How To Wax A Boat

Owning a boat is a truly invigorating experience. You are exposed to many new water-based recreational activities and can meet new people with similar boating interests. All these positive aspects while giving yourself a great hobby that you and your family can enjoy over the weekends.

However, there will be several instances during your time as a boat owner that you will have to invest a little bit of time and money into the maintenance of your boat. While intricate work is best left to professionals, you will need to learn a few things to ensure your boat is in its best condition, including learning how to wax it. Are you unfamiliar with the process? No problem. This article will guide you.

Waxing/Buffing A Boat

Like cars, waxing a boat plays a crucial role in maintaining the beautiful exterior finish of your boat and extends its durability. Certain types of wax are specially formulated to improve your boat's durability against saltwater and exposure to the sun, thus preventing your boat from deteriorating over time. Wax also makes regular cleaning more manageable as it prevents dirt from sticking to the boat’s body. However, there is a process to waxing your boat:

  • Choosing the right equipment
  • Washing your boat
  • Buffing the surface
  • Applying the wax
  • Buffing the wax

Step One: Choosing The Right Equipment

This is one of the most important factors to consider. It is a given that using inadequate equipment will leave you with bad results. Some buffing equipment is industrial-graded, and not knowing how to use it can cause permanent damage to your boat and yourself.

Buffing out a boat by hand is an arduous task that can take hours and leave you with a sore arm for weeks on end. If you wish to start buffing your boat at home, consider using a boat polisher that can be attached to a power drill. It’s an excellent piece of beginner equipment that will come with different pads for various types of compound work. Also, you might want to consider investing in a wax applicator set, which will have all the equipment you need to get you started.

Step Two: Wash Your Boat

Before you can begin waxing, you would want to give your boat a proper wash. Your boat will accumulate dust and muck over time, so make sure to get rid of it. Tiny particles of dirt can cause scratches on your boat if you wax over it. Make sure the exterior and interior have been washed and properly dried off before you begin.

Step Three: Buff The Surface

Once you have completed the previous step, it is time to start prepping your boat for its wax coating. Use a polishing compound to buff out tiny scratches and marks from the surface of your boat. The compound is a rubbing agent that will act like sandpaper to remove any minor imperfections. Carefully read the instructions on how to apply the compound. Some compounds are more abrasive than others and will produce different results. Ensure you apply the polish gently, doing one section at a time and moving in a circular motion.

Step Four: Apply The Wax

You are now ready to start waxing your boat. As mentioned previously, ensure you get the appropriate type of wax, as some are more suited for marine exposure and so on. Read the instructions diligently and begin by following the guidelines. Much like the previous step, you want to work your way around the boat by completing one section at a time. Once you have successfully waxed the entire boat, give it a few minutes to dry. You will know when the wax is dry once you see a hazy layer over the exterior, indicating that you are ready for the final step of the process.

Step Five: Buff The Wax

Finally, just like in step three, you will begin by buffing the existing wax off the exterior of your boat. As before, ensure to work meticulously, ticking off sections at a time until you have made your way around the boat. As you go around, you will start to notice the outcome of your labor. Your boat will gleam in the sun as it did when you drove it out of the dealership. And that's a wrap! Make sure to store all your equipment correctly to use it again when needed.

Tips To Remember

  • When waxing, do not turn on the polishing machine unless it is in contact with the boat’s surface. Doing so could leave you with product splattered on the walls.
  • The term “the more, the merrier” does not apply to this situation. Refrain from using too much product as it will not allow the polisher to make proper contact with the boat’s surface.
  • Don’t press too hard when polishing over decals and lettering. The abrasive compound could cause them to tear. Touch lightly and carefully over these parts to prevent damage.
  • Your polishing equipment is reusable. Wash the necessary equipment like polishing pads and store them carefully to be used again.


Owning a boat is so much more than driving it to and from your local lake. Consider it a hobby wherein you will need to invest your time and interest. In addition, your boat will need waxing at least every three months, which could be a costly annual investment if you rely on paid services to accomplish the work for you.