Always rinse your boat with clean water after a row, then open the inspection port and pull the drain plug. If you see water inside the boat, turn the boat upside down and lift the bow to drain out any water that may have gotten in during your row. Sometimes it helps to tilt the boat on edge to provide a clear path for water to flow along the gunnel inside the boat. Even in the cleanest bodies of water it’s a good idea to wipe the boat with a sponge or rag while you are rinsing it to loosen any algae, slime or oil that may have accumulated on the surface of the hull during your row.
General clean up can be done with hot soapy water. You can use gentle dish soap. Do not use Scotchbrite or anything similar for general clean up – a soft rag is best.
If washing with soap and water is not successful and a more aggressive method is needed, try the following (these are listed in the order of the least aggressive/abrasive to the most, it is best to start with the least):
-Some marks will come off with denatured alcohol on a soft towel.
-If something stronger is needed then you can try acetone or lacquer thinner on a soft towel or paper towel.
-Finesse-it (a 3M product available through marine hardware stores) or similar polish – use on a damp sponge with a bit of elbow grease.
-If hand rubbing is not sufficient then use a power buffer – remember to not over work an area as you can “burn off” the gelcoat.
Stubborn stains can usually be removed with a product called FSR (fiberglass stain remover) by Davis Industries – available from most marine hardware stores such as West Marine. Other proprietary hull cleaners are also available. The common ingredient in these cleaners is Oxalic acid. Use these products sparingly as the acid opens the pores of the gelcoat making it a better sponge to soak up more stains. If you find it necessary to use these cleaners, apply one or two coats of a high quality wax or polish to seal the pores of the gelcoat after cleaning.
Waxing or polishing your shell: It’s a good idea to keep your shell in top shape, to prevent staining from brackish waters and protect from sun damage to wax or polish your shell once a year. We prefer that you use a finishing polish on the deck, hull and cockpit. We use Finesse-It II by 3M (but you could use any product that you would use on a fiberglass car or bath tub – be sure and check the label to confirm it can be used on fiberglass). Also, VERY IMPORTANT – be sure to leave a small area between the seat tracks un-waxed so that you won’t slip while getting in and out of your shell.