Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions About Our Waxing Services
Q: How often should I wax my boat?
A: We recommend waxing your entire boat (hull and topside) once per year, perhaps in the spring and then waxing the topside (rub or toe rail up) again in the fall. You’ll notice that the topside will start to fade first, especially the brow (if your boat has one) and areas on the foredeck because the topside takes most of the sun’s rays while the hull is somewhat protected by more shade throughout the day.
Q: Do you prefer to wax a boat in it’s slip or hauled out at a boatyard?
A: We prefer to wax ski boats on a trailer because we can reach a lot more of the hull that way. For all other boats, it really doesn’t matter to us as long as we can easily reach the hull either on a low dock if your boat is in the water or on a sturdy ladder or scaffolding if your boat is at the boatyard.
Q: My dock seems fairly high. Will you be able to reach the hull?
A: If your slip has a high dock, we may need you to move your boat to a lower dock (one that is level with the waterline) so we can more easily reach and wax the hull. We can still wax everything from the rub or toe rail up at the high dock.
Q: How do you get to the other side? Do you have a raft?
A: If you can turn your boat for us when we’re ready to start working on the other side, that is preferable. If you need us to manually turn the boat, we’ll need to charge an additional fee (around $100). Working on a floating raft is very difficult and can be dangerous for us because our electric cord (if we’re using a buffer) is most likely going to be draped over water. Also, it’s hard to hold and use a buffer with one hand while you’re trying to balance or hold yourself in one spot with the other hand. If we’re waxing the hull by hand, we’ll use a floating raft or dock if you’re unable to turn your boat.
Q: How long will it take?
A: That depends on the weather, the condition of your gel coat and the size of your boat. As long as we have dry weather, it usually takes us between two and four days to wax a boat that is between 30 and 50 ft long. It will take longer if the gel coat is more oxidized, the weather is rainy or very cold or your boat has a lot of nooks and crannies.
Q: Where do you get power for your buffer?
A: We can only get power from the dock or from a building (if your boat is in a storage area or at your house). We can’t plug our buffers into your boat because they will trip the switch every time.
Q: How does weather affect waxing my boat?
A: We can’t wax in the rain, even if it’s raining very lightly or just misting. The problem isn’t so much with putting the wax on in the rain, but there can’t be any water on the gel coat when we buff the wax off or it will cause a hazy mess and we’ll have to re-do it. Most waxes and compounds work well in temperatures of 45 to 80 degrees. Any colder or hotter than that and some waxes and compounds become difficult to work with, especially if your gel coat is heavily oxidized. Thank goodness for Seattle, heat isn’t something we have to worry about much. It’s mostly those rainy days that slow us down.
Q: Do you wax by hand or use a power buffer?
A: If your boat is brand new, we’ll often wax by hand because we’re just putting on a pure soft wax (no rubbing compound) and it’s just as easy to do by hand or with a buffer. If we are using a cleaner wax or compound, we’ll need to use a buffer.
Q: Does my boat need to be washed before you wax it?
A: Yes, if it hasn’t been washed in a while and is showing visible dirt, bird droppings and mildew on the gel coat. If you’re on our recurring wash list or your boat is only lightly dusty and was washed fairly recently, then we’ll be able to start buffing and waxing without having to wash it. This is because the compound we’re using is stronger than light dust, so it won’t scratch the gel coat.
Q: What kind of wax do you use?
A: That completely depends on the gel coat’s level of oxidation. As far as brands go, we often use Meguiars, Starbrite and 3M. We use both soft waxes (no compound), cleaner waxes (a wax and compound mixture) and different rubbing compounds depending on how oxidized the gel coat is.
Q: I’m trying to sell my boat, so I don’t want to spend a lot of money, but the gel coat is looking dull. What do you suggest?
A: Wax just the topside (rub or toe rail up) and the transom. It’s what potential buyers will see first and will spend the most time in and around those areas.
Q: What is a one-step, two-step and a three-step wax job?
A: A one-step wax process is where we use pure wax on a new boat (gel coat is still glossy) or cleaner wax on a lightly oxidized boat. A two-step wax process would be used on a boat with medium to heavy oxidation where we go over the boat with just rubbing compound first and then go over it again with wax. A three-step process would be used on gel coat that is heavily oxidized and where you want to make sure the wax job lasts for a long time (at least a year) to further protect the gel coat. In this case, we would go over the boat first with a rubbing compound to cut through the oxidation, then with a polish to seal the gel coat and then with wax to further protect it from oxidizing.
Q: I want my boat waxed by a certain date for a trip we’re taking. Can you do that?
A: Our buys season is between March and July, so if you want to make sure it’s done by a certain date, you’ll want to get on our wax list as soon as possible. Most customers starting signing up in December or January and we typically can’t start waxing until March because of the weather. (We wax from March through November.) When you contact us to get on the wax list, let us know what date it needs to be done by and we’ll do our best to make it happen. Rainy weather is the one thing that can screw up the schedule!
Q: Do you wax non-skid?
A: Not usually because it would make it too slippery. However, there are a few wax products on the market that are meant for non-skid, so if you want us to wax your non-skid, we’d be more than happy to try it with one of those products.
Q: My boat hasn’t been waxed in a long time and has no gloss left. Can you make it look new again?
A: We will do our best to cut through the oxidation and bring back a sheen, if not a gloss, but if it’s been a long time and the gel coat is chalky to the touch or if the gel coat is old and thinning, then it could take a few wax jobs to bring it back again.
Q: Do you charge by the foot or hour for wax jobs?
A: If I had to keep track of the hours we put into waxing a boat, your wax job would either be free (because I’m horrible at tracking hours) or the cost would be prohibitive because I would charge for every single minute we spent working on your boat, including the time it took to chase off the spiders, go collect the bottle of wax we just knocked off the boat, fish a rag out of the water that the wind blew off and so on. We charge by the foot so everyone knows the exact cost up front.
Q: You waxed my boat and now it’s a mess! What’s going on?
A: When we buff and wax a boat, especially when we use compound, we end up making quite a mess! There will be fine wax and compound dust on everything, as well as “fuzzies” floating all around from the wool buffing pads we use. If you know that we’re done waxing your boat and you come down to find it a mess, do not fear. It just means we haven’t washed it yet. Which leads me to our next question…
Q: Do you wash the boat after?
A: When we wax a boat, I send out my wax crew to do the buffing and waxing and when they’re done, I send out my wash crew to wash the boat. There may be a day or two gap of when the wax crew is finished and when the wash crew can do the wash, but we’ll try to get it washed as soon after the wax job is finished. Sometimes there is so much fine wax dust that it might take two washes to get it all out of the nooks and crannies. If you feel your boat needs another wash after our initial wash, please just let us know and we’ll come out to do a follow-up wash at a discounted price.