Boat Detailing Cost: Everything You Need to Know

As we finally make our way into summer, people will start to head for the closest body of water to cool off. There’s just nothing like getting on your boat and enjoying the open water!

However, if you own a boat, you might want to start detailing it. What does detailing your boat mean, you ask?  And how much does boat detailing cost? 

Well, this is where the article comes in handy. It’s here to answer all your questions about detailing, why you should do it, and how much you expect to pay.

So read on and learn more about boat detailing below!

What Does Boat Detailing Mean?

Boat detailing is keeping your boat in ship shape. It’s a maintenance process that makes sure the vessel is clean and clear of any issues such as rust.

First Look

The owner initiates the process when they take it to professionals, who first have a look at the boat and see if there are any problems.

After they complete their analysis, they start by cleaning every single part of the boat thoroughly. Which, of course, includes the topside and the hull. 

Detailing Process

This process usually takes some time since the team cleans off the boat’s dust, sand, dirt, and salt by hand, using water, soap, and other materials. 

Salt removal is a must as it prevents corrosion and the formation of rust, which is a big deal when it comes to marine vessels.

The team also inspects the boat’s hull, attending to anything there like barnacle removal. The boat’s seating arrangements get cleaned, making it suitable for use, whether by the owner or his guests afterward.

Post Cleaning

After finishing the cleaning phase, it’s time to repair any rust damage, if there is any. Finally, the team polishes and waxes the boat.

Further Repair 

According to the owner’s request, the team can add a chemical layer to protect the boat from external elements. Such as oxidation or direct sunlight damage.

This process brings the boat back to life visually. It also refurbishes it and makes it water-worthy again.

How Much Does Boat Detailing Cost?

Cleaning and detailing your boat isn’t an easy task, and several things come into consideration when looking at costs.

For example, the boat’s detailing is done by hand and will need an experienced team. That’s not considering the different materials to clean it from top to bottom.

The Pros Cost More

A crew of professionals knows what they’re doing, which isn’t cheap. That said, it’s better to trust a team of that caliber instead of an inexperienced one that might do more damage.

Larger Ship = More Cost

Another thing to consider is that ships/boats vary in size and condition.

The cost of detailing them will eventually reflect accordingly. Essentially, the larger the boat, the bigger the price tag, and the more work it needs, the more you’ll need to spend.

Nobody likes overpaying for a service, but pricing differs from one company to another. 

A company can charge between $10 to $40 per foot, while another charges $20 to $75 per foot. 

Some companies only offer cleaning the boat from the outside. Others offer to clean the boat’s furniture and apply extra layers of protection. 

That includes hydrophobic chemicals or ceramic coatings that prevent oxidation.

Do Your Research

It’s important to research different companies that you’d like to hire. Figure out why you’re hiring them too. 

Check reviews, pricing, and their staff’s experience to see if they’re worth your hard-earned money.

How Long Does It Take To Get a Boat Detailed?

The size of your boat is a factor in the time it takes to clean it. The crew assigned to it will go over every nook and cranny, which takes some time.

Fully detailing a boat can take anything between hours to a few days. Unfortunately, that’s due to the drying and buffing processes, which are the biggest culprits when it comes to durations. 

For example, if the boat is drying while the sun is setting, it’ll need a few hours to complete the process. 

On the other hand, if it’s drying at noon, the direct sunlight and the heat speed up the process.

How to Detail Your Boat Yourself

There is a way for you to save some money and forgo hiring a crew to detail your ship. That said, you’re going to have to do everything yourself. 

Another thing that you need to consider is that you need to research a few things. Such as what materials you should use not to damage your boat.

Considering that you’re on your own, you’ll be able to clean the boat, but you should leave repairing rust and other issues to the professionals.

To clean your boat, you’ll need to:

  1. First, bring your boat out of the water, where you have access to clean water, your equipment, and cleaning materials.
  2. You’ll want to clean the hull, then move your way to the boat’s topside.
  3. Rinse the hull with a pressurized water sprayer, and wash off any dirt, sand, or salt.
  4. Then while using your preferred boat soap, scrub the hull and brush it gently. Don’t use dish soap or regular soap because it will damage the boat’s hull and remove its wax.
  5. Use the water to rinse off the soap to have a clean surface.
  6. Now, it’s time to dry the hull completely. Using a high-absorbing towel, dry the hull as best as you can.
  7. Once done, it’s time to buff, polish, and wax your hull. 
  8. Finally, add sealant to the bottom of the hull to keep it pristine. Remember to use materials and substances that work well with boats.

That’s your hull done. You now need to move to the boat’s topside and clean it in the same manner.

Why You Should Consider Detailing Your Boat

Detailing a boat isn’t cheap, and as you can see, it’s a lot of work. That said, it’s a must when owning a boat.

In fact, boat owners will detail their boats several times throughout the year. They repeat the process to make sure that their boat is clean and well maintained.

It Lives Longer

Boat detailing prolongs the vessel’s lifespan and keeps it durable, looking fresh, and new. 

It’s also great to see your boat clean and in good working condition, similar to how you feel after getting your car washed.

Environmentally Conscious

Another reason to consider detailing is protecting the bodies of water. If you use your same boat and move it from one body of water to another, you may be taking a few harmful bacteria and creatures along for the ride.

You won’t see some of these harmful creatures by the naked eye, so an intense detailing of your boat is necessary. Thankfully, that removes them from your vessel, and a good drying kills them.

Extra Perks

It’s an expensive yet vital investment that the owner needs to make but will reap the benefits from later.

That said, if the owner decided to sell it later in its life, for whatever reason, the boat’s value doesn’t diminish as much, thanks to its good state.


It’s crucial to maintain your boat’s upkeep, even if you’re not using it. Boat detailing is an investment to keep your boat well maintained and retain its value for longer.

So if you intend to take the leap, remember to research the companies you’d like to work with and choose accordingly.

If you’re thinking of doing it yourself, be prepared for some work and some boat-specific materials you’ll need to buy.

If you intend to boat in a different location than you usually do, detail the boat to protect it. Don’t forget to have fun!

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