Catamaran, sportboat or high-performance center console—whether your boat is brand new or has hundreds of hours on it, applying a simple, gentle cleaning method is the key to preserving its long-term beauty. That’s the word from Johnny Walker, the chief executive officer of Baja Marine, the Washington, N.C. parent company of the Baja, Donzi and Fountain powerboat brands.
In a recent press release, Walker—a longtime powerboat owner—outlined the basic boat exterior cleaning strategy used at Powerboat Headquarters, Baja’s pre-owned powerboat refurbishing company.
“It begins with proper routine maintenance that’s performed every time you go boating, because if you want your boat to look great for a lifetime, you have to spend the time maintaining it,” he said. “A typical boating day might be three hours of getting the boat ready, three hours of fun on the water, and another three hours cleaning up when you’re done.”
In the saltwater environment, the No. 1 goal is displacing the saltwater without using harsh chemicals, Walker explained. Soapy water is the strongest solution a powerboat owner should use.
“Use a sponge or soft-bristle brush, mild detergent and lots of water on a performance boat’s exterior,” he said. “Give the boat a freshwater bath. Never use anything with a ‘skull and crossbones’ on the bottle. You will ruin the exterior.”
According to the Baja Marine head, windshields are particularly sensitive and require special and particularly gentle care. Even conventional household glass cleaner can damage them.
“Plexiglas windows and windscreens are acrylic and should only be cleaned with water and a soft cloth that won’t scratch,” Walker said. “Glass cleaner has ammonia in it and if you use that you are going to destroy the windshield by breaking down the acrylic, and the windshield will haze and crack. Once that happens you can’t buff it or sand it out.
“Once a windshield does crack, fade or get cloudy, the only solution is a replacement,” he added. “Powerboat Headquarters replaces windshields in performance boats to make them look like new. In addition, for performance boat owners who want a lower-profile windshield, Powerboat Headquarters can create a new windshield or venturi that matches the boat.”