A lot of us can’t afford to go out and spend upwards of 40 or 50 thousand dollars to buy that fancy new bass rig every 2 or 3 years, no matter how much we’d like to. Instead we opt for the less pricey option of buying a decent, reliable used rig or maybe just hanging on to that old rig you’ve had for years just a little while longer, and maybe…
A lot of us can’t afford to go out and spend upwards of 40 or 50 thousand dollars to buy that fancy new bass rig every 2 or 3 years, no matter how much we’d like to. Instead we opt for the less pricey option of buying a decent, reliable used rig or maybe just hanging on to that old rig you’ve had for years just a little while longer, and maybe it’s starting to show its age. I want to explain how to give that older boat a facelift, get it looking like it just came off the show room floor, well maybe not quite that good, but you get the idea.
As most boat owners know, oxidation, which is the build up of minerals from the water becoming imbedded in the microscopic pores of the gel coat, can cause any boat to look faded and hazy, and no matter how hard you scrub or try to wax, it just never seems to come out. Anybody who has ever worked in an auto body shop is familiar with what is called wet sanding, you take very fine grit sandpaper with some water and sand your boat. Yes it is almost as simple as it sounds, but you will need to know a few things before you start.
Since you want the best results you can get, make sure to wash down your boat before starting, this will remove any crud or dirt that can work its way into the area you are sanding. While the process itself is simple you can actually cause damage to your gel coat if you’re not careful.
First start with the sand paper, you want a very fine grit, no coarser than a 1200 grit paper, if the oxidation is not too bad you can use 1400 or 1500 grit and get good results. Second thing to keep in mind is you should be prepared to sand by hand using an electric sander while easy and convenient can take off too much of the gel coat, so it is best to go by hand, working in small areas. Third thing to remember always keep the paper wet, a garden hose run out to the boat with a nozzle attached is ideal, this way you wet down the area you are working on and keep your paper wet.
Once you’ve made your away around the boat, go back around it and check to make sure you have removed the majority of the oxidation, you may need to go over some areas more than once, especially areas where an excessive build up has occurred.
When your boat is dried off it with have a white haze over it, yeah it doesn’t look really good right now, but the next steps will take care of that. You need to have 2 items for the next step, a scratch remover and a good marine wax. Following the directions on the scratch remover, work you way around the boat applying as directed to the areas you sanded. After you have applied and removed the scratch remover, your boat should start looking a lot better. Again, double check make sure you got all the areas you sanded. Once you have finished that, you want to apply at least one really good coat of a marine wax, again follow the directions for application and removal.
In order to achieve the maximum desired results, I suggest doing this project out of the direct sunlight, under a canopy, in a garage, someplace you can make a little bit of a mess, because you will. It is also best to set aside a whole day to do this right, don’t think you can start at 8 am and be fishing by noon. This is a small investment of time and money on your part to make your older boat look newer, so when its time to finally upgrade to that nice new boat, your boat will look good for either trade in or resale.