With the thermometer continuing to climb, the refreshing coolness of a day spent on the water is inviting. Before you leave the dock, here are a few considerations that will make your summer boating adventures more enjoyable for you, your crew, and your boat.
Captain & Crew
Consider creating a dedicated backup safety box. This is a container dedicated to mitigating the environmental factors that affect you and your crew. Stock it with extra hats, sunglasses, bug repellant, long sleeve white t-shirts, wind breakers, water, and of course sun block.
If you will be out all day, try to limit direct sun exposure to less than thirty minutes if possible. Many new boater’s do not realize how intense a day of full sun exposure can be and the last thing you want is to come out looking like a lobster!
Have plenty of water available and encourage early drinking (of water) to stave off any possible dehydration. Water belongs in your body and not in the bottle.
Now that we have a plan in place for you and your crew, let’s talk about your boat. Your boat will require special care during the summer months to protect it from both the heat and the UV light.
First Things First: Perform A Deep Cleaning
This may seem rather generic, but the fact is, if your boat has dirt, dust, or debris on it, it will be harder to protect its surfaces. Also, many products are designed to get absorbed into the gelcoat and unless the surface is clean, this will not occur.
Don’t go cheap when buying products. Purchase quality products designed specifically for boat use. One common example is dish soap. We constantly see boat owners using dish soap to rinse off their boats. The issue is that household dish soap is designed to cut through grease, right? Well, what is wax? Exactly. Now you have someone who may have paid quite a bit of money for a good wax job a few months ago only to see that wax job go down the scuppers, literally.
Pick a good boat wash. There are plenty of dedicated boat washes, so do your own research here.
Now that you are starting with a squeaky-clean boat, it’s time to add protectants to the boat’s gel coat surfaces. A good cleaner wax will help remove oxidation that may have built up over the off-season months as well as make it shiny and slippery. This will help with both a reduction of friction and assist in rinsing off the boat after you come out of the water.
Simple carnauba wax, which can be found at local automotive stores, will lack the proper polymers to protect your gel coat surface from the sun’s UV rays, so again, do not go cheap here. Purchase wax designed specifically for boats.
For vinyl coverings such as your seats and dash components, use a vinyl cleaner and polish. These pull double duty. First, they condition the vinyl to keep it flexible and soft rather than allowing it to crack and become flakey. They also offer protection from the sun’s harmful rays. For both these reasons, using a good vinyl cleaner and polish will help prolong the life of your upholstery.
As you can see, summer boating deserves a little extra planning for the needs of you and your crew as well as your boat. When it comes to your boat, selecting the correct products is crucial. Trying to save a few bucks here will actually cost you in the long run. You can help keep your boat looking new and protect it from the ravages of summer by using dedicated marine products specifically designed for that purpose.