As a Mobile Boat Detailing company in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, we are often asked by customers "How Often Should I Detail My Boat?" - and this is an excellent question! Due to the short boating seasons of the Northeastern United States, we typically recommend our customers have their boat detailed at least 2 times per year. Now, for boats located in states farther South, in areas that have longer seasons and are typically in and out of salt water, recommendations from boat detailing companies in those areas may be 3 to 4 times per year or more. So, how is this decided? Why is it different depending on location? What else is there to consider?
Let's ask a few questions to help you decide how often YOU should have your boat detailed for protection - rather than the fact it makes your boat look excellent!
#1: When was the last time your boat was detailed or received a layer of wax, protectant, or coating?
Most Fiberglass and Gel-Coat Wax and Sealants have a protective lifespan on your boat of approximately 3 to 4 months* (if taken care of properly!). After this period has passed, this protection starts to break down, rendering your boat vulnerable to damage from UV Rays. Contrary to the Exterior of your boat, the Interior of your boat (Leather, Vinyl, Flooring) needs to be protected routinely - ideally each time your boat is used, and especially after each time it is washed. The protectants used on Leather and Vinyl can easily be stripped during use, and it is as simple as keeping a bottle of 303 Protectant or a similar product on board to keep these surfaces protected.
#2: What type of wax, protectant, or coating was used on your boat?
Whenever your boat is detailed, it is very important to ask what type of protectant, wax, or coating is being used. Most Waxes and Sealants have a protective lifespan on your boat of 3 to 4 months. There are many products on the market, such as Starke Replenish that can be used to "re-up" your coating by simply spraying on and rinsing off which can extend the lifespan of your coating temporarily. For boats that have been Ceramic Coated, the lifespan of the coatings (depending on the brand and type that is used) will last at least 1-2 seasons* (again, if taken care of properly), and in some instances longer or shorter.
#3: Where is your boat located and stored during the season?
For boat owners in the Northeastern United States, there tend to be 3 main locations for boats. The first, is being at the home of the boat owner, either on a dock, mooring, in a boathouse, etc. The second is stored in valet at a Marina, and the third is on a trailer, stored in a yard, driveway, etc. The most important aspect to consider when determining how often to detail your boat based on its location is the exposure to the sun. Boats that sit in direct sunlight for 12 hours a day, such as on a mooring, uncovered dock, or trailer, are more prone to Oxidize quicker. This is because the protectant or wax on these boats will break down faster, leaving the Gelcoat exposed and vulnerable. For these boats, more routine Maintenance Details are a great option to keep the boats fully protected at all times.