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How to Restore Gel Coat on a Boat Easily Even If You are a Newbie

Written by J. Harvey / Fact checked by S. Numbers

how to restore gelcoat on a boat

Most first-time boat owners and newbies in boat gel coat restoration find this tutorial perfect! They learn these useful steps to restore boat gel coats with high confidence.

These are your options to make your boat appear brand new. Make it your topmost edge as a boat gel coat restorer. Contrary to people’s thoughts of a boring process, restoring an oxidized gel coat is exciting because you get to see your boat’s new life shine. So, read on to grasp how to restore gel coat on a boat.

4 Steps to Restore Gel Coat on a Boat


Step 1. Clean up any surface dirt.

  • Wash oxidized boat surfaces using a diluted marine boat cleanser to eliminate surface grime.
  • Rinse using marine boat cleaners that leave no residue and are environment-friendly instead of using high sulfonate elements.
  • Use a chelating non-skid cleanser for molded-in non-skid surfaces that are difficult to clean.
  • Inspect for damage after taking off the surface debris.
  • Look for fractures around the braces or other places that may indicate a structural issue.
  • Consult a professional when you need to repair any surface scrapes or gouges to prevent causing any damages.

Step 2. Get rid of the spots.

  • Remove mineral and organic stains using stain removers that are acid-based.
  • Wear protective gloves and goggles before application. Keep the stain removers away from the paint, lacquer, or electrical surfaces, to avoid dulling these surfaces.
  • Check for general stains from air pollution by dabbing some stain remover over a different clean area. Allow the gel to sit for 20 minutes before rinsing it off. When whites get whiter and colors brighten it means it’s only a general stain.
  • When eliminating any of them becomes difficult, use removers designed for certain kinds of stains.

Step 3. Clear the worn-out surfaces and revive the luster.

  • Use a rubbing polish compound to smooth the pitted surface of the porous gel-coat in shining it up.
  • Rub it over the surface, by hand or a rotary polisher, until it is smooth and glossy.
  • Spread it carefully in one area for a uniformed boat’s gel coating thickness. Prevent the polish from penetrating further into the gel coat.
  • Rub until the gel coat finish starts to shine like its original mirror sheen.
  • Once you finish with the compound, do the next stage of polishing. Repeat the procedure until you achieve a mirror shine.

Step 4. Wax and seal the gel coat to preserve the sheen.

  • Apply wax to the areas of the gel coat in a circular motion using a rotary buffer and a high-quality pad.
  • Continue applying the solution without exposing it to direct sunlight until you’ve covered a significant portion of the boat.
  • Make sure to rub away excess wax using a clean buffing pad.
  • Allow it to haze somewhat before removing using a polisher equipped with a wax sealant pad for a fresh, smooth, and clear finish.

Seven Essential Gel Coat Restoration Solutions


1. Presto!

This is a high-quality remedy for your white and faded fiberglass surfaces. The tiny container can revitalize a 400-square-meter dull area for a more beautiful shine, while preventing yellow stain formation.

It has a non-flaring composition that guarantees the safe repair of your boat. Professionals in the boating industry praised its benefits and endurance for years. Restoring your boat’s luster damaged by chemicals with only one application becomes easy without waxing or polishing.

The solution leaves a protective coating against sun damage and withstands extended exposure to direct sunlight. It is difficult to remove when applied since it enters the pores of the surfaces and offers a long-lasting sheen.

Though it has its drawbacks like absence of sun protection and being a bit pricey, its small amount goes for a lot of applications.

2. 3M’s 36102 Boat Gel Coat Restorer

This gel coat restorer has a heavy-duty composition to deal with severe oxidation and weathered spots. Boaters like how it produces a professional-looking sheen without requiring too much time or money.

It offers a low-cost method of restoring your boat’s oxidized coat. Due to the wetness that remains for a considerable time, it only requires a small amount to get a pleasant luster finish. The heavy-duty composition allows you to get rid of stains and even skip the polishing.

It guarantees application to be safe and soft on the surfaces you desire to treat. Though its dazzling shine may become a bit of a downside as it requires numerous applications. It works well in hot conditions and makes cleaning tasks quick and uncomplicated.

3. Poli Glow

This gel coat formula restores your boat’s brilliance and leaves layers of protection against sun damage. It is a solvent-free polymer that efficiently and deeply seeps into the fiberglass. Rookie sailors prefer its fast and ease of application.

The restorer eliminates chalking and oxidation while giving a brilliant shine and finish along with UV damage protection. The showroom-like luster lasts a year. Plus, it does not leave yellow blemishes or flake off.

It’s downsides include the need for over four applications to polish a surface. Taking it off may be annoying as well. Make sure you use the glove that comes with the product to ease the application.

4. Owatrol Boat Fiberglass Gel Coat Restorer

This Owatrol gel coat restorer has a one-of-a-kind oil formulation that prevents drying and penetrates through the surface. I find this easy to use with pleasing functionality even during my first trial.

Its benefits include restoring a brand new-like appearance and penetrating deeply into the surface that needs mild buffing for a dazzling finish. Its strong composition can revert