How To Wax A Non-Skid Boat Deck

Paul Stockdale Author Avatar
Written by Paul Stockdale | March 19, 2023
Waxing Non-Skid Boat Deck

Boat owners clean and maintain their non-skid boat deck to remove dirt and improve the aesthethics of the boat deck.

Waxing and polishing a non-skid boat deck will leave the deck with a shiny and gloss finish. It will also act as a sealant and add a protective coating to the boat deck.

The 3 steps to wax a non-skid boat deck are:

  1. Clean the deck before waxing
  2. Apply a boat wax to the boat deck & buff it in with a polisher machine
  3. Wipe away the excess wax with a cloth

After waxing, the boat deck paint will look clean and be protected against future weathering.

Polishing the boat deck will also help prevent oxidation.

It is important to only use non-skid boat wax to ensure the deck is not slippery after waxing.

1. Clean The Boat Deck Before Waxing

The first step of waxing a non-skid boat deck is to clean the boat deck thoroughly.

The items needed to clean a marine deck boat before waxing it are a deck brush, a bucket of fresh water and a towel.

To clean a boat deck before waxing it:

  1. Get a deck brush & a bucket of fresh water
  2. Mix it with deck cleaner and pour it onto the dirty deck
  3. Scrub the deck wet a deck brush
  4. Rinse the scrubbed deck with fresh water
  5. Dry the deck with a towel

The benefits of cleaning the boat deck before waxing it include:

  • It removes dirt, grime, grease and mold: Cleaning the boat deck before polishing and waxing will remove all the dirt and grease
  • It prepares the deck for the ultimate shine: Waxing an already clean boat deck means the boat paint will shine and gloss easier
  • It prevents boat deck damage: Cleaning the boat deck first before waxing it will remove harmful corrosive dirt materials

It's important to ensure that the boat deck is completely dry before applying the marine wax.

Cleaning the boat deck before waxing it will take approximately 20 minutes at most to complete.

However, this cleaning duration may vary based on the condition and the size of the non-skid boat deck.

Clean the boat deck with fresh water and boat deck cleaner. This will remove dirt and prepare the deck for waxing and polishing.

2. Apply Boat Wax To The Boat Deck And Buff It In

The second step of waxing a non-skid boat deck is to apply boat wax to the deck in sections.

The items needed to apply boat wax and buff it in are a non-skid boat wax, a polisher machine and a cloth and towel.

To apply boat wax to the boat deck:

  1. Ensure the deck is completely clean and dry
  2. Pick a section of the boat deck
  3. Pour the boat wax onto the deck in the chosen section
  4. Use a buff/polisher machine or buff pad to rub the polish into the boat deck evenly
  5. Buff the wax in a circular motion with the polisher machine

The benefits of applying wax to the boat deck with a polisher machine include:

  • It ensures waxing is tidy: Applying the polish and buffing in sections will ensure it's much tidier than simply pouring the polish all over the deck before buffing
  • It ensures the polish is evenly spread across the deck: Using a polisher machine or pad will help make sure that the polish is spread evenly without any patches or stains
  • It protects the paint: A polisher machine or pad will help protect the boat paint by ensuring the polish or wax is ground into the boat deck. Most marine waxes have a UV protection formula that can help prevent sun damage or paint fading
  • It prevents polish stains: Using a polisher machine or pad will ensure there are no streaks or polish stains
  • It helps to add adds a gloss finish: A polisher machine will help enhance the shine of the deck and give a high-gloss finish

Use a boat polish with a UV protective formula included. This will add an extra coating to protect against weathering and sun damage.

Applying the wax and buffing it in using a polisher machine takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.

However, this waxing duration may vary based on the condition and the size of the non-skid boat deck.

Apply a boat polish to the deck & buff in the wax using a buffing machine or buffing pad. Rub in the polish in a circular motion.

3. Wipe Excess Wax Off Boat Deck With Cloth

The third step of waxing a non-skid boat deck is to wipe off the excess boat wax using a cloth or towel.

