Blood, fish guts, salt, algae, grime. For those who own a boat, chances are their boat deck has seen it all. Whether a commercial fisherman or pleasure boater, everyone needs an efficient, reliable way to erase the activities of the day off their deck.
Keeping a boat deck clean is important because dried-on dirt and debris can seriously harm the boat's surface. Sea salt can also strip away the boat's beautiful finish.
A boat deck is an area that takes plenty of abuse. However, cleaning a boat deck can be less of a challenge if these steps are followed:
– First, consider the type of boat. Not all materials can withstand a large amount of scrubbing or can be cleaned with harsh products. Fiberglass and teak, for example, should be treated differently. Find the best cleaners and products for the specific boat to be cleaned.
– Follow the rules. When cleaning a boat deck, make sure to follow all EPA rules and local regulations. Responsible boaters don't want to pollute the waterways by allowing the runoff from caustic toxic to flow into protected waters. Be clear what is and isn't allowed and then abide by those rules. Failure to do so could not only harm natural resources, but also result in a substantial fine.
– Fill the toolbox with appropriate tools. A deck brush is a necessity, but one with too hard of bristles could damage the surface by rubbing off the finish. The same goes with the type of soap selected. Harsh products may eat away at gelcoats and finishes while non-biodegradable products could harm the environment. If appropriate, consider using marine cleaning products in conjunction with a power sprayer, hand mitt or mop bucket.
– Decide whether ready-to-use or concentrated cleaning formulas are the best option. Ready-to-use products are premixed so that there is no guessing about precise proportions. Concentrated formulas need to be mixed with water before use. While these take a bit more time to use, they are often more economical.
– Rinse the entire surface first with fresh water. This will remove any solid particles immediately and make it easier to see what kind of cleaner is needed to tackle the rest of the job.
– Reach for a powerful, yet gentle cleaning solution. After the deck is rinsed down, fill a bucket with a cleaner specifically formulated for boat surfaces and give the area a complete scrub. Some elbow grease is likely to be necessary.
– Like washing a car, work in small sections. This prevents one area of the boat from drying prematurely before the cleaner is rinsed away. No good things come from letting the bright sun bake on a cleaning agent.
– For really tough grime, employ the services of a heavy-duty soap paste product. These can be spread over the boat deck, allowed time to dwell and then scrubbed and rinsed away.
– Care also must be taken when rinsing. Once all the soap is washed away, use a soft cloth or vehicle chamois to dry off the deck as soon as possible. This simple action prevents unsightly spotting.
– If dried on particles or scuff marks remain, let the deck dry and then use a cleaning product designed to take care of that particular issue. A cleaning eraser product, for example, is the perfect way to remove scuff marks.
– To finish the cleaning chore, consider waxing. Doing so can help protect the boat's surface and retain its glorious luster. While it is not necessary to wax after every cleaning, a few times a season or whenever the finish appears dull should suffice.