It’s tempting to skip a few boat-cleaning steps after a long, satisfying day on the water, but those in the know will advise against it.
Sure, a shower, dinner and the couch are all calling, but you’ll enjoy them all more if you know that your boat is put away properly and ready for your next outing. The fact is, properly cleaning your boat – especially the interior – is good for the long-term value and usability of your vessel, and it makes your boating experience demonstrably better the next time you hit the water. Spills and stains are much easier to clean up when they are fresh, and getting rid of crumbs, fish scales and other organic matter right away will stop foul odors before they start and make your boat less attractive to insects and other critters during storage.
In this Mercury Quick Tip, we show you a few tricks for cleaning up your boat like the pros do it. All you need is a few basic household cleaning supplies and a wet/dry vacuum. The vacuum doesn’t have to be particularly large or expensive, but it does need to be designed to safely suck up moderate amounts of water.
Naturally, the process starts with a thorough hull and outboard engine cleaning. Another key step is cleaning the storage compartments by removing the contents, vacuuming them out and wiping them down with warm, soapy water.
To promote drying, be sure to leave your storage compartment hatches open and run a fan or two on the deck until the interior spaces and your carpet are completely dry. This helps prevent musty odors.
One area that tends to get neglected is the bilge. Even with the plug out, there will still be some water trapped in the bilge, making it a prime spot for mold, mildew and odors to begin. To get your bilge bone dry, open the aft access hatch/porthole cover and position a fan so that it blows directly into the hole. The fast-moving air will evaporate the residual water in no time, leaving you with a clean, dry bilge that doesn’t offend the senses.