One of the most annoying enemies of boat lovers everywhere is none other than fouling. This is when tiny marine plants and animals attach themselves to any boat parts that sit underwater for a long time, such as the hull. For this reason—while it’s not an exact science—the answer to “how often do you have to wash the hull of a boat?” is usually anywhere between four and 12 weeks for hull cleaning.
We know: the time frame between boat cleanings can be anywhere from small to huge! That’s because several factors affect how dirty your boat gets. You also have to consider that, when you do decide to clean it, you don’t want to wait until you have to use industrial-strength chemicals or soaps to get all the grime off. Not only is it unnecessarily tiring and time-consuming, but a lot of marinas no longer allow the use of strong cleaning products to protect the region’s water ecosystem.
Factors That Affect Hull Cleaning
For the most part, how often you wash a boat depends on whether your boat has a slip, operates in salt water, and runs often.
Every time you boat around in salt water: wash your boat as soon as you return to the dock. It has to be with a cleaning agent too! This is because simply hosing it off won’t cut through the sticky salt left behind. Otherwise, the salt builds up and leaves water spots in your windows that never come out! If you can’t give it a full cleaning after a salty ride, that’s okay. However, you should take a little time to wash and dry the windows so they stand the test of time.
If your boat has a slipcover, you can wash it less often. That’s because, rather than rain droplets, you’ll only be taking care of any dust and debris that got in. That being said, you should still clean off your boat immediately following any rides, so you’re leaving it in good shape when you cover it up. You won’t want it to permanently stain if the gel coating or wax layer has thinned out. As long as you’re washing at least every eight weeks, you shouldn’t need much more than a standard cleaning and waxing.
If your boat doesn't have a covered slip, you should wash it as often as every three or four weeks—maybe even sooner if your wax layer is wearing off, so water streaks, bird droppings, and other stains don’t leave behind an unsightly mark.
The frequency, duration, and speed you use when boating can make a huge difference in how dirty your boat gets. Although, it may not be for the reason you assume right off the bat! Boats that aren’t used very often are going to quickly get covered in fouling. This is also the case for boats that are only taken out for short, slow rides. By boating more frequently, longer, and quicker, you’ll slow down the growth of fouling as you have fun!
The trade-off is you’ll need to do more basic washes after each of these rides. However, since they’ll be menial, it shouldn’t be anything a boat lover like yourself can’t handle!
Your Secret Weapon For Washing Boats
After gently scrubbing down the hull and windows of your boat with a convenient wash mitt, you’re going to need a drying towel that effectively absorbs every last drop of water off, so no stains are left behind. When it comes to your boat, opt for nothing less than The Absorber®. This towel is made out of a PVA material that allows it to super dry any surface. This way, you can get the cleaning job done better and faster. Best of all, it’s chemical-resistant and machine-washable, so you can use it over and over again for years to come.
Check out our full collection for even more cleaning tools to help keep your boat in tip-top shape. Trust us—life’s better on a clean boat!