Restoring the Shine to Fiberglass Boat Gelcoat | BoatUS

Hi, I’m Mark Corke from BoatUS Magazine Today we’re going to walk through the steps that we need to get the boat nice and clean and shiny If your boat’s anything like mine, it’s been out in the sun all year, the gelcoat has kinda gotten a bit faded It’s really important to look after the gelcoat Nothing says “neglect” like horrible, faded, gritty gelcoat First of all, we’ve got a wash mitt It’s the best thing for washing the boat down because we want to clean it, because if we don’t clean it, we’ll just be rubbing the dirt into the gelcoat, and we’ll be doing more harm than good So I’ve got a wash mitt, I’ve got a bucket of clean water, I’ve got some boat soap You need to really use this Use something that’s environmentally friendly so if you’re doing this in the water, I’m in the shed right now, but if you do this in the water, we don’t want something that’s going to contaminate water Don’t use dish soap because it will leave streaks on your boat and you’ll never get those out I’ve also got some microfiber towels here, which I’m going to use for a variety of purposes One is to dry the boat down and make sure it’s all nice and clean, and the other is to polish off the wax when we get to the final stage You’ll also notice I’ve got some rubbing compound here This is very important This is going to bring back the shine and the gloss, and then once we’ve got the gloss back, we need to protect it So that’s why we put the wax on So the wax will protect it You’ll also notice that I’ve got some blue painters tape here Don’t use the white stuff The white stuff, particularly if you’re doing this outside, you put it on and a day later and you go to pull it off and it’s all sticky and you can’t get it all off Use the blue stuff Use the expensive stuff It’s well worth it It will save you a ton of time The reason we use the tape is that we want to tape off any polished areas, any varnished areas, so we don’t scuff it up with the pad And lastly, obviously you see this, we’ve got a slow speed polisher Don’t try and do this with a drill with a pad in the drill It just runs too fast We want something that’s going to go slow to about 700 to 800 revolutions per minute This is what this does You can buy one of these if you’ve got a big boat, and you can use it year after year Otherwise you can go and rent one And then we’ve got a couple of pads here We’ve got a white compounding pad and we’ve got a black polishing pad Actually if you could feel these, this one is rougher than this one This one cuts more aggressively than the black one, which is polishing Some people you’ll see use lambswool bonnets, which go over this There’s a lambswool that goes over that OK, so the first thing we’re going to do is to wash the boat So for that, I’ve got my bucket of water I’ve got my boat soap I’ll put some of that in the water first You don’t have to go crazy with this, but we’ll put some in there That should be enough Put the lid on that so I don’t spill it And I’ve got my wash mitt, so I’m going to use that I’m going to step up here … Now we need to get all that dirt off And you can see, I don’t know if you can see, but I can see it, there’s all streaks of dirt coming off the boat now I’ve washed the boat down with boat soap, I’ve rinse watered Now I’m using a clean microfiber cloth just to get the boat completely dry and already you can see it’s actually looks better now having the dirt off it Now I’ve washed, rinsed and dried the boat, I’m ready to protect the brightwork As you can see we’ve got nice varnish here I don’t want to scuff that with a pad because I’d have to redo the varnish So what I’m going to do now is use my painters tape to protect that Then when we finish we can peel that right off, the varnish will still look as good as it does now, and I won’t have damaged it Now we’re ready to get started with the actual polishing I’ve got my machine, I’ve got a compounding pad on there, and I’ve got my 3M Finesse It There are other brands out there, but this is the one that I like, but you can try others And I’m just going to put a cross on the pad first of all Not too much I’ve actually gone a bit overboard there You put a little bit on there Just cross it like that Before I actually start the machine, I like to rub it around a little bit like that so it doesn’t spray everywhere once I start [MACHINE SOUND] So I’ve done this panel I haven’t done this one, and you may be able to see on the camera, but I can tell you that this feels so much better already

It’s nice and smooth and it’s starting to shine now And this one is still dull You can definitely feel a difference So I’m going to go ahead and I’m going to finish the other two panels on the flybridge, then we’re going to go onto the waxing stage So I finished the light compounding now and I can definitely feel the difference, and I think you can probably see the difference You can see it’s shining I certainly can from here The last thing that we need to do to protect this now is to wax it And I’ve got my wax here This is Collinite Wax There are others, but this is the one that I prefer We’ve got an applicator pad, and I’m going to spread this on with the applicator pad and then I’m going to use my polishing bonnet on the slowest speed polisher just to finish it off So let’s get started [MACHINE SOUND] So there we are It looks fantastic, feels great, reflects the light, it’s nice and shiny, and it feels really slick The water will just bead up and run right off that now So you can see how easy it is It’s not particularly difficult Do this once a year, and your boat will stay in tip-top condition Thanks for watching, and for more information you can go to BoatUS.com/Magazine