Feb 12, 2020

Dos and Don’ts of Pressure Washing Your Boat

docked yacht

Washing your boat is a regular part of most upkeep and maintenance schedules. It is important to flush out salt water from your boat’s exterior surfaces, remove debris, and scrub off accumulating marine growth. Fishing boats need to be washed down regularly because you don’t want your boat to perpetually smell like fish and covered in scales. Pressure washing your boat is a great option for especially dirty messes. Follow these dos and don’t on how to pressure wash a boat.

DO Remove Loose Equipment

Before you start pressure washing your boat, it is important to put away any loose equipment and items that may be pushed around or damaged by high-pressure water. Remove your boat’s seat cushions, canopies, and other removable equipment like walkie talkies or buckets.

DON’T Forget to Close Doors

Close any sliding doors, windows, hatches, and portholes before turning on your pressure cleaner. Make sure all entryways are properly closed and sealed off. The last thing you want is for your boat’s interiors to get wet.

DO Use Gentle Pressure

Don’t hold the nozzle of the pressure cleaner too close to your boat’s surface, 6 to 8 inches is a good distance. Avoid using a 0-degree nozzle; instead, opt for an angled nozzle with a wide tip. Nozzles that are labeled “safe for cars” are typically safe for boats. When it comes to how much PSI to pressure wash boats, get a cleaner with at least 2,000 PSI.

DON’T Use Ammonia-Type Cleaning Solutions

Use a biodegradable detergent that is approved in your pressure cleaner’s User’s Manual. Avoid cleaning solutions with ammonia bases as they can be too harsh and damaging to your boat and cleaner.

DO Use Scrub Brush Attachments

Attach a rotating scrub brush nozzle attachment to your pressure cleaner to remove heavy layers of mildew or accumulated algae. The pressure of the water is what spins the brush. Use a detergent to scrub off tough, stuck-on algae.


DON’T Pressure Wash Old Gelcoat

When pressure cleaning your boat’s hull, look for any air bubbles or minor chipping first. Pressure washing gelcoat, especially a gelcoat finish that’s older and worse for wear, can lead to even more chipping and more damage. When it comes to boat bottom cleaning, leave it to certified yacht maintenance technicians. It may be time to schedule a boat bottom painting session to apply a new coat of gel coat paint on your boat.

DO Rinse From Top to Bottom

Once you’ve scrubbed and pressure washed all the dirt and algae off your boat, it’s time to rinse all the dirty water and leftover soap suds. Rinse from top of your boat to the bottom using the widest nozzle tip. This method prevents streaking and ensures all the grime washes down and off your boat.

Dos & Donts of Pressure Washing infographic

Yacht Management South Florida, Inc. is a Fort Lauderdale yacht management and maintenance company. At our Fort Lauderdale boatyard and marina, we offer yacht restoration, refits, and regular maintenance packages that include washdowns, hull painting, repairs, and other premier onshore or dockside servicesContact us or call (954) 941-6447 today!

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