How To Wax a Boat

How to wax a boat: Step by step

How To Wax a Boat: Step By Step Guide to Wax a Boat

How to wax a boat is an essential part of boating maintenance. Boats that are not properly waxed will accumulate organisms and globs on the surface that can eventually damage the paint or other materials on your boat. Keeping your boat’s hull well-waxed at least twice a year should prevent any corrosion damage.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to wax a boat yourself.

How To Wax a Boat

Wash The Boat

You should never wax a dirty boat. Wash your boat first so you can get all dirt, grime and salt off. You don’t want these substances contaminating the wax or hardener because they will be difficult to remove. If you have time, it’s best to wash with your favourite soap before waxing. Put your boat on the trailer and prepare it for washing

Spray the water on the exterior of the boat.

Let it sit for a couple of minutes before you scrub. Once the grime is softened, use a soft brush to scrub away dirt and other contaminants on your boat. Rinse with clean water and dry the boat.

Remove the Old Wax

Use a vinyl or rubber cleaner to remove any older wax on your boat. If you don’t do this, the new wax will not stick well and will come off after just a couple of months. Spray the cleaner onto the surface of your boat in an even manner.

Scrub the surface with a soft-bristled brush to work in cleaner.

Wash it Again With the Detergent

Get some dish soap and water on your boat. Make it sudsy and scrub away all mildew, salt and other contaminants. Use a stiff-bristled brush for this step. Once the surface of the boat is clean, rinse with clean water

Get the buffing compound or Polish

If your boat already has a protective coating on it, you can skip this step. If you don’t have one or it’s worn off, now is the time to put some kind of wax or polish onto your boat. Use a soft cloth to rub the compound onto your boat in an even manner.

Don’t forget the rub rails and other areas where you don’t put your hands when you’re in the boat. Use a circular motion in different sections of the boat to evenly distribute the compound onto it. It will give a glossy look, and the boat begins to shine.

Start waxing the boat.

Use a large soft brush to put on the wax in all different directions. Spray some water onto the boat if you have any wax that bleeds through the pores of the surface. Do this until everything is well coated with wax

Remove Excess Wax

Put some dish soap on your fingers and scrub away excess wax in an even manner. If you don’t do this, the wax will build up into a heavy coating that is difficult to remove. Scrub away all excess with your fingers until it is all gone.

Rinse and Towel Dry

Use a hose to spray water on your boat. If there is any soapy residue from dish soap, wash it off with a hose. Towel dry the boat to get rid of excess water. You can leave it outside overnight but make sure you cover it if there are any bugs in your area.

Maintain Your Boat's Wax Job for Long Term Protection

The proper way to wax a boat is not something that should be done once and forgotten about until the next time. You should wax your boat at least twice a year for the best results. Clean the boat first with a clean cloth and either dish soap or vinyl cleaner. Once it’s clean, add some new wax in an even manner on the surface of the boat with a soft cloth. Don’t forget about rub rails, antennas and other hard to reach areas. Make sure you cover your boat if there are any bugs or other animals that will destroy the wax.

How Often Should You Wax a Boat?

How Often Should You Wax a Boat?

Waxing your boat is very important because it protects the surface of your boat against the elements. If you don’t wax, there will be constant damage to your boat’s finish, and it can become costly. The average life span of a new boat before another recoat is needed is 10 years. If you do, expect that time frame to be reduced by half. The main reason for this is that most boats are not waxed regularly, if at all.

You should wax your boat every 6 months to get the best results out of it. You can extend that timeline by another review of 6 months or more if you live in a coastal area with plenty of water exposure. If you don’t live in a coastal area with plenty of water exposure, you should wax your boat every 3 months.

Factors Reducing the Time for a New Coat of Wax

Water Pollution – boats that are constantly exposed to polluted water need more frequent recoats. This is because they will not protect as well against this type of water.

Location – if you go boating in rivers or seas, you should expect to recoat your boat every 4 months. If you live on a lake, once per year is usually enough.

Type of Boat – boats with protective coatings already need less frequently waxing. Unprotected fibreglass and aluminium tend not to have protection. This means you add a protective coating to them using the waxing process.

Personal Preference – when it comes to waxing your boat, some people do it more often because they prefer it to time spent cleaning and maintaining their boat. If you spend a lot of time out on the water, this point is valid.


Waxing your boat is not a difficult process, particularly if you follow the steps above. If you don’t want to wax your boat yourself, you can take it to a professional and pay them to do it for you. Waxing helps keep your boat looking nice and new while protecting the surface. It also makes the whole thing easier to clean when you get home.

Remember that in our blog you will learn the best tips, advice on maritime navigation and everything related to nautical.



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