I'm a bad boat owner. You'd know it if you looked at my once pristine TV-17 Tracker. Last week it was covered in grime from last year's fishing excursions. I knew it was time to do something when I walked by my fishing boat and just happened to rub my shirt on it. It left a smudge on the hull and a streak on my shirt. Through the smudge and beneath the crud there was a shiny hull. At that point, I decided to do something about my dirty boat, and I did -- it just took some good cleaning products to prove it.
I had my doubts about how clean it might get at first. Last year's trip to Canada left the underneath and sides covered in roadwork grime. After a week of fishing at Eagle Lake in Ontario, we were greeted with a surprise on the way home. About 12 miles of the road had been taken out by road crews in an attempt to smooth the deteriorating highway that leads many fishermen between Dryden and International Falls.
The pathway that was left was composed of rock, leftover asphalt and a mixture of earth combined with frequent spring showers. Needless to say, my boat was filthy. The rest of the drive home, some 900 miles, gave the gunk time to air dry and solidify into some sort of semi-permanent coating.
Being my lazy self, I chose not to wash it when we arrived back and instead decided that maybe a few trips to my local lake would be a decent alternative to actually cleaning it. That didn't really pan out. Instead I simply added a summer's worth of regular water stains over the top of it.
This spring it really looked pitiful. I was beginning to feel bad about it, so I went to Bass Pro Shops and invested in some cleaning materials. I picked up a bottle of Meguiar's Cleaners - Oxidation Removal that removes heavy oxidation, scratches, stains and spots. I also picked up some Boat/RV Polish that restores a brilliant high-gloss finish that is especially effective on dark colors. To top off the polish I also grabbed some Boat/RV Pure Wax, a special blend that maintains an extraordinary high-gloss protection. I didn't want to leave the interior dirty, so I picked up a 16-ounce bottle of Meguiar's Cleaners - Vinyl/Rubber Cleaner for deep cleaning and revitalizing vinyl and rubber surfaces. To top it all off, I picked up a Cleaner Marine Maintenance Kit - Handle and Brush. This includes a 4-foot wooden handle that screws apart into two sections for easy storage, a cotton mop and a medium-bristle wash brush.
The handle and brush helped transform a little elbow grease into a like-new boat. First, I started with the Oxidation Remover. The hardened crust of last year's dirt couldn't even stand up to this stuff. With a little labor the outer grime came right off.
Next it was time to shine it up. For this I employed the Boat/RV Polish. With some more rubbing and work, the old shine came back quickly. It took some time, but the Polish did wonders at bringing out the shine it used to have. It was then I decided to step back and look the whole job over -- I was quite impressed.
Since I wanted the hard work and good looks to last, I put one more round of labor into it. This time I meticulously worked in a coat of the Boat/RV Pure Wax. This is where the quality of the cleaning kit really stood out. The Pure Wax really put a shine on the whole hull. Not only was it glossy, but it was also protected.
The outside of the boat looked just as good as the day I took it off the lot. It was pristine and suitable for fishing once again. I just had to touch up the insides a little. On the seats and dash I used the Vinyl/Rubber Cleaner for an interior to match the cleanliness of the outside.
When the cleaning and restoration project was finished I had regained every bit of my boat pride. In fact, it was almost too clean. I was almost afraid to take it fishing again -- almost. The fear of getting it dirty didn't last long, though. After a quick call to my fishing buddy the plans were set and it was time to get after some crappie.