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  1. #1
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    Boat Detail Process - Help!

    Hey I'm a pretty new mobile detailer. I have not done a boat yet at all. A client of mine want me to do his boat. It's a typical size wakeboarding boat and will be on a trailer.

    Exterior - I assume it's just like a car - hand wash a dry.
    Oxidation - I don't think there is any as it's pretty new. I understand this needs to be removed before applying a sealant
    Wax Or Sealant - I'll use some marine specific stuff.

    --- How do you get under the boat when it's on the trailer? How do you clean the areas that are hidden by the rails of the trailer?

    What are the usual customer expecations as to what is performed during a top and bottom side detail?

    Any and all expertise you can provide will help me immensely because I don't want to take this job just blindly and then fail the customers expectations.

    If you have a step by step process you have used to detail a boat please share it with me.

    I have been reading this forum for some time but this is my first post. Thanks in advance for any help y'all can provide!

    -Erich

  2. #2
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    Re: Boat Detail Process - Help!

    and btw I'm typing this at my desk job so I had to hurry though it - please excuse grammatical errors because I noticed quite a few when I read my own post the first time lol

  3. #3
    Member uniquedetailing's Avatar
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    Re: Boat Detail Process - Help!

    Hey i've gotten quite into the boat detailing seeing as live close by water, but i've only had experiences with pontoons.
    Wash & Dry
    Compounding/Buffer have to be very careful on the gel coat not forgiving so make sure have right product.
    Regarding the underside, with my experience as long as what they can see is clean they dont even look underneath the boat.
    For cleaning seats if they have mold/mildrew mix baking soda, white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, mix up thicker than water, not quite toothpaste thickness, rub over seats let sit for 5 mins then clean off works a treat.
    for the wax i buy it from lowes/home depot cant remember the name of top of head put its in the kitchen department used for fibreglass works amazing in pink tin, give it ago cheap too. well i dont know if any of this helped but good luck

  4. #4
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    Re: Boat Detail Process - Help!

    I've got a '91 Mastercraft ski boat. back in 2005 I wanted to get it detailed for my July 4th trip to our river house. It's was showing its age as far as oxidation on the gel coat. I polished it out using some stuff (I don't recall name) I got from a marine supply storethat was for fiberglass gelcoat. It worked fair and it took me two days to do it and it was not easy. Did it by hand and some cheap walmart buffer I had. The problem is that it never last to long. This time I'm going to use products from autogeek. Since then I've also purchased a Flex DA and a lot of different pads. I've learned a lot working on my cars since my last boat detaile job. I expect even better results this time.

    As far as the under side, you can only get what you can reach unless you want to lift it off the trailer and suspend it. But that would make me very nervous lying under it while it was up in the air.

    The marine suppy store had various products for cleaning the seats and I just chose what I thought would work. It did good but never could remove the dork stains. I might try that vinegar, soda and preroxcide potion, but I can imagine the foam up you'll get when you mix it togehter, Sounds like it might work for a good stink bomb or somthing.
    Since then my poor old boat has been to much neglected and I back to below square one with it now.

    I'll attach some pics that I took after the detail I did on it. It looked good from 20 ft.

    Pics dont really show any close up's. I repainted the trailer and re-teaked the rear platform.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Boat Detail Process - Help!-dcp_3853-jpg   Boat Detail Process - Help!-dcp_3854-jpg   Boat Detail Process - Help!-dcp_3855-jpg   Boat Detail Process - Help!-dcp_3928-jpg   Boat Detail Process - Help!-dcp_3929-jpg   Boat Detail Process - Help!-dcp_3907-jpg  

  5. #5
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Boat Detail Process - Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by erichg1000 View Post
    I have been reading this forum for some time but this is my first post. Thanks in advance for any help y'all can provide!

    -Erich
    Hi Erich,

    Always great to see a Lurker make the move to active member!

    I've been building a set of new tutorials to show people how to work with images on forums as it's not that hard to do and if you're in this craft for the long run, posting good before and after pictures can help build your reputation and bring you new customers. Check them out there,

    How to do different types of things on the AG Discussion Forum
    How-To Articles for interacting on our discussion forum, like how to upload a picture into your AG Photo Gallery.



    Quote Originally Posted by erichg1000 View Post

    Hey I'm a pretty new mobile detailer. I have not done a boat yet at all. A client of mine want me to do his boat. It's a typical size wakeboarding boat and will be on a trailer.
    Quote Originally Posted by erichg1000 View Post
    --- How do you get under the boat when it's on the trailer? How do you clean the areas that are hidden by the rails of the trailer?

    What are the usual customer expectations as to what is performed during a top and bottom side detail?
    Like already posted, if you can't get to it you can't polish it and the owner will understand this, so major on the majors, (the areas you can reach), and minor on the minors, (the areas you cannot reach).

    Once I removed the engine in my boat and all the running gear plus the seats and the Tach holder and then with the help of a 4-5 guys we lifted the boat off the trailer and flipped it upside down onto some Truck tires and from there I compounded polished and waxed the bottom of the hull. (Did a lot of other things too to both the hull and also rebuilt the trailer while the boat was off of it)

    Too much work for most people.


    Quote Originally Posted by erichg1000 View Post

    Exterior - I assume it's just like a car - hand wash a dry.
    Oxidation - I don't think there is any as it's pretty new. I understand this needs to be removed before applying a sealant
    Wax Or Sealant - I'll use some marine specific stuff.
    IF the gel-coat or paint is in good to excellent condition then maybe use a good cleaner/wax to clean an wax the surface in one step and the top it with a second finishing wax or paint sealant. The assumption is a Marine grade wax or sealant is formulated for the unique environment watercraft are exposed to so lean towards using Marine Line products, especially the waxes and sealants.

    Also, after washing the boat if the surface feels rough you can clay it just like you would automotive paints.

    Do you do all your work by hand? Or machine?


    Quote Originally Posted by erichg1000 View Post
    Any and all expertise you can provide will help me immensely because I don't want to take this job just blindly and then fail the customers expectations.

    If you have a step by step process you have used to detail a boat please share it with me.

    I have been reading this forum for some time but this is my first post. Thanks in advance for any help y'all can provide!

    -Erich
    Just be sure not to over promise. My personal opinion is that boat detailing is much harder than car detailing especially if you doing both the inside and outside and even moreso if the outside is in bad shape and the inside is in dirty, neglected shape.

    I've been restoring the antique gel-coat finish on the boat in the thread below and so far every product line I've used has worked really well.

    1967 Starline Deville - Extreme Makeover


    A couple of comments, when it comes to sever oxidation, the rotary buffer is your friend. If you make enough passes over a neglected surface with just about any product line sooner or later it's going to start looking better.

    The 3M Marine Line performed very well and it's specifically made for Marine Surfaces so if the products I used are any kind of indicator then maybe give their Marine line a good look.

    Marine Products including 3M Marine Products


    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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  6. #6
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    Re: Boat Detail Process - Help!

    I had a similar situation with our SeaDoo PWC, when I was getting ready to detail it. We have a 2 post lift in our pole barn, so there was a relatively simple solution. This allowed me to get access to the whole bottom side of the machine.


    This probably won't help you, but I figured I would throw this out there...

  7. #7
    Senior Member oldmodman's Avatar
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    Re: Boat Detail Process - Help!

    To get to the areas of the hull that are covered by the supports. Loosen the winch cable about a foot and push the boat back on the trailer. Do not unhook the boat from the winch cable, just in case it "gets away from you" I would suggest that the trailer be attached to a car or truck in case it tries to tilt while doing this. Then polish the previously covered spots.

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