The items need to wipe away excess wax is a towel or a microfiber cloth.

To wipe away excess wax on the boat deck:

  1. Get a towel or microfiber cloth
  2. Wipe away the areas with excess wax
  3. Rub lightly when wiping away the excess wax

The benefit of wiping away the excess boat wax from the non-skid boat deck include:

  • It prevents stains: Too much polish in one area will cause visible stains on the boat deck
  • It prevents discoloration: Having excess polish in one section of the boat would mean color fading spots on the deck as one section is more protected than another
  • It enhances aesthetics: This final step of removing the excess polish will enhance the overall look and aesthetics of the boat deck

Wiping away the excess wax on the non-skid boat deck should take approximately 10 minutes to complete at most.

Wipe away any excess polish or wax with a cloth. This will prevent staining of the boat deck paint.

Products To Use When Waxing Boat Deck

The products needed for waxing a non-skid boat deck are:

  • Boat Wax: Use a boat deck wax when waxing a boat. Typically, a non-skid boat wax will ensure the wax is not slippery
  • Buffer Machine: A great boat buffer will help buff the wax into the deck and ensure the wax is evenly spread across the deck
  • Polisher Pad: This will help with any scuff marks left over
  • A Cloth Or Towel: Use this to remove any excess wax on the deck
Boat polish, a polisher machine and a towel are needed for polishing and waxing a boat deck.

Products To Avoid When Waxing A Non-Skid Boat Deck

The products to avoid when waxing a non-skid boat deck are:

  • Bleach: Do not use any bleach on a non-skid deck as it may hard the non-skid surface
  • Dirty or used towels: Do not use a dirty or used towel when waxing the boat as this could cause stains or new dirt to get trapped in the boat deck
  • Non-marine grade polishes or waxes: Do not use boat waxes or polishes that are not marine grade. Only use marine-grade waxes that are designed for non-skid surfaces

Frequently Asked Questions About Waxing A Non-Skid Boat Deck

Below are some frequently asked questions about waxing a non-skid boat deck.

How Often Should A Non-Skid Boat Deck Be Waxed?

A non-skid boat deck should be waxed once every 3 months. Most marine-grade polishes provide a protective coating for this duration.

How Much Does It Cost To Wax A Non-Skid Boat Deck?

For DIY boat deck waxing, it will cost approximately $50 to get the products needed to wax the non-skid boat deck.

Hiring a professional boat deck waxing service will cost approximately $200. However, this price will vary based on the size and condition of the boat deck.

What Are The Benefits Of Waxing A Non-Skid Boat Deck?

The 3 main benefits of waxing a non-skid boat deck are:

  • Protection: Waxing your boat's non-skid deck can provide an additional layer of protection against sun, saltwater, and other environmental elements that can cause damage to the surface over time. It can help prevent fading, cracking and other forms of wear and tear
  • Enhanced Appearance: Waxing can give your boat's non-skid deck a glossy finish that can enhance its appearance and make it look new again. It can also make cleaning easier by providing a smooth surface that dirt and grime can't stick to as easily
  • Increased Lifespan: Regular waxing of a non-skid deck can increase its lifespan by protecting it from the elements and reducing the effects of wear and tear over time. It can also help preserve the non-skid texture which can deteriorate over time if not properly maintained

What Are The Risks Of Waxing A Non-Skid Boat Deck?

The 4 main risks of waxing a non-skid boat deck are:

  • Reduced Traction: If too much wax is applied or if the wax is not properly removed, it can reduce the traction of the non-skid surface which can be dangerous, especially when the deck is wet
  • Slippery Surface: If the wax is not applied evenly, it can create a slippery surface that can be hazardous when walking or moving around the boat.
  • Difficult to Clean: Wax can be difficult to remove from non-skid surfaces especially if it has been applied too heavily or if it has been left on for too long. This can make cleaning the deck more difficult and time-consuming
  • Damage to the Non-Skid Surface: If the wax is applied too frequently or if it is not removed properly, it can build up and cause damage to the non-skid surface over time, reducing its effectiveness and making it less safe