Best Boat Wax
What you really need to know

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!"

best boat wax

  • Cars have clear coat as the final layer of paint that filters out damaging UV rays.
  • Boats are made with gel coat and have no clear coat to protect from oxidizing.
  • Boats will oxidize immediately when exposed to the elements of weather and sun.
  • Gel coat is a muli-part mixture that is laid over the fiberglass sheeting. While gel coat is a very durable material, it is very prone to oxidizing. (ever noticed how the majority of boats are either all white, or mostly white? This is to hide the oxidation that will naturally occur)
  • Unless your boat is literally brand new, or has been stored indoors, and you have also been very diligent and consistent with the maintenance of the gel coat, there will be some level of oxidation. Most people don't think their boat is that bad as a boat can still look very shiny and still have some oxidation to it. 

Best Boat Wax:
Time to Assess First

waxing centurion boat

To make things simple, I can break down boats into 3 categories. You can decide where your boat fits in.

  1. Brand new boat that you take delivery of straight from production (this means it has been sitting outdoors on a dealers lot exposed to the sun for months or years- this page is dedicated to you if you and your boat fit into this category)
  2. Your current boat, or the one you may have just purchased is a few years old, but still looks pretty good and pretty shiny from a casual observation. (you might see slight areas of oxidation when really scrutinizing your boat in different lighting-if you know or suspect any degree of oxidation then you will want to polish your boat first to restore the gelcoat to a high gloss level before attempting to wax your boat)
  3. You know your boat has plenty of oxidation. The hull may have a water line, some bumper scuffs, dock scuffs, or obvious chalky and dull gel coat. (if this is your situation, I highly recommend you accept that removing the oxidation by hand, even with an aggressive compound is not going to be realistic for even the most determined and dedicated of you. For results that are both professional grade as well as permanent, you will need to see my page on fiberglass boat restoration.)

Best Boat Wax for Brand New Boats

The above headline is important due to a single qualifying word: NEW!

This means you have a new boat, you are ready to wax your new boat, and your new boat will have no oxidation on it.

best boat wax for brand new boat

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 has oxidation then you need to see my page on fiberglass boat restoration.

Meguiar's Flagship Premium Marine Wax

Meguiar's M63 Flagship Premium Marine Paste Wax, 11 oz

  • The trusted name of Meguiar's.
  • Premium grade boat wax with "chemical" cleaners formulated into this marine wax.
  • Easy to use formula with polymer technology for lasting protection.
  • Adds additional gloss and depth while having the ability to remove light oxidation. (emphasis on light)
  • Helps protect against damaging UV rays.

3M Perfect-It Boat Wax

3M Perfect-It Boat Wax
3M Perfect-It Boat Wax

  • 3M represents a trusted name for most of the world
  • Liquid wax will prove to be a better user experience for many of you reading this

Collinite Fleet Wax #885

Collinite Paste Fleetwax 12 Oz 885

  • Heavy duty paste wax from a highly rated manufacturer
  • Formulated for marine and aeronautical uses

waxing a boat

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 waxed far more often!

boat compounding with rip cut compound

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 wash, 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.

best fiberglass boat wax

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.

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.

To repeat myself, you can go to my page on using a buffer to remove oxidation from your boat using a buffer.

What Would Darren Do

I am often asked by readers to simply tell them what I would do. Which is why I am addling this section at the end for anyone who feels like your brain is melting due to information overload:

3M Light Polish and Wax

  • I would shop for a boat wax that also contains some type of chemical or abrasive cleaners (the 3M Perfect-It Light has both)
  • I would accept the fact that I would never be able to wax my boat as often as it really needs so I will default to a boat wax with some type of "cleaner" formulated into it
  • This allows me to remove the small amount of oxidation/dullness that will naturally occur between my times when I can wax my boat
  • I always recommend using microfiber cloths (you can also use microfiber wax applicator pads to apply the wax, and then microfiber cloths to remove the wax)

Pay "Best Boat Wax" It Forward

waxing chaparral boat

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".

polishing boat with rotary boat buffer

Thank you for visiting Best Boat Wax review. I bet you know of at least one other person who would benefit from the information I have taken so much time to produce, so please post this to your FB or Twitter account and help me spread the word!

Or just send them the link and pay it forward in that manner. I have made it super easy to spread the word with my “Socialize It” button box at the very bottom of this page.


Darren Priest