Boat polish may seem like a time-consuming process, but it can make a huge difference in the life of your boat. Not only does it make your boat look like it just landed from the shipyard, but it also has implications on the way it runs. A clean boat glides through the water with ease, using less fuel and traveling at faster speeds. A good quality polish can also help to protect against the damaging factors your boat comes in contact with on a daily basis. We’ve taken a look at some of the various polishes on the market to help you find the one that best fits your needs. Read on to find out how they rate.
Polish for your boat is an excellent tool to keep in your toolbox. Over time, factors like UV rays, salt water, marine life, and other environmental factors can take a toll on the protective coating of your boat. The coating becomes dull and chalky and will eventually start flaking off your boat, leaving it vulnerable to wear and tear. Using a good quality boat polish keeps the outer surface shiny, reflecting UV rays and other factors.
Fiberglass boats have a protective layer of resin on the outside. It shields the surface of the boat from cracking and drying out. Applying a good polish helps to buff away the dry flaky layers and restores the exterior of your boat into its original splendor. This protective layer is known as the gel coat. It protects the colors in your boat’s surface while creating a sheen that looks like new.
Painted boats have a similar exterior shine to protect the painted surface of the boat. Marine paint formulas contain special oils and emollients that create this shine, letting the UV rays and the salt water bounce off.
Polishing a painted boat helps to remove the dull paint, making the exterior of your boat look new again. Adding a wax coat after polishing adds even more protection. Here’s a closer look at some of best boat polish options.
7 Premium Polishes Reviewed 2021 [Fiberglass, Aluminum & Gelcoat]
OUR #1 PICK
Looking for a high-gloss surface for your boat? Star Brite Premium Marine Polish with PTEF is one of the best polishes for boats. The special formula is made for use on fiberglass boats, metals boats, plexiglass surfaces, and painted surfaces.
Unlike other formulas, you can apply it over old polish or wax to keep the surface in great condition.
PTEF is a type of Teflon that creates a shiny and smooth surface on the outside of your boat. Not only does it make your boat look new and clean, but it also reduces drag in the water and helps to increase your hull speed.
This amazing non-stick material keeps everything from sticking to the surface of your boat and it deflects environmental factors. UV rays bounce right off the shiny surface to help stop the fading and oxidation caused by the sun. Oil-based stains are no match for the slick surface coating. And because everything slides right off, it makes future cleaning sessions a breeze.
Star Brite lasts 4-5 times longer than traditional marine waxes, making it a good investment for the future of your boat. It comes in several convenient sizes. Stock up for the season or get a smaller size to keep onboard. It can also clean your RV or other vehicles. Plus, this unique formula is made in the USA.
- Lasts 4-5 times longer than traditional wax
- Non-stick surface protects your boat
- Prevents oil-based stains
- Made in the USA
- Needs to be wiped with a soft cloth after application
To keep your aluminum boat looking like new, we recommend 3M 09020 Marin Aluminum Restorer & Polish. Aluminum surfaces require special care, especially when put in the water.
Oxidation happens when the oxygen in the water collides with the metal surface of your boat. It can cause damage like rust and it can also dull the protective coating on your boat’s surface.
This polish works against oxidation and corrosion to bring your boat back to looking new again. A small amount goes a long way. There is no need to use huge amounts.
The concentrated formula brings a lot of cleaning power in a small tub of polish. You can apply it by hand with a cloth or by using a mechanical tool for extra scrubbing power. It goes on with a slightly abrasive effect, removing any chalking or flaking paint.
After application, you will see a major difference in the surface of your boat. This polish will restore the luster back to your boat, reminding you why you fell in love in the first place. A clean boat not only looks better, but it also operates more efficiently. Keep your boat protected and operating at its finest with this marine polish.
- For use on aluminum
- Concentrated formula
- Restores pride of ownership
- Can be applied with cloth or power scrubber
- Only for use on aluminum surfaces
If you are looking for a more general-purpose marine polish, this formula is your answer. Flitz CA 03518-6 Blue Metal, Plastic, and Fiberglass Polish Paste is ready to tackle all of your marine polishing needs. The cream formula is completely non-toxic, making it eco-friendly and reef-safe.
It provides safe cleaning for all surfaces like fiberglass, plastic, brass, copper, chrome, marble, metal and more.
It is also a concentrated paste formula, meaning a little bit goes a long way. It can clean insects, grease, graffiti, tarnish, oxidation, rust, lime deposits, UV damage, tar, tree sap, fingerprints and almost anything else that might get stuck to the outside of your boat.
The protection can last up to 6 months, keeping your boat looking immaculate for as long as possible.
According to the various reviews, this product really lives up to the hype. It offers safe and non-flammable protection for your boat, keeping it looking great all season long. The cream formula is easy to use and easy to apply, making it a great choice for all your polishing needs. It also starts working as soon as it is applied to your boat’s surface.
