How To Wax A Boat

Paul Luisi
by Paul
Luisi

Buffing and waxing a boat will create a shine and leave a high gloss finish.

It will also add a protective coating to any fiberglass boat material and seal in the gelcoat, protecting the shine for a long time.

To wax a boat, follow the steps:

  1. Remove boat from water and put it on a trailer
  2. Clean the boat to remove all dirt
  3. Buff boat wax in sections on exterior of vessel
  4. Buff boat wax in sections on interior of boat
  5. Wipe Away Excess Wax From Boat Surfaces

After waxing the boat, the fiberglass will look clean. The boat will start to start to shine and the color will look rejuvenated.

1. Remove Boat From The Water

Remove the boat from the water and place it on a boat trailer. This will: 

  • Make it easier to clean exterior: Placing the boat on a trailer will make it easier to clean the boat, especially the hull area.
  • Ensure every section gets waxed: With the boat out of the water, you'll be able to evenly wax every area of teh boat.
  • Make it easier to wax exterior: With the boat out of the water, you'll be able to easily wax the exterior with a buffing machine or polisher.

Removing the boat from the water is the first step in waxing a boat.

For most boat owners, taking a boat out of the water and onto a trailer should take approximately 10 - 15 minutes.

Summary
Take the boat out of the water and put it on a boat trailer. This will make it easier to wax and buff.

2. Clean The Boat

Wash and clean the boat by scrubbing it with warm water, a sponge and some marine grade soap.

This will remove all dirt, grime, grease, sludge, mold and deep stains.

Cleaning the boat before waxing will: 

  • Ensure a high gloss finish: A clean boat free of dirt means a high gloss finish after waxing.
  • Prevent any paint damage: Waxing a dirty boat makes no sense and will cause the boat paint to crack and fade.
  • Make it easier to wax: No dirt on the boat means waxing will be easier to do and ensure buffing runs smoothly.
  • Remove dirt and old wax from boat: Cleaning the boat before waxing will remove all the dirt and old wax from the surfaces of the vessel.

Depending on the size and condition, cleaning a dirty boat will take 30 minutes to 1 hour to complete.

Summary
Clean the boat thoroughly to remove all dirt, grime and grease before waxing.

3. Buff Boat Wax Into Boat Exterior Surfaces

Get a marine grade wax to use on the boat exterior and a buff machine or polisher.

To wax the exterior of a boat:

  1. Apply wax to the hull, transom, bow and engine casing surfaces: Use a marine grade wax and apply it to the exterior surfaces.
  2. Buff wax in clockwise motion: Use a buffing machine, polisher or buffing pad to buff the wax into the boat exterior fiberglass gelcoat surfaces.
  3. Buff wax in sections: Buff the wax into the surface in sections. Start at one section, e.g. the bow and completely wax it before moving to another section.
  4. Continue waxing until it's shining: Continue the waxing process until the exterior is shining and there are no scuff marks or stains from the wax compound.

Waxing the exterior of the boat should take 20 - 30 minutes depending on the size of the boat.

Summary
Apply wax to the exterior of the boat (the hull, engine, transom and bow) with a marine grade wax and a buffing machine or polisher.

4. Buff Boat Wax Into Boat Interior Surfaces

Use a special formula wax for waxing the boat interior.

To wax a boat interior: 

  1. Apply wax to deck and cabin surfaces: Use a boat interior wax and buff it into the interior surfaces.
  2. Buff wax using a polisher or waxing pad: Use a polisher or waxing pad to buff the wax into the surface and spread it evenly across the surfaces.
  3. Continue until there are no scuff marks: Continue buffing the wax into the interior surfaces of the boat until there are no scuff marks.

It's important to get the right wax for the boat interior. Certain interior surfaces require specific waxes.

For example, different waxes are used when waxing a non skid boat deck versus waxing a teak deck as the material is different.

SummaryApply a special formula wax to the boat interior (boat deck and cabin). Buff the wax into the surface with a buffing machine or pad.

5. Wipe Away Excess Wax From Boat Surfaces

Use a soft towel and lightly wipe away any excess wax build up from around the boat exterior and interior that was missed when buffing.

Wiping away excess wax from the boat will: 

  • Remove any scuff marks: Wiping away excess marks will remove any scuff marks and
  • Ensure an even finish: Removing excess boat wax will ensure an even looking finish and prevent a patchy look.
  • Prevent future patchy discoloration: Too much wax in one area will cause the boat paint color to look patchy over time. By wiping this, you will prevent discoloration.
  • Enhance the high gloss finish: Giving a final wipe to the boat will add the finishing touches and enhance the overall aesthetics.

Wiping away any excess wax from the entire boat should take no more than 10 minutes at most

SummaryUse a soft towel to lightly wipe away any missed excess wax build up. This will enhance the overall aesthetics of the boat and ensure an even finish.

Products To Use For Waxing Boat

The products needed for waxing a boat are: 

  • Boat Wax: Use a marine grade boat wax. There are many top boat waxes to choose from.
  • Buffing Machine: A polisher machine will easily buff wax into the boat evenly.
  • Buffing Pad: This will help buff any wax that is missed and it will also help remove any scuff marks.
  • Soft towels: This is used to remove any excess wax or polish.

A buffing machine or polisher will speed up the entire waxing process.

Summary
Boat wax, a buffing machine, soft towels and a buffing pad are all that's needed to completely wax a boat.

How Often Should A Boat Be Waxed?

A boat should be waxed once every 3 months. This will ensure the surface is protected throughout the year.

Most marine wax offer sun uv protection for up to 3 months so it's important to apply a fresh wax coating again after the 3 months for optimal protection.

Takeaway

Waxing the entire boat will have it looking clean and with a bright shine and gloss finish.

Waxing the boat using a marine grade wax will also add a protective layer to the gelcoat fiberglass material of a boat.