After removing oxidation from your boat's gel coat, it's essential to implement a regular care routine after a detail to maintain its appearance and protect it from future oxidation. Here's how to care for your gel coat:
Wash the boat regularly: Wash your boat's gel coat surface with a mild boat soap and water solution after each use to remove salt, dirt, and other contaminants. Avoid harsh detergents like Dawn Soap and Simple Green, as you will strip the wax or protective coating from the gel coat. Use a marine boat soap that has wax in it. Use soap sparingly, as each time you wash the boat, and you must be mindful that you are breaking the wax down.
Apply wax or polish: After washing and drying the boat, apply a high-quality marine wax or polish to the gel coat surface. The wax acts an protective barrier against UV rays and environmental elements, helping to prevent oxidation and maintain the gel coat's shine. If you are pressed for time, you can also use a spray wax to make this process quick and efficient. The key is just getting wax into the pores of the gel coat.
Use UV protectants: Consider using UV protectant products specifically designed for gel coat surfaces. These products help to shield the gelcoat.
Keep the boat covered: Whenever possible, store the boat in a covered area or use a boat cover to protect it from direct sunlight and other weather elements that can accelerate oxidation.
6. Rinse with fresh water: After each outing in salt water, rinse the boat thoroughly with fresh water to remove any salt residue, which can contribute to oxidation. In addition, Salt-Away is a great product for removing salt minerals, and it doesn't strip wax.
7. Avoid abrasive cleaning methods: When cleaning the boat, use soft cloths or sponges to avoid scratching the gel coat. Avoid abrasive brushes or pads that can damage the surface.
8. Address scratches and dings promptly: If you notice any scratches, chips, or dings on the gelcoat surface, address them promptly. Repairing these imperfections will help prevent water intrusion and further oxidation.
9. Periodic buffing and polishing: Depending on your boat's usage and exposure to the elements, you may need to periodically buff and polish the gel coat to maintain its shine and remove minor imperfections.
10. Professional maintenance: Consider having a professional boat detailing or maintenance service to perform regular inspections and upkeep of your boat's gel coat.
By following these after-care tips, you can extend the life of your boat's gel coat, preserve its appearance, and minimize the risk of oxidation in the future. Regular maintenance and protective measures will help keep your boat looking its best and ensure many enjoyable boating experiences. Remember, "Prevention is always cheaper than intervention."