Gelcoat Maintenance: Time to Shine

After the hard work of restoring and shining your gelcoat, you can stand back and be proud. The topsides are protected and looking good.

Like a lot of other boaters all over the country, especially the northern parts, we’re itching to get on the water this summer, and we’re collecting the materials we need to get there — sandpaper, tape, paint, rollers, brushes, coveralls, masks, zincs, grease for trailer bearings — you know how it goes. There’s always too much work and too little time. Maybe you’ve been putting off a repair to the topsides. Before you let it go another year, here’s some advice we posted recently about how to do it: DIY Fiberglass Boat Repairs. Might be better to face the music, especially if you’re trying to keep your boat looking good for potential buyers.

Even if all the mechanicals are in great shape, the bottom is painted, and the trailer ready to roll, there’s one chore that stares almost every boater in the face every spring: getting the gelcoat up to speed. Without further ado, here’s some collected wisdom on how to get the job done, starting with two videos from Lenny Rudow and followed by a collection of other articles. All you add is the elbow grease. See you out there!

Article: Getting Tough Stains Out of Gelcoat Video below.

Article: How to Restore Faded Gel Coat on a Boat Video below.

More Resources:



  1. Rick jablin says:

    I boat on the Chesapeake bay in a power boat kept on a lift with no bottom paint. The tannins in the water stain the white bottom and make it a tea color. Is their any way to protect the untainted bottom ?

    • Doug Logan says:

      Hi Rick —

      The only thing I can suggest, aside from painting the bottom, is first to clean the tannin stains off with a mixture of muriatic acid and water, or with MaryKate On & Off hull cleaner, which is also acid-based and quite caustic to work with. Wear eye protection and gloves, use a long-handled brush, and if at all possible hose off the hull so that the acid solution doesn’t fall into the waterway. I’ve also heard that regular toilet-bowl cleaner works, but I’ve never tried it. After the bottom is clean, try applying a good marine paste wax, which should help ward off the stains a little longer than usual, and then hose off the bottom every time you lift the boat. The wax should help the rinsing process, too. Good luck.