Top 3 Advantages Cleaning Your Own Boat

In a prior life when we were both gainfully employed and not living on a fixed income, we happily paid people to clean our stainless, wash & wax the deck and hull and a myriad of other “unskilled” boat maintenance projects.

And when we left the US and found how inexpensive it was to have someone else do our lowly cleaning chores, guess what!  We happily paid them even though we were on a fixed income.   But then our cruising buddy boat told us it was NOT in our best interest to pay someone else to do the unskilled maintenance such as washing, waxing and stainless.  This was a WAY foreign concept to me – why on earth would I want to do it myself when I could be exploring Guatemala or wherever and the boat magically gets waxed and no more stainless pox?


Why?  Because if you do it yourself,  #1, it gets done far better than anyone you can pay to do it — it’s your boat, you care.  They’re only in it for the money, no matter how conscientiousness they may be.

#2.  If you do it yourself, you personally inspect EVERY inch of your boat — the deck, the hull, the rigging, the stainless — and guess what … YOU are much more apt to notice any little thing that given time and salt air/salt water may become a serious issue.

I'd MUCH rather be doing this than maintenance, but .....

I’d MUCH rather be doing this than maintenance, but …..

#3.  You can take care of anything you notice right when you notice it.   And as an example, like us, maybe you’ll never have teak decks that “always” leak when they get older … ours don’t leak & we’re convinced it’s because for the last several years we’ve been “forced” by fixed income necessity to do our own cleaning.  Any suspect fastener gets addressed immediately.

Likewise, we’ve noticed cracks that need addressing far earlier than we would have otherwise.  Found topsides blisters caused by the teak eyebrow wicking water, filled in the screw holes to prevent future water intrusion and ground out & repaired the tiny blisters before they have a chance to cause any delamination.

It’s well worth the hassle and time to do most of our own maintenance.  We wouldn’t change anything about our early boating years being able to afford to pay others to do it, but if and when this dang economy every takes off again, we’re not sure we’ll relinquish the cleaning/waxing/stainless chores to others.   Winterlude is a 1985 Hull #2 Passport 37 and she’s not getting younger – so it’s up to us to keep her pristine.


And this is one of the simple things we’ve discovered seem to make a big difference, at least for us.  We used to visually “inspect” everything regularly, but it was never as effective as spending time cleaning and polishing every square inch of stainless etc.

Now I just need to get up the motivation to climb, clean and wax the mast & spreaders!  🙂

Anyone else have simple ways to insure the boat stays in tip top shape?  Please leave comments and share!  Cheers!  Jan



  1. The beauty of cleaning your own boat is that you begin to notice all of the details and areas of improvement – and it becomes fun trying different methods and products until you find the right one. A few years ago I began experimenting with ways to clean my boats that were more effective and saved time. I was also committed to the idea that boat cleaning products did not need to contain harmful chemicals that ruined our marinas. Today, Boat Brite is the best-selling “green” boat and yacht cleaning product line. I blog specifically about boat cleaning at and you can ask me anything!
    -Captain John

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