Deadly Sins of Boat Maintenance

November 2013

A boat is like a home away from home, but that doesn't mean it should be cleaned the same way. Household cleaning products can be damaging to a boat's surfaces and harmful to the environment. Here's a list of the most common mistakes owners make with boat care.


Number One-Dish Soap

Not as gentle as it seems, it can strip a boat's wax or degrade the waterproofing on marine fabrics. Also, some of the chemicals are harmful to the environment if dumped in the water.

Number Two-Windex

Pontoon windshields are usually made of plastic, not glass. Windex and other glass cleaners contain ammonia, which is great for glass but can cause plastic to yellow and crack.


Number Three-Paper Towels

Not very soft, they will leave scratches on a boat's fragile plastic surfaces and Isinglass windows. Using paper towels is wasteful and costly over time compared to a microfiber towel. It can be washed and reused and is gentle enough for a boat's surface.

Number Four-Pledge

Great on wood, but not on clear vinyl like Isinglass. It contains solvents that remove the plasticizers from plastics. This causes the material to become brittle and yellow.

Number Five-Soft Scrub/Bleach

A harsh cleanser may seem like a great idea for tough scuffs and stains, but it's too abrasive on a boat. Fiberglass and gelcoat surfaces easily lose their protective coatings to harsh cleaners like Soft Scrub. Bleach-based products have a tendency to discolor fabrics and break down their integrity.

Number Six-Limited Storage

With such limited space on a boat, it would be a shame to waste it all on cleaning products. If products are bought for every surface, stain or area of a boat it can become overwhelming and expensive. It's important to find multi-purpose tools and maintenance products, to not only reduce costs but free up more space on board.


Number Seven-Procrastination and Neglect

Environmental buildup can quickly damage your boat. Overlooking or neglecting the right maintenance items and schedule will not only reduce the value of your boat over time, but will also make maintaining your boat harder.

Keeping your pontoon or deck boat in good condition shouldn't feel like a chore. Proper boat care is actually quick and easy, when done right. It's important to use products specifically designed for a boat's unique surfaces. Without good maintenance, a vessel can easily depreciate and re-sell for thousands of dollars less. Providing maintenance tips and information, is an invaluable resource for any boater.

Barry Berhoff is president of Shurhold Industries, inventor of the One Handle Does It All System. Located in Palm City, Fla., Shurhold designs and manufactures a complete line of premium cleaning tools and accessories for the marine industry.

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