Fiberglass Boat Oxidation 101: An Introduction

As a boat owner, one hazard you need to be attentive to is that of oxidation on your boat. In order to recognize and deal with it, you need to not only understand what it is, but also how to prevent and eliminate it from your boat. Here are a few of the things that you need to know to help protect your boat.

What Is Oxidation?

Oxidation is a deterioration process that affects the surface of every fiberglass boat. It creates a dull finish on the fiberglass, leaving a milky appearance where it used to gleam and shine. It occurs due to water and air exposure, so it is inevitable if you aren't proactive about addressing and preventing it. Unfortunately, many boat owners don't even realize that it's happening until it is too late and the finish on the fiberglass has deteriorated so far that the original shine can no longer be restored.

How Can You Prevent Oxidation?

There are a couple of ways to prevent oxidation from affecting the finish of your boat, but all require care and attention on your part. First, you need to keep the boat's hull and all of the fiberglass surfaces treated with a wax product that includes UV protection and oxidation barriers. That helps to discourage oxidation by forming a shield of sorts between the fiberglass and the elements.

In addition, you also need to make sure that you clean the boat regularly, especially after you've taken it out. Invest in an oxidation spot-treatment that you can apply any time you see discoloration or dulling occur on the fiberglass, and be meticulous about the cleaning and detailing.

How Do You Remove Existing Oxidation?

Unfortunately, since many first-time boat owners aren't aware of this risk, they aren't as attentive to the dangers of oxidation. That means it often has already started before they address it. If you've already got some oxidation started on your boat, it isn't going to stop until you eliminate it.

You can work with a marina repair service to buff and detail the fiberglass surfaces. This does mean giving up the use of your boat for a bit, and it will require a financial investment, but it is truly the most effective and efficient way to remove oxidation. They specialize in dealing with things like this, so you can be sure that it is done completely and correctly.

If you want to give it a go on your own, you can do that as well. You'll need to invest in a marine-grade fiberglass rubbing compound. You can't use just any fiberglass rubbing compound, because most aren't equipped to address the specific problems that occur in marine environments. The marine rubbing compound will eliminate the oxidation without harming the finish or the fiberglass beneath. Then, once you've treated the boat with that rubbing compound, you can apply the UV-protectant wax and restore that shiny finish.