Our Book

Insiders guide to boat cleaning and detailingWe wrote the book on boat cleaning and detailing! Natalie Sears, the owner of Deckhand Detailing has written a book titled “The Insider’s Guide to Boat Cleaning and Detailing” published by McGraw Hill. Order your copy at a discounted price through Amazon.

Boat cleaning isn’t as simple as taking a can of kitchen cleanser and scrubbing away. Improper procedures can cause damage to the boat or the environment. This is the only stem-to-stern guide that addresses all aspects of boat cleaning and detailing, helping you restore that “showboat” look to tired gel coat, canvas, brightwork, upholstery, metalwork and more. The book recommends both generic and brand-name cleaning and maintenance materials to help you make the right selections.

This is an excellent book for:

  • New boat owners: Whether you’re looking to do the cleaning and detailing yourself or simply want to learn more about what it takes and how to do it.
  • Long-time boat owners: Even though you’ve owned boats for a long time, you may still not know the best ways to clean or detail them or maybe you simply want to use the book as a reference for when you need it.
  • Boat owners who use a detailer: If you use a detailing company or are planning to start using one, you should definitely know the proper way to clean and detail a boat so you can make sure you hire the best company out there and have a guideline for yourself as to what they should be doing.
  • Boat detailing companies: If you’re the owner of a boat detailing company, you should make all new crew members read this book before their first day of work. It will give them a huge headstart and help them do the job right the first time!

Read some of the reviews left on Amazon.com:

“Great book, which steered me away from household & auto cleaners through the maze of marine products. As someone originally from the desert, now an owner of a 38′ power boat in the Pacific Northwest for three years… I wish I had this book when I bought my boat! Owning and taking care of a boat is definitely a learning experience. It’s a journey of endlessly needing to learn how to do something else, and also one of every service you get is an expensive one.

There’s a lot of time put into a boat up here if you’re going to do any of it yourself. If you still work for a living (I do)…the time you get to spend on your boat is never enough, yet the time required to take care of it is also very significant. There’s also nothing like the feeling of heading out in your boat on your first trip of the season with it beautiful and shined…then again- just keeping it clean can be a huge challenge! When you decide to cash out the funds and pay someone else to take care of it…they’re going to charge you a lot of money. $1000 wax job for example! You absolutely need to be educated enough to know what you’re getting.

On the other hand, decide to save the money and do it yourself? I quickly found out why they charge $1000! I’ll probably pay a service now and then, but most of the time, I found doing it myself is relaxing and fun when I can spare the time. I bought this book, and excitedly read it cover to cover within a few evenings. I was so excited because I was learning tricks of the trade to make the time I spend on my boat more productive. Which products to use, why, and how to use them…and what I was doing wrong that I didn’t even realize. All well organized and quick to read. I can’t wait to put all these tips to good use. This book is highly recommended!”
“I purchased this book after purchasing a Beneteau 393 sailboat. After having it waxed and cleaned by a professional crew a few times I decided I needed to begin doing basic maintenance cleaning in between major waxing jobs.

This book exceeded all expectations. Natalie takes us through every facet of boat cleaning and surface maintenance. I always wondered, for example, how best to clean my cushions properly, and the appropriate frequency for doing things in different climates.

Her product recommendations for the various cleaning and waxing chores aboard a boat are priceless. We’ve all been to our favorite boat chandlery and been mystified where to start with the massive selection of cleaning products.

Thanks very much for writing this Natalie and look forward to future updates. Everyone should note her website which may include video instruction at some point.

I’ve recommended this book to friends and colleagues with boats. I keep it on board as a reference. I built a cleaning schedule into my calendar based on the books recommendations and now feel like i have a big weight taken off my shoulder.

2013-01-04: Update three years on – Got the kindle version recently so I could always have on my ipad and truly, this continues to be my only reference guide for bright work and gell coat maintenance. Referred to it again today for canvas maintenance (winter in Seattle, not the driest of conditions). Thanks again Dr. Sears and look forward to more updates.”
“This book is very helpful – it doesn’t matter if you own a 17′ center console or a 45′ cabin cruiser. First and foremost, Natalie (the author) explains what oxidation is, what it does to fiberglass, and what is required to either avoid oxidation in its entirety or remediate it. Detailing a boat is NOT the same as detailing a car and the two are made from very different materials with very different coatings. The author explains the why and how of fiberglass and how it can degrade over time if not properly maintained. Solid recommendations are made as to what type of cleaners and protectants to use (and avoid).

