The work on modern boats is much lighter than a few years ago. Modern materials have
greatly reduced the amount of time that must be spent to keep a boat's hull in good
condition. However there are still some things that should be done to get most life and
beauty out of your boat.
Rubbing and Waxing
Hulls should be thoroughly cleaned and waxed several times a year depending on the climate. A hot sunny climate such as in the Florida requires more attention than the northern areas of the country with less harsh sun. Frequent application of a good marine wax will help prevent gel coat fading and chalking. If the hull is already in bad condition, it should be rubbed out using an automotive polishing wheel and the proper compound. This takes some practice and if you are uncomfortable using such a high powered tool on your boat, might be better left to a professional. However, waxing is something anybody can do and frequent cleaning and waxing will forestall the day that rubbing is necessary .
All fiberglass boats should be painted with a barrier coat (epoxy) and bottom paint system if they are to be left in the water. Many people do not do this, but bottom blisters, and bottom fouling will be the inevitable result. All fiberglass products are slightly porous, hence the need to seal the bottom with a good epoxy system. Most boat builders will not even guarantee a hull that is left in the water without an epoxy barrier coat bottom paint system. The only boat that does not need bottom paint is the boat that stored out of the water. Boats on trailers or in rack storage get a chance to dry out so that blisters seldom form. The bottom line: If your boat is stored in the water, you need to see a professional about bottom painting. You will be rewarded by a boat that will be in much better condition at trade in time and will be worth more money.
Steel and Aluminum Boats
Steel and aluminum boats require special bottom paints to prevent galvanic corrosion of the hull, especially in salt water. In most cases painting of these vessels should be left to a professional. If you have a small boat and want to paint it yourself, make sure to seek the advice of a professional marine dealer. Using the wrong product can literally eat the bottom out of your metal boat, so make sure that you are using a complete SYSTEM by a reliable marine paint manufacturer. It usually requires something on the order of 6 or more coats of several different products to properly paint a steel or aluminum boat.
Since outdrives are aluminum, they must not be painted with any copper bearing paint or corrosion will be accelerated greatly. Use only the manufacturer's recommended paint.