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How Often to Buff and Wax your Boat According to the Pros

All Gelcoat is Not Created Equal

If gelcoat is not protected with a proper Wax or a Buff and Wax at minimum every 3-4 months with wax or sealants, it will break down from oxidation and the sun! When your boat was made in the manufacture, they all used different gelcoat, types, and thickness. We’ve learned over the years that different products are effective on different boats.

In general, we are very fond of 3m detailing products, but other products also have a good effect if used properly. If your boat is oxidized/chalky, or dull, 3m Super Duty Compound is a great option and you can find it at just about any West Marine or online. If the gelcoat is too far gone, compounds may not do the job, and you will have to wet-sand the boat.

It is wise to use a high quality sealant like Permanon, OR a high quality wax like Collinite for the best protection from the elements. As always, the amount of time really depends on your boat. Every make and model of boat is different, and the gelcoats were applied differently in the factory! However, it is our recommendation to apply a high quality wax/sealant every 3-4 months, and wash down your boat with a soap that is compatible with your wax once per month!

VERY IMPORTANT – You only have a finite amount of gelcoat on your boat (about .3mm to .5mm). This means that even with a deck brush, you are scrubbing away your gelcoat. This is why you will see professional detailers completing monthly washdowns with soft cloths, microfiber cloths, or mops. Only use a brush if its necessary to get out a nasty stain. Check out this microfiber brush below-


Buffing using a High Torque Rotary Polisher

Buffing the gelcoat is a literal term that means rubbing away the old gelcoat. Old gelcoat that has not been protected with wax over the years Oxidizes because of the sun and turns dull/chalky. If your boat is oxidized, dull, or chalky then you didn’t apply wax frequently enough, and you have to buff it out to apply wax again!

If you apply high quality wax every 3-4 months and wash off the salt and bird droppings every month, then you should not need to buff often! For more information on what buffing products to use, check out our blog on Boat Detailing Secrets from the Pros that will save you Money.

Preserve the Value of your Boat by having it Buffed & Waxed

Ask any yacht broker or salesman, they will tell you that boats that have been detailed and maintained over the years sell twice as fast as boats that have not been waxed. Even if certain boats have more engine hours, the aesthetics sell.

Remember that boats need a good wash every month so that grime and dirt does not build up on the outer gelcoat! We recommend washing your boat down once a month with a soap that is compatible with your wax! Most wax products require using a PH Neutral Soap. Guess what, Original Dawn Dish Soap is a PH Neutral Soap, and its way cheaper than any Boat Soap.

UV rays will beat up your boat’s gelcoat unless you have the proper protection on the gelcoat. If your boat is oxidized, applying a wax will do nothing but seal imperfection. You will have to use a compound to buff out the oxidation before applying wax.

Think of wax and sealants like saving your work. If your boat is oxidized, you are only sealing imperfection. You have to buff away oxidation before applying a wax!

Give us a call to have your boat buffed, waxed, washed, polished, and protected to offer maximum protection from the weather! Salt water is especially harmful to boats, especially when they are not maintained and washed monthly.


What Else Needs Protection?

ALL of the following items need to be addressed monthly in order to maintain your boat.

  • Wash-downs – get the salt, pollen, bird droppings & bugs off your boat
  • Waxing – to protect your gelcoat
  • Metals should be polished and waxed with metal wax (Collinite makes a great metal polish & wax)
  • Engine Maintenance and Checks
  • System Checks
  • Interior Cleaning
  • Vinyl Seating should be protected every other month with a protectant (Marine 31 makes a good one)
  • Canvas & Isinglass needs to be protected
  • Teak Maintenance
  • Diving and Zinc Anodes need to be changed under your boat every 3-6 months
  • Bottom Paint needs to be redone every 2 years
  • Thru-hulls need to be replaced every 3-5 years
  • Dripless shaft Seal & Stuffing box should be serviced or replaced every 3-5 years

Other aspects of your boat should also be protected like your hull! You should have a diver clean the bottom of your boat at minimum once a month.


If you have any questions feel free to give us a call for some advice.

Our Yacht Management Team will customize services to keep your boat ship shape.

Mobile Boat Detailing Services in Fort Lauderdale, South Florida, West Palm Beach, Charleston, South Carolina, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, Near Me

That’s right, we’ve expanded to new locations and we have detailers all over the Southeast. We are ready to hit the docks for any of your boat detailing needs. Thanks for visiting!