Natalie identifies some household cleaners that can be used safely on a boat but also identifies those to be avoided. Likewise, boat soaps, cleaners, and waxes are generally formulated in a different way than car soaps, cleaners, and waxes and again, the author does a good job of identifying what to look for when at the local marine supply house. Anyone who reads this book will have a concrete plan for cleaning and maintaining his/her boat in topside form.”
“What an indispensable resource this book is! I have sought out and researched many other books on the subject, but Boat Cleaning and Detailing is the most comprehensive, informative and helpful resource I’ve found. And it’s also a bit entertaining as the author offers her salient comments and tidbits, gained only through her years of hands on experience. Stem to stern, Ms. Sears covers your entire vessel – how to go about cleaning, maintaining and restoring its “spit shine”. I’ve owned boats for 30 years and have piddled with “detailing” the whole while, but frankly, with less than optimum results.

During visits to local boatyards, I would pick-up piecemeal information about detailing, but I never really understood! But when I got Ms. Sears’ book, the mystic and confusion of detailing disappeared. In particular, her expert advice on compounding and waxing is extremely helpful. In my opinion, no other topic within the subject matter of “detailing” is more important. Following her advice, you will know the products to use and how to use them correctly, while saving you money, time, effort and perhaps more importantly, helping to ensure you don’t make a mess and damage the gelcoat.

Finally, the book offers an excellent appendix and links for additional information. Be sure to visit her web site, and believe it or not, if you have any additional questions, just email her; she responded to my email inquiry – talk about “service after the sale”! Now go get the book; you’ll be glad you did!”
“This books gives a lot of good ideas and when and how to use various products. The writer is sensitive to the environment but also wants to present techniques and products that actually work. As anyone who has replaced canvas knows, it can be a very expensive proposition, so maintaining it and getting the maximum life span is a high priority for me.

I will be ordering another book to keep at home, as this one went onto the boat. The suggestions on removing stains will work well at home.”
“I bought this book after reading the author’s blog, and I’m glad I did. While her blog has more current product recommendations, this book contains a terrific discussion of the different cleaning chores that every boat owner faces. It gives detailed accounts and helpful hints on how to perform the various functions and also gives a recommended schedule for each area. I was impressed not only with the quality of the content but with the author’s tone and obvious knowledge.”
“This is a very worthwhile for the new boat owner (like me). I read it cover to cover at first, even though a lot of it doesn’t apply to my small boat. I still use it for a reference guide…and often go back and re-read sections.

For an “instructional” book…it isn’t dry reading as I expected….It is more like having a conversation with the author….

Very worthwhile if you want to know the hints and tricks about washing and waxing a boat.”
“This is a must for anyone new to boat care. It will save you time by helping you do it right the first time. Lots of specific product recommendations and techniques for their use. Even an experienced boat owner will almost certainly learn something new.

Let the 5 Stars speak for themselves. AWESOME BOOK for Everyone. Thanks Natalie… The book is vastly full of knowledge and helped me restore a nice old boat to a shiny New Boat inside and out.”
“If you want to learn more about how to clean and detail a boat – this is your book. It has information about any surface and parts a boat has or is made of. Really worth reading!”
“This book was written for boat owners, but I have used may of the secrets on my motor home as well. Highly recommend it for both new and salty boat owners.”
“The options for products and how best to use them are overwhelming. This helped. The advice was invaluable and the book was fun to read.”
“Clear, concise and good recommendations. Not overwhelming. Tried some of the suggested products and they did the job with ease.”
“Great reference for cleaning issues. Contains tons of new and old cleaning solutions. Should be on every boat. Buy one.”
“Extremely good to have online for use and guidance to maintain and appreciate your boat. Recommended to all boaties.”
“Just got this book and already read through the whole thing. I am a detailer in south Louisiana and Thought I would see what other people were doing. Surprisingly I agree with and practice many of the techniques described in this book. If Natalie were in business down here she would be enviable competition. We could probably teach each other a few things. Any boater that used this book as a guide would save themselves many headaches.”