How to Keep Your Vessel CleanPosted on: November 21, 2019
Here at Fort Lauderdale Sportfishing, we take great pride in keeping all of our vessels spotless. Before our clients step foot aboard any of the vessels in our fleet, the first thing they all notice is the condition of the vessel that they intend to spend the next 4 to 8 hours fishing with our team.
As a boat owner, if you don’t “stay ahead” of the elements that are constantly assaulting your vessel, you run the risk of inviting people aboard an less-than-attractive boat. Here are some tips that you may find useful.
Wash Behind Your Ears
When you were a young child trying to bathe yourself in the bathtub, you might remember your parents telling you to “wash behind your ears.” The same holds true when cleaning your vessel: Use plenty of soap and make sure that you reach everywhere and everything – at least everything that can stand a little soap and water. And use PLENTY of soap suds.
When operating your vessel in a saltwater environment, your vessel is under constant assault from corrosive salt air and the sun’s heat and light. The best way to combat the elements is to rinse off loose dirt, etc. and then liberally apply soap suds from marine cleaning products such as Orpine or Starbrite, among others.
Yes, we recommend using plenty of soap suds but we also recommend quickly rinsing down with fresh water. You don’t want to leave soaps and detergents standing on the hull or decks for too long because you don’t want the soap to weaken your coat of wax. If the soap is allowed to dry, you run the risk of also attacking your gelcoat or other finishes.
Spot Clean Stains ASAP
While we’re on the subject of washing down with soap, be sure to bring soap suds with you when you leave the dock. When you’re on the water, especially when fishing, things may be spilled on the boat that can stain if not washed immediately. These things can include blood (either from a fish or even from a fisherman), food, drink and even the occasional “bombing attack” from birds. When you see something like this on the hull or deck, wash it away ASAP. If left to dry in the sun all day, you will be hard-pressed to remove the stain when you return to the dock.
Dry Her Off
OK. You’ve been on the water all day and you’ve just finished washing and rinsing off your vessel. Time to go home. Right? Wrong! You need to dry off as much of the vessel as you can reach with towels or chamois. Why? Because you will be certain to remove any salt, dirt, soap and water from the vessel, which can stain if left to dry on its own.
This is particularly important when caring for aluminum fixtures such as railings, rod holders, cleats, etc. This also applies to anything that is wooden, teak, etc. If you don’t dry off aluminum or powder-coated fixtures and rigging, you will soon see pitting that will ultimately force you to replace the fixtures and rigging, not to mention that it will look like your boat is falling apart.
Wax On, Wax Off
Just like you need a coat of wax to protect you car, truck or van from the elements – and to look pretty – you need to periodically compound and wax your vessel. This is easier said than done, especially in our case where our vessels need to out fishing instead of in the boatyard getting waxed.
However, we realize that a nice, new coat of wax will go a long way toward protection our vessels’ gelcoat and keeping our fleet looking as pretty as ever. Don’t underestimate the value of “curb appeal” when you have walk-up traffic looking to go fishing. Clients will pick the shiny boat over the dirty boat EVERY TIME.
Be sure to use marine-grade waxing products. They are specially-designed to adhere to your boats surfaces and will give you the best protection against the elements.
A sparkling clean boat also sends the message that you are on top of everything and take great care of your vessel. Shiny, clean boats rarely experience mechanical troubles. Why? Because if you’re paying such attention to detail to keep your boat spotless, you’re likely also maintaining the mechanical and electrical systems with the same level of attention.
Protect Your Investment
The age-old cliche shared among boat owners is that the two happiest days in the life of a boat owner are the day you buy the boat…and the day that you sell it. If you neglect to keep your vessel clean and stay ahead of the elements, you will be faced with trying to sell a vessel that is, frankly, not very attractive. Boats are expensive and nobody is going to pay top dollar for a boat that does not appear to be well-maintained. It is also very difficult to “play catch-up” after a year or two of neglect. Do yourself a favor and proactively clean your vessel to stay ahead of the environment.
A Few More Tips
Here are a few additional tips to keep your vessel clean:
- Ask anyone coming aboard to avoid wearing dark-soled shoes. Also keep some towels nearby for visitors to wipe their feet as they come aboard
- For bigger vessels, keep a “raw water” washdown hose ready to go in case a stain is seen while on the water. This will keep you from depleting your fresh water tank while giving you the ability to rmove the staining material ASAP
- If your vessel has a cabin, salon or “V-berth, try to keep people out of those areas while the vessel is running, especially if the waters are choppy or rough. Why? Food and drinks tend to spill when underway. Also, the confined spaces can cause passengers to get seasick and you have a much better chance of cleaning the stomach contents of your passenger out on deck than inside a cabin or salon. Trust us!
- Have plenty of rags, blankets and gloves available when performing any maintenance in the vessel. Placing rags and blankets on the deck will catch tools, oil or parts in the event that you drop or spill them. And you WILL drop or spill something.
Now that you know the secrets to keeping your vessel nice and shiny, call now to book your fishing trip aboard one or our sparkling fishing vessels! Don’t worry. We’ll clean the boat when we return to the dock.