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Guides

Sportsboat & RIB Cleaning

Sportsboat & RIB Cleaning

If you’ve got a boat sat on your driveway, then now’s a great opportunity to give it some love. Maybe the gelcoat is a bit faded? Or it just needs a really good clean after a winter of neglect? Here’s our guide to making your Sportsboat or RIB look like new again…

 
 

Faded Fibreglass

 

If your pride and joy is starting to look it’s age, why not think about giving it some attention with our excellent range of cutting compounds, polishes and Buffing machines? If your gelcoat has started to look either a bit faded, chalky or milky in colour, then it may be time to start thinking about using a cutting compound to expose a nice clean layer of gelcoat. This should restore both the colour and gloss to the boat and make it look like new again. 

 

You can think of cutting compound as liquid sandpaper, it is available in different strengths in the same way as you can buy coarse or fine sandpaper. The ‘courser’ or ‘heavier’ the cutting compound you buy, the more material it will remove, but while a really heavy cutting compound will bring back the colour quickly, it will not leave a perfect finish and as you would with sandpaper, you will need to finish the job with a ‘fine’ or light cutting compound. Products like our professional 3M cutting compound are therefore available in light, medium and heavy grades. The best way is to start with a medium or heavy grade, then finish with the light. This will leave a perfect finish. 

 

This is a job that is best done with a polishing machine, and we sell a great Silverline unit that won’t break the bank. Take your time, doing the boat in manageable sections (many of us have plenty of time on our hands at the moment!). Work the polish in with the machine and don’t go too made, if you feel the fibreglass heating up either slow the machine down or move it around more - we aren’t looking to take lots of material off, only a very fine layer.

If you prefer to do this job by hand that’s fine, but you will definitely want to start with a heavy compound and finish with a light, and be prepared to put in lots of elbow grease!

- Force 4 Trade Secret

 
 

Faded Tubes

 

If your RIB tubes are looking a little faded, it’s well worth using one of our tube cleaning products such as Ribshine or August race RIB cleaner. The products are surprisingly easy to use and require very little work for maximum reward. Simply apply to the tubes, leave for a short time then hose off. Many a customer has come back to us after using these products to tell us how amazed they were with the results achieved.

Dirty Bottoms!

 

If the boat was sat in the water for a season last year, it’s worth using an oxalic acid based cleaner to return any stained gelcoat to it’s original colour. We sell a variety of gel based products, simply apply, leave for 10 minutes and hose off. This gives great results, particularly on brown staining around the waterline of white boats.

Interior Seats, Upholstery & Carpets.

 

If your seats are looking a little tired after last season, then we sell a range of products to make them look like new again. For vinyl or leatherette seats, our vinyl cleaner and polish works well, it really gets into the fabric and removes ingrained dirt. It will bring a bit of colour back too. We then recommend protecting the upholstery with Vinyl Guard, this leaves a teflon coating on the fabric, meaning that mess and spills can simply be wiped off. 

Protecting for the Season Ahead

 

Once we’ve done all this work, it’s worth applying a few products to protect the newly cleaned surfaces. For your gelcoat we recommend a good quality wax - think of this as suncream for boats! Your fibreglass is damaged by the UV in the sun, this causes fading and a dull finish. A wax adds a nice shine, but will also protect your boat from the sun. We recommend applying wax at the start and again halfway through the season, depending on use. Be careful what cleaner you use, most boat soaps and shampoos are formulated not to remove wax. If you have just cleaned your RIB tubes, again, protection from the sun is essential. Promarine Pro-Tection works well for this, as does August Race Liquid RIB UV Conditioner. 

 
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