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Boat Waxes for Boat detailing

Boat wax is a necessary part of boat upkeep. Boat owners must protect their investment from the sun, salt, and other elements that can damage the surface. Not all boat waxes are created equal. Some are remarkably better than others.  Some would say that wax products are made using natural ingredients like carnauba. Further, suggesting that all synthetic ingredients should be considered Sealants or Polymers; This article will generally refer to "Wax" as a protectant for your boat's surface or as a synonym for carnauba wax, sealants, polymers, Si02, or ceramics. We'll go over what we think is best.

Factors To Consider When Choosing Boat Wax

You'll need to consider a few factors when choosing a boat wax. The first is the type of boat you have. Does your gel coat have chalky oxidation, watermarks, minor scratches, and other stains? If so, you may need a polish and then wax.  Most waxes are compatible with gel coats, painted surfaces, metal, and other common materials. On the other hand, some waxes are designed to tackle specific materials using a chemical makeup that matches.

Boat Wax and Cleaners, Polishes?

A Wax is designed to enhance and protect a previously polished surface. Waxes are a non-abrasive coating traditionally containing Carnauba, yet can also be sealants, polymers, Si02, or ceramics. It is formulated to protect from UV damage, provide a shine and resist staining and oxidation.   Most boat waxes may be labeled as marine wax, spray wax, or liquid wax.

A Polish removes minor surface imperfections such as scratches, watermarks, black streaks, spotting, and oxidation. This is generally accomplished through advanced micro-abrasives in the formulation.  Unlike paint, fiberglass boats have Gel coat surfaces, which are much more porous than paint; they are strong and durable but oxidize quickly when left unprotected and exposed to the elements.

A cleaner wax removes defects, restores gloss, and leaves a layer of protection like wax; these can also be called One-step cleaner wax, polish & wax, or boat cleaner wax.  Generally speaking, they combine both Polish and Wax in one formulation.  These all-in-one products claim to remove light oxidation and restore surface smoothness and minor staining while simultaneously leaving wax protection.    A problem with many cleaner waxes is that they use strong chemicals and abrasives to polish or clean the surface. These potent chemicals, which may be proprietary cleaning agents, can limit the duration of the protection (wax) provided by some of these combination products.  

Should I wax or polish my boat?  Boat cleaner wax?

Now that we understand the difference between Polish and wax, your boat may often need both done, yet it is unnecessary if the gel coat or paint is in good condition with no staining; you don't have to spend time polishing.


A boat polish is generally required to remove surface imperfections such as light oxidation, scratches, or water spots.  Wax will not remove such defects, and their protection characteristics will be minimized if applied to gel coats with those defects.
Gel coats oxidize, along with metal and painted surfaces, over time.  The trick is to maintain a good protective coating to minimize the need for polishing, reducing "elbow grease" and frequent waxing.

If you determine a polish is necessary, we recommend a separate polish followed by an application of wax, especially if you have heavy oxidation because of the probability of gaining a longer-lasting shine.  You can achieve greater long-lasting protection with the same time and effort required to apply the best boat cleaner wax by using a quality brand polish and then applying our SRD20 Graphene Spray Protectant or other quality wax of your choice. It enables each product to be more effective at what it does best by separating the prep and protect phases.

Types of Waxes for your boat's paint or gel coat

As stated above, many different formulations may be marketed as " Waxes."  Natural wax is a great way to go if you're looking for an excellent shine for your boat. It provides a deep, warm finish that will make your boat look great. However, it only lasts a few weeks up to a couple of months, so it's not the best option if you're looking for long-term protection. Sealants are a better choice if you're looking for something that will last longer. They don't provide the same depth and warmth as wax, but they're much more affordable and provide better protection against the elements. For the best of both worlds, you can opt for ceramic quartz or Si02, silica, and silicone-dioxide-based coatings (referred to as) "Ceramic."  These ceramic coatings are provided in both user and professional application versions.   Ceramics are generally more expensive than sealants or wax but offer better water repellency, durability, and improved gloss levels that rival waxes. 

Ceramic boat wax?

We recommend using a ceramic or Si02-based product for most boat owners.  This technology is offered in a sprayable consumer version and a professional-only coating; the difference is the SiO2 content and water base versus solvent base.   The solvent-based ceramics have a higher Si02 range and should be applied by an experienced professional who ordinarily polishes and prepares the boat's gel coat before application; these ceramics provide the longest-lasting protection.  This can be an expensive process.  The sprayable consumer version is offered in a spray bottle and is generally water-based and priced similarly to high-quality wax. Yet, it is easier to apply and provides much longer and more durable protection than traditional wax.

Ceramic coatings lay down a durable layer. The bond is strong and can only be removed with abrasion in the short term. This means that once a ceramic has been applied to your boat, you don't have to worry about it washing away quickly.  


We determined that most boat owners will unknowingly use cleaners that strip wax.  (We have put together a boat cleaning tutorial.)    Our durability test regarding the use of these harsh cleaners, such as nonskid deck, hull cleaners, or more powerful marine cleaners, illustrates that wax will be removed after using them, whereas

SRD20 wax for boat durability video intro

SRD20 Graphene Spray Protectant will last roughly 5-10 times longer.  Our real-world tests continually demonstrate that ceramic spray coatings can provide a greater range of protection.

SRD20 Graphene Spray Protectant provides superb protection on gel coat, paint, metal, glass, and plastic without leaving a chalky haze, such as paste wax, sealants, and polymers.

Final verdict

What are the best boat waxes?  We feel that a well-formulated, properly applied sprayable ceramic protectant is the easiest and most cost-effective way to protect and maintain the beauty of your boat's paint or gel coat.  SRD20 Graphene Spray Protectant will provide up to one year of protection in favorable conditions and is easier than applying wax or sealers.   This product can be used in direct sunlight on a hot surface and layered without issues.

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