Easy Guide to Aluminum Boat Maintenance

While an aluminum boat is generally low maintenance, it doesn’t mean that you can get away without performing regular aluminum boat maintenance!

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking your aluminum boat will last forever without any aluminum boat maintenance. While aluminum boats are tough and take a real pounding on the water, they still need love and attention. This includes regular boat maintenance.

As boaters, we make a choice whenever we buy a boat. We’re looking for something that suits our purposes. For example, if I buy a boat, I want something I can run up on a beach. Or I want something I’m not going to be worried about scratching if I bump into a pier in windy or rough conditions. It needs to be durable, not so much pretty. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to take care of it! Aluminum boats are great for any boater that wants utility over looks.

If you want to ensure that you get the maximum life expectancy out of your aluminum boat, or you want it to look great so that you don’t negatively affect its resale value, then it’ll need a little bit of love and attention. One of the ways to do this is with regular maintenance. It doesn’t have to be a week-long project! If you do a lot of saltwater fishing, you’ll need to do more maintenance.

In the following easy guide to aluminum boat maintenance, we’ll walk you through the steps you need to follow to keep your aluminum boat looking good. If you do it right, your boat will look as good as the day you picked it up!

Avoid Cleaning Your Aluminum Boat on Scorching Hot Days

If your aluminum boat is too hot to touch, then there’s a good chance that it’s too hot to clean properly. If you live in an area that’s consistently hot, try and find somewhere in the shade where you can clean your boat out of the direct sunlight. Just like your car, the direct sunlight will make the aluminum too hot to handle correctly.

Start off By Washing your Aluminum Boat

The first thing that you want to do is hose off your aluminum boat, removing any surface debris or dirt from your latest fishing trip. A high pressure hose, followed by a quick wash with soapy water and another rinse, will remove any surface debris. Taking the time on this step of the cleaning process will leave the surface of the aluminum clear of any grit, grime, grease, or debris. Now, give your boat some time to dry off, and you are ready for the next step.

Use A Premium Aluminum Boat Cleaner

While a quick wash with soap and water will clean the surface of the aluminum, it’s not doing anything to restore its luster or shine and won’t help to protect the surface of the aluminum. We strongly recommend a premium aluminum boat clear such as 3M Marine Aluminum Restorer and Polish. If you have any boat with exposed aluminum, such as a pontoon boat, then keeping that aluminum looking great is high on your priority list.

aluminum boat polish and restorer
3M Marine Aluminum Restorer & Polish

The Unique Properties of Aluminum

Aluminum has its little quirks. It’s easy to forget that aluminum needs a little bit of love and attention. Aluminum is just like any other metal or material, especially in a marine environment.

To keep your aluminum boat in top condition, remember the following:

  • Aluminum Develops an Oxidized Coating – Aluminum exposed to oxygen and water, fresh or salt, will develop an oxidized coating. It takes a premium aluminum cleaner to remove this oxidization.
  • Aluminum Reacts with Oxygen – Even if you’re storing your aluminum boat perfectly, it’s still going to require cleaning with a specialized cleaning product.
  • Aluminum, Shiny, or Dull? – Aluminum is naturally shiny, but the longer you leave it between cleaning, the duller it will get. Even the best aluminum will lose its shine if you don’t look after it correctly.
  • Aluminum and Salt Water – If you spend a lot of your time fishing or boating in salt water, then a quick wash after each trip is a good habit to get into. Just like you flush your outboard engine, you should wash your hull. Washing the aluminum with soapy water and rinsing it with a hose is a great way to remove any salt build-up.
  • Aluminum and Welding – If you have any welded joints or repairs on your aluminum boat, then be aware of the heat-affected zones. Aluminum is very forgiving but doesn’t tolerate a lot of heat. Whenever you weld aluminum, a heat-affected zone extends around the welded joint. This heat-affected zone is prone to cracks. Therefore, never over-weld aluminum; keep an eye on welded joints as they cool for any cracks.

Easy Guide to Maintaining your Aluminum Boat – Conclusion

There you go! Everything you wanted to learn about aluminum boat maintenance. Once you get the hang of aluminum boats, you’ll recognize when you need to do a deep clean. You’ll also know when a quick wash will suffice. In addition, aluminum boats are very user-friendly. They are much more forgiving when it comes to bumps and scrapes compared to fiberglass or painted boat.

If you have any questions about aluminum boats or would like to learn more about aluminum boat maintenance, please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us directly! Also, don’t forget to bookmark the page. That way, you don’t miss out on all our exciting upcoming blogs. While you’re there, be sure to read this article, How Much is a Bass Boat? It contains some great tips on bass boats and how aluminum bass boats stack up against fiberglass boats.

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