blue hull in the photo; it’s harder to see
how much you are applying to a white
3. I prefer to use a Makita or DeWalt
slow-speed polisher with a medium
foam pad for the compound. The compound won’t clog up as fast on foam
pads as it will on wool mops. However,
it’s worth noting that wool pads are a bit
more aggressive than foam pads. They
cut faster, so there’s a greater chance of
damaging the gelcoat.
Set the machine to about 2,000 rpm,
then place the pad in contact with the
surface before pulling the trigger. This
prevents the tool from skidding off and
you from potentially losing control. Use
firm pressure – just enough to keep the
full pad surface in contact with the boat.
Move the pad from side to side and then
up and down in slow deliberate strokes.
You should see much of the chalking and scratches
start to disappear.
Stop when the pad
is having no more
effect. You’ll notice
that the surface
is already much
4. After you have
entire boat, wipe
the surface with a
Then swap out the medium pad for
a fine one, and apply a coating of 3M
Finesse-It – essentially a very fine cutting compound – to one 3-foot section
at a time. Then buff this using the
polisher at 3,000 rpm, using the same
technique described in the previous step.
Keep the polisher moving until there is
no trace of polish or swirl marks. By the
time you’re done, you should be able to
see your reflection in the boat’s surface.
You’re not quite finished, however.
5. The final important step is to apply
a good coat of wax. I favor Collinite
925. A little goes a long way, and it
leaves a deep, lustrous finish that
will repel dirt and water spots for the
coming year. If you keep your boat in
the South, where it’s beaten by the
subtropical sun, you may need a second
Apply the wax
by hand using a
foam applicator pad or clean,
towel. Rub a small
amount of wax in
a circular motion
until dry, again
working in small
buff it with a clean
towel. Your arms
may be aching at
the end of the day,
but your hard work will pay handsomely
with a beautiful shine!
78 | BoatU.S. Magazine JUNE | JULY 2017
to watch a
video of Mark
on his own
Listen to a
this topic with
day or in the
sun dries the
A note about boat washing
BoatU.S. Foundation tests showed that the label “biodegradable” doesn’t mean much when it comes to boat soaps. Technically it means that the ingredients break down into harmless components when they go through typical wastewater
treatment, but we know that likely won’t happen with boat soaps. So while the label
sounds nice, it doesn’t mean much. Also, the results of the Foundation’s tests varied
greatly: One soap labeled “biodegradable” can be hundreds of times less degradable
than another with the exact same label.
When using boat soaps, those products that say “dilute with water in a bucket” are
much less toxic than those products that are applied as a paste or a spray. When you
have a troublesome spot, use one of the spray or paste cleaners, but wipe up with a
rag instead of rinsing into the water. Our general advice is to wash your boat on the
hard, away from the water’s edge. If you must clean your boat in the water, we recommend frequent freshwater rinsing to minimize the buildup of dirt. — M.C.