An Alumacraft boat is only new once, but with a little “boat-keeping” you can help keep it in tip-top shape for years to come. A clean Alumacraft will always look sharp and be a pleasure to use. Over time maintaining your boat’s cosmetic condition undoubtedly helps it retain value. Here are some tips from Alumacraft on the best ways to clean the exterior and interior of your boat.
The Riveted-V hull of your Alumacraft boat is constructed of a high-grade aluminum alloy protected by a corrosion-resistant urethane finish. To maintain this finish always rinse your boat with fresh water after removing it from salt, polluted, or brackish water and after the boat has been transported over salty roads.
The visible scum line that sometimes forms around the hull at the water line can often be wiped away with a wet rag immediately after the boat goes on its trailer. Once the scum line dries it can require more work to remove and may eventually stain the hull.
Alumacraft recommends occasionally cleaning the painted and unpainted hull surfaces with XPS Aluminum Cleaner, which has been formulated to quickly and safely remove waterline scum, algae stains, mold and oxidation, leaving a bright, clean finish. The hull may also be cleaned with a mild detergent and warm water. Do not use abrasive cleansers or solvents as these could damage the finish. An occasional application of XPS Wax and Sealant to painted hull surfaces will also help to preserve your boat’s original finish.
Use a shop vacuum to suck up dirt and sand embedded in deck carpeting. For a more thorough clean-up carpeting can be washed with mild detergent and warm water or household carpet cleaners. After removing the drain plug and raising the bow with the trailer jack, thoroughly hose the detergent out of the carpet and into the bilge. To prevent mildew or odors let the carpet dry in the sun before installing the boat cover.
The premium marine vinyl used in Alumacraft boats is treated with a coating to resist mildew and UV fading. A harsh cleaner can remove this protective coating. Vinyl upholstery and a canopy top should be cleaned regularly with dishwashing soap and warm water.
For tough stains on vinyl, such as adhesive and rust, use citrus cleaner followed by a rinse with dishwashing soap and warm water. For ink apply denatured alcohol to the stain and wipe off. Avoid using products such as Armor All, Formula 409 or waxes which may contain solvents that will damage the protective coating on vinyl. Never use industrial cleaners, powdered abrasives or steel wool which can scratch and cause discoloration. Take special care to keep suntan lotion and wet leaves off upholstery; both can cause permanent stains. To maintain the UV coating on marine upholstery use XPS Marine UV Protectant spray. Its formula leaves a clean, non-greasy, satin finish that restores color and luster while preventing fading and cracking.
Thoroughly drying the carpeting and upholstery and allowing inner foam materials to dry before covering the boat is key in preventing mildew growth. Should your upholstery become mildewed, remove the stains with the following mixture and rinse with warm water:
• 1 teaspoon ammonia
• 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide
• 3/4 cup distilled water
A 4:1 mixture of water and ammonia will kill bacteria causing mildew. If desired, a mildew repellent may be applied.
Mildew can also form if moisture collects in storage compartments. Once or twice a season, but especially before long-term storage, remove all gear from the compartments. Clean out the compartments with a vacuum and a dish soap solution. If there is a lip around the hatch opening designed to catch water, wipe it clean of dirt or sand.
If mildew has formed on gear, wipe down the compartment interior with the recommended solution above, and of course clean the gear before putting in back in the compartment. Open all the storage lids on the boat and position fans to circulate air into the hatches to help them dry. Elevate the bow of the boat, remove the drain plug, and allow all water to drain from the bilge as the fans blow air through the boat.
Cleaning the livewell creates a healthy environment for fish and helps to keep livewell screens, pumps and lines clear of scale that can inhibit water flow and cause the system to work inefficiently. Check out this post on Cleaning a Livewell for detailed instructions.
To clean the glass walk-through style windshield on boats such as Alumacraft Fish and Sport models, apply a quality glass cleaner such as XPS Marine Multi-Surface and Glass Cleaner and wipe with a soft cloth to remove most accumulations of dirt. Smoked polycarbonate or plastic windshields, however, require special cleaning precautions to prevent scratches. Use a mild soap solution and damp cloth only. Harsh detergents, solvents, chemicals or dry cloths will scratch plastic windshields. If your polycarbonate windshield becomes cracked or excessively scratched, replacements are available through your Alumacraft dealer.
With a little care your Alumacraft boat will look sharp and be a pleasure to use for many seasons. For more information, contact an Alumacraft authorized boat dealer.