As the proud owner of two pontoons, a Manitou and a Premier, you might say I've had a little experience in the art of do-it-yourself polishing when it comes to pontoons. Below is a step-by-step tutorial in applying Sharkhide Metal Protectant to the aluminum portion of your pontoons to get them to really shine.
First, gather your tools. You'll need the following:
Two quarts of Sharkhide Protectant
Two quarts of Sharkhide Cleaner
One can of polish
8-inch diameter, 3000 to 8000 RPM sander/polisher with
five buffing pads
One gallon of lacquer thinner
About two dozen old cotton rags or one roll of paper towels
600 and 1000 grit wet/dry sandpaper to sand out scratches
A brass chisel and a small dead blow hammer to knock
off welding slag
2-inch wide masking tape
Plastic to cover the trailer
(All of these supplies are more than enough to do two boats.)
Start by removing any prior Protectant by washing the pontoons off with lacquer thinner poured onto a rag. If any Protectant is on the boat, you will see it dissolve. You need to make sure you get it all off, or the cleaner won't attach to the aluminum, which is what you want it to do.
Next, when drying the pontoon off, feel for any slag which was splattered on the pontoon during the welding process. Remove the excess with a soft tap on a chisel or possibly just use your hand. Wet sand the rest off and also any scratches you want to remove.
Dry it again, then tape off all areas you are not going to treat and cover the trailer with plastic to protect it from the acid and polishing compound.
Dilute the Sharkhide Cleaner to the strength needed. I diluted mine three parts water to one part cleaner. Combine in a garden sprayer or spray bottle.
Spray on the cleaner evenly and let it foam. After about three minutes, rinse off with water. This will leave behind a nice white finish that will enable the polishing compound do its job easier.
Working in about a three-foot section, start at the top of the pontoon and work your way down in an "S" pattern to the masking tape line at the trailer bunk. Add more compound to the pontoon as it seems to wear off. You want it to absorb into the aluminum in order for it to work.
Clean the pontoon as you finish up the section with lacquer thinner. Go to the next section and repeat all the steps until you are done with that pontoon.
After polishing, wash the pontoon off with lacquer thinner to remove the entire compound. You must remove it all. Use white rags or paper towels and clean until you get no black residue on the rags. Otherwise the Sharkhide will not stick to the aluminum.
After you're done, it's time to put on the Protectant and it does not take much. Using a clean rag, fold it to the size of your palm. Pour a little Protectant to the front of the rag and wipe it on in six-foot long sections. Work right to left, move down and then go left to right in an "S" like motion. Reapply and repeat. After the first coat cures, in about 24 to 36 hours, you need to apply the second coat. Don't try to apply to missed spots when it is still wet because spots will be easier to see when it is completely dry. After the second coat is on, you can either stop there or apply a third.
I did two coats on the Manitou and three on my Premier and I still have one quart of Protectant and Cleaner left, and about a quarter can of the polish left. Clint Bland with Sharkhide set me up with what I needed when I bought my Manitou in 2007. He can be contacted at 618-624-4091 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. If anyone has any questions or comments, you can contact me at email@example.com or visit www.sharkhide.com.