You want the best boat wax like any other boat owner. But experience has taught me that many boat owners don't understand the real nature of gel coat and fiberglass when trying to wax their boats.
Very few boats exist in the world that can simply be
washed and waxed. Virtually any boat, despite how shiny it may appear, will have some degree of oxidation to it. This doesn't mean you have to go into panic mode, it just means I need to help you choose the right wax for your boat.
"Boats are not cars!"
To make things simple, I can break down boats into 3 categories. You can decide where your boat fits in.
Darren's Professional Tips: regardless of what type of boat you have and regardless of the color, due to the size of your boat I am a big fan of finding boat wax that is easier to use, not harder to use.
Often we become so obsessed with finding the best boat wax that we forget about the user experience which includes the application and removal of the boat wax you have chosen.
So my recommendation of the best boat wax is the winning balance between durability, and ease of use. I want a boat wax that is as easy as possible to use so that I am willing to wax my boat more often, not less often.
The best boat wax in the world will do you no good if you are overwhelmed by the thought of waxing your boat due the fact that the darned boat wax is so hard to apply and/or remove!!
If you have a boat that is literally brand new or you are certain there is no oxidation on the boat, then you can choose among the top rated boat waxes from below.
If your boat falls into one of the other categories, then you need to see my page on fiberglass boat restoration.
Darren's Note: Let me apply some logic to what can feel like a daunting task to any long term boat owner. Boats are not easy to take care simply due to the fact that they are big! Some bigger than others and regardless of the size of your boat, it's going to be a lot of work. For this reason I will often break a boat down into sections and simply accept that I will start with the most vulnerable areas first so I know those areas are taken care of if life gets in the way and I find I am unable to finish the remainder of the boat like I had expected.
You can clean small areas individually and then wax these areas individually rather than attempting to wash and wax your entire boat in a single day. A wash bucket, wash mitt, and a micro fiber cloth will allow you to simply wipe down an individual section one at a time and then tackle your boat section by section.
If you embrace this strategy you might find your boat gets wax far more often!
Most of you reading this will likely fall into this second or third category of boat ownership. This means your boat will have some form of oxidation on it and you will need to polish your boat first, before applying your choice in boat wax.
If you are unsure as to how much oxidation your boat has then I recommend you simply default to9 the least invasive plan of finding a quality boat compound/polish and polish your boat first, then apply your choice of wax.
The good news is that the boat compound and polish I recommend is so versatile that it can be used by hand if you have no professional boat buffer, or it can be used with a polisher or buffer of any kind if you need to be more aggressive moving forward.
Darren's Professional Tips: Working on boats is so different than working on car paint. Boats have no protective clear coat like car paint does. This represents both the good news and the bad news.
The Good News: Boats are made with gel coat (the top layer you will be compounding, polishing, or waxing). Gel coat is a very tough and durable material that makes it hard to do any actual damage to the material if you are a beginner and are worried about "damaging" your boat with some new product you have never used before.
It also means that if you have never used a power buffer before, boats are actually a great way to get your feet wet as the material is so much more forgiving than that of clear coat/car paint.
The Bad News: Since boats have no protective clear coat like car paint, the gel coat/fiberglass will immediately begin to oxidize once it leaves the assembly line or manufacturing facility. Even boats that are kept indoors will begin to oxidize just being exposed to air. It also means that in order to produce any actual and lasting results, you will have to be far more aggressive with your choice and use of boat compounds and polishes. For this very reason I recommend compounding or polishing your boat with a boat buffer and skip trying to polish your boat by hand.
Your Reality: Everyone's situation is unique. Likely you want your boat to look shinier than iit currently does and accept that it needs wax. But since most boats have some level of oxidation, most of you will need to polish your boat first, before making an attempt to wax your boat.
Since life makes it difficult to wax your boat under the best of circumstances, most guys don't want to take the time to shop for the best boat buffer, figure out the learning curve, only to then wax their boat.
For this reason many of you will simply want to polish the "bad" areas of your boat when forced to do so, and attempt to do this by hand.
I totally get it!
And for this reason the compound and polish above will be ideal as they both represent such versatility in their ability to use by hand or machine.
This means you can get either the compound or polish (or both) and polish-out the areas of your boat you have determined need some extra attention. Then you can apply the wax after you have polished the needed areas.
If you plan on trying to compound or polish your boat by hand before you apply your choice as the best boat wax, I recommend you break your boat down into bite-size areas that are more manageable.
It is easy to become overwhelmed at the idea of trying to was, polish, and wax your boat all in one go. break it down into smaller, manageable sections and simply work your way through until you have finished.
Remember that polishing your boat by hand will be easier in some ways, but require far more elbow grease than if you were doing it with machine. You may have to compound each section multiple times before you feel the area is ready for some boat wax. Just accept this as part of the journey at the beginning and it will help you become less frustrated as you get into the project.
Also note that you control the level of results you find acceptable. If you aren't able to achieve the desired results than you either need to step up to a machine in the form of a boat buffer, or you need to lower your expectations. Your hand will never be able to duplicate the speed, friction, and consistency that a power buffer can do.
Just know that these compounds/polishes of CSI are as good as it gets and what I consider a sure thing after testing countless other boat compounds and polishes over the last few decades of professional detailing.
One of the big problems with little to no experience is the inability to know if you expectations from a product are appropriate or unrealistic. This means you might find yourself chasing after one boat compound/polish after another expecting these compounds or polishes to perform at levels that simply are not realistic.
Ironically, the best boat wax for me is also what I consider the best car wax for most people. What works to protect and visually enhance car paint is also the same ingredients that can perform on gel coat and fiberglass.
If you took the time to read my intro regarding the best boat wax you will know by now that one of the most important things I consider when choosing the best wax for boats or cars is a wax that has a great user experience.
The following wax is what I consider the winning balance regardless of automotive or marine use:
Darren's Tips: If you are new to boat ownership, working on a gel coat or fiberglass boat (gel coat is officially the top material you are working on but many people refer to boats as fiberglass, even though fiberglass itself only exists as part of the underlying material) will be a very new experience for you. If you boat is brand new or in excellent condition, waxing your boat with your choice in the best boat wax is not going to be nearly as shocking as a boat with mild to heavy oxidation.
Any of the products above will perform for you so long as your expectations are not unrealistic. And I have found most boat owners are not looking for perfection when it comes to their boats if they are doing it themselves. Finding the best boat wax to me is as much about understanding the nature of gel coat/fiberglass as it is actually finding a top rated "best boat wax".
Use the checklist to help your boat waxing efforts:
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