- Easy to apply
- Concentrated formula
- Removes almost anything from your boat’s surfaces
- Paste formula can be messy
Chemical Guys MBW11016 Marine and Boat Revive Polish is one of the best boat polish options for fiberglass on the market. If your boat is looking dull, this polish will bring your gel coat back to life. It adds a spectacular shine, making your boat look like new once again.
The abrasive solution works to remove defects like scratches and oxidation from the surface of your boat. It also creates a perfect surface for wax or sealant adhesion.
The one-step application process is a breeze. Apply it either by hand or with a buffing machine for excellent results. Different surfaces respond differently.
If you are not sure about the materials of your boat, we recommend you start with an application in a small area of the boat before using it on the whole thing. This will give you a chance to see how your boat reacts.
Not only does this polish revive the surface of your boat, but it also protects it. Environmental factors have a huge influence on the shine and performance of your boat. A high-quality shine means your boat will glide through the water effortlessly. Everyone on the water will think your boat is brand new again after a thorough application of this polish.
- Apply by hand or by machine
- Removes defects and impurities
- Protects from environmental factors
- Restores your boat’s protective shine
- May not be safe for all boat surfaces
When it comes to boat wax, you have a lot of choices on the market and the decision process is not always easy. Glidecoat is a company that boasts of a proven record of accomplishment. They claim you will never have to use wax again after applying their spray wax. We decided to put them to the test.
If you hate traditional wax pastes that need to be applied with your hands and then buffed away, then this is the wax for you. All you have to do is spray it on and then wipe with a clean microfiber cloth-that’s it!
Glidecoat says you only have to apply their spray once every eight months to completely protect your boat’s finish. This polymer wax does not need any elbow grease from you and it fully protects your gel coat.
The ease of application is what makes people want to purchase this spray wax, but the shine and high level of protection are what keeps them coming back for more. You will be amazed at the level of shine this spray offers. Your boat will look like it just came off the showroom floor.
This Marine Shine and Shield product will completely protect your boat and ensure sun damage does not occur. Unlike traditional wax, Glidecoat actually bonds to the surface of your boat and offers superior protection.
- Extremely easy to use -just spray and wipe
- Only needs to be reapplied every eight months
- Bonds with the boat’s finish for the ultimate level of protection
- Protects boats against sun damage that can destroy the gel coat
- Cannot be used on boats with oxidative damage
While there are many brands of polishes and waxes on the market, TotalBoat is one that has become a respected name among boat owners.
This polish, unlike some brands, can be placed over old waxes and polishes without any problem. If you have ever had to strip a boat of wax, you know the job is tiring. TotalBoat makes it easier to apply and it offers extreme protection.
This formula not only makes a boat look shinier and more attractive, but it also helps to create a slick surface that produces much less drag. If you like flying through the water, drag is something you do not want.
Formulated with UV inhibitors, this polish protects your gel coat finish and helps to repel dirt and grease. It can be used on fiberglass, painted surfaces, and metal.
The application process is simple and straightforward. You simply wipe the TotalBoat fluid on with a soft cloth. Wait a few minutes and then wipe it off.
This polish works so well because of its primary ingredient which is polytetrafluoroethylene. This PTFE creates a non-stick coating on the boat so dirt and grime simply cannot stick. Boats will stay cleaner and shinier between washes. Apply once a year and your boat will be protected for twelve months.
- Protects the finish of the boat from sun damage
- Can be used annually to protect a boat all year long
- Creates an ultra-slick coating that reduces drag and resists dirt
- Is easy to apply and takes much less time than traditional paste boat waxes
- Cannot be applied to plastic because it will stain
If you have never heard of Meguiar's, this is a company you will want to learn more about. Over the years, boats can lose their shine and become dull. No boat owner feels proud of showing off a boat that is water-worn and sun-damaged.
Meguiar's High Gloss Enhancer will help to restore that showroom shine to a boat, even if its finish has suffered oxidative stress.
This polish works on both painted and fiberglass surfaces. After cleaning, it enriches the material with oils that help bring the finish back to life.
Although this polish can be used on any color finish, it is most effective on darker finishes which are typically the ones that are more prone to fading due to sun and water exposure. You can use this marine polish by hand or with a machine, depending on your needs.
This polish works to restore the shine after washing or between waxing applications. If you are showing off your boat, this is the perfect application to make it look beautiful again. The polish is very easy to apply and can be used for both marine and RV use.
If you really want to give your boat a gleaming shine and fully protect it, Meguiar's offers a range of products that can be used in succession to bring out the shine and protect against UV damage.
- Very easy to apply and can be used between washings and waxes
- The polish can be used by hand or with a machine
- Brings out the shine on the dullest of finishes
- Works on boats and RVs
- Does not offer UV protection
In this kit, you will find everything you could possibly need to make sure your boat looks beautiful and it is fully protected against the damaging rays of the sun.
