a season.  Essential gelcoat maintenance begins with waxing and/or polishing. What’s the difference between wax and polish? Waxes are designed to protect and seal gelcoat, with a coating that repels water, dirt, salt, and the harmful rays of the sun. Polishes, on the other hand, generally contain a cutting agent to remove oxidation from the gelcoat and make it shine.

To keep your boat’s gelcoat in great condition, this maintenance should be performed at least twice a season. Consider performing this task before you launch in the spring.

“Canvas” is the generic term used for the durable fabrics used to create cockpit and console enclosures, Bimini tops, boat and sail covers, line and gear pockets, and more. You may have heard the trade name “Sunbrella” used to describe some of these materials as well.

Keeping canvas clean is Essential. Don’t wash or dry your canvas in a household washer or dryer this will destroy the fabric very quickly. Instead, use a light brush, mild soap and lots of fresh water to remove dirt, salt, bird droppings, and other abrasive materials. 

Vinyl, which has been around for decades, is a tough and extremely durable material, but using the wrong cleaners can ruin it. Clean it with a sponge and a bucket of mild, soapy water, followed by a thorough rinsing. Never use strong cleaners that contain bleach or ammonia. 

At some point you’ll likely have to contend with mildew staining of your vinyl. You can find cleaners for this at your local Whiticar Boat Works. 

The easiest way to make vinyl last is to keep it covered or stowed away.

Though it’s less and less common on most boats, many still have some woodwork to take care of. Common woodwork you might find on a boat includes handrails, toerails, caprails, steps, and decking.

Most of these components are made of teak, which is a durable tropical hardwood.  The easiest solution is to simply leave uncoated teak uncoated, and let it develop a silvery gray patina. No matter your preference, maintenance of your boat need not be a nightmare. Simply investing a weekend or two a year can go a long way toward keeping your boat’s wood looking great year-round.


Whiticar Boat Work
3636 SE Old Saint Lucie Blvd
Stuart, FL 34996
Office (772) 287-2883
Fax (772) 287-2922