Most boat owners desire to maintain that fresh-from-the-showroom look on their boat, even if the vessel is several years old. Detailing a boat on a regular basis is a way to ensure it is not compromised by the elements and continues to look pristine.
Detailing a boat is similar to detailing a car. It generally begins with giving the boat a good washing. It's important to choose a cleanser that is designed for the boat. Wood boats may need a different soap than fiberglass boats. There also are boat soaps that are organic and will not pollute the waterways where the boat is docked. Surface grime should be washed off and any scaling on the hull from contact with salt water and marine life. Use soft cloths on the delicate areas. Brushes can be used on troublesome spots that need a little more elbow grease.
Immediately dry the boat afterward with a chamois. This will prevent the surface from streaking and ensure a dry surface on which to apply wax or buffing compounds.
Unless it is a small boat, wax or buffers should be applied with a commercial buffer. This will prevent arm and hand fatigue and make faster work of the job. Wax should be applied in circular movements, allowed to dry and then wiped off with a cheesecloth or another chamois. It's best to do small areas of the boat to ensure the proper wax curing time has taken place and it can be wiped clean in a timely fashion. One must judge the air temperature and the sun to determine just how long the wax should remain on.
Next use a cloth to wipe down all upholstery. If desired, use an upholstery cleaner on leather to give it a nice shine. There are also metal cleaners that can polish chrome and other detailing on the boat.
Use a dusting cloth to go over the instrument panel and be sure to wipe down any glass windows so they are streak-free.
Afterward, step back and enjoy all of the hard work. Proper maintenance and cleaning ensures that the vessel will continue to look good and perform for many years to come.