The Porter-Cable polisher will bring out a showroom shine while the Marine 31 polishes and waxes will seal the gel coat and protect against damage.
Marine 31 included everything boat owners need in this kit, including the soft cloths. You will find each of these products works together to produce an amazing result.
The products included in this kit help to remove light oxidation that can buildup on a boat’s finish and cause it to look dull and less vibrant. This kit provides a highly durable layer of high-gloss protection so your boat will not experience oxidative damage.
The kit includes the polisher and all the backing pads that are needed to apply and buff each product easily. This kit is ideal for beginners, but pros will find it efficiently meets all their finish needs with ease.
With the polishing kit, you will be able to achieve that showroom shine without the back-breaking work of applying and buffing manually.
- Includes everything that is needed for the perfect showroom shine
- The polisher makes light work of polishing and buffing
- Offers the perfect level of UV and oxidative protection
- Is ideal for new boat owners
- Cannot be applied in cold weather
But, What About...
Type of Boat
The type of boat will greatly influence what type of polish you should purchase for your boat. Fiberglass boats, metal boats and wooden boats are all very different from each other. Each one has different needs to keep it looking great. Certain boat materials are not compatible with all cleaners and polishes, making it important to know what type of materials are on your boat.
You may even need to invest in multiple formulas to properly clean every aspect of your boat. By choosing the right cleaner you can avoid a cleaning disaster.
Environmental Factors and Boat Storage
Where you store your boat has a direct effect on the conditions it faces on a daily basis. Boats that are stored inside and out of the water experience less corrosion and oxidation than boats that live in the water 24/7. These environmental and storage factors should be considered when choosing boat polish option for your vessel.
The Level of Damage
Choose your polish by assessing the level of damage and imperfections on your boat’s exterior surfaces. Big scratches and dry, flaking paint can benefit from a formula applied by a buffer tool. Smaller scratches can be polished out with a soft cloth and a little elbow grease. Other damages like oxidation, water spots, stains, mineral build-up and more can be solved with a specific formula.
Automotive vs. Marine Polish
While it might be convenient to grab a polish meant for cars to use on your boat, or vice versa, the gel coat on a boat is much different than the clear coat on a car. Polishes are abrasive to help remove the build-up of minerals and grime left on your boat’s hull from the ocean.
The same abrasive formula would scratch the clear coat right off your car, damaging the paint and the surface of your car. There is a reason why two different formulas appear on the market. Also, stick to the correct formula for your vehicle.
How to Polish A Marine Boat
The first step to polishing is always cleaning the dirt and grime off the surface. If you don’t, you run the risk of more scratches on the finish as you rub in the polish. If you find any mold, you can use a little bit of bleach to remove the bacterial and sanitize the boat’s surface. If the gel coat is greasy, the polish will not stick to the surface.
Use a rag soaked in acetone or another grease remover to prepare the surface for application. Once you have cleaned your boat with a high-quality cleaner, you can proceed to the polishing stage.
Polishing a boat is a large job. It takes time and work to restore the entire thing. It is better to work in small sections, finishing the entire thing before moving on. This allows you to tackle more of the boat in smaller segments, which also means you won’t skip any sections.
Be sure to have the correct tools nearby to complete the job. A pile of microfiber cloths is a great idea to apply and polish the boat. If you plan to use a buffer, have some extra buffing pads available too.
Apply the polish to the surface of your boat, taking care to only put it on safe surfaces. Rub the solution into the boat’s surface and wait for it to dry. Once dry, buff it again with a soft cloth or the buffer to remove the cloudy finish and restore your boat’s protective gel coat. For more tips and tricks, check out this informational video.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is a good time to polish my boat?
Answer: Really any time is a great time to polish your boat. But you may want to consider doing it at least at the beginning and the end of each season to keep your boat looking great.
Can I use the same formula on my whole boat?
Answer: It depends on the materials that make up your boat. Some cleaners are more specifically designed than others. If you have a boat with multiple types of materials, it might be best to invest in an all-purpose cleaner that can be used everywhere instead of multiple bottles of specific polish. However, if you have a very specific problem, you might want a more specific cleaner to target the issue.
Is wax the same as polish?
Answer: No, wax and polish are two different substances. Polish is abrasive and meant to remove any impurities and imperfections. Wax goes on last as a protective coating. Polishing before application of the wax leaves a surface free and clear of grease, dirt, and other hazards. This leaves room for the wax to properly adhere to the boat’s surface.
In conclusion, for great boat maintenance, an important factor is making sure you are using the best boat polish you can find. It is important to make sure you use one of the recommended options in order to guarantee the safety of your boat’s paint job and to help keep the protective coating for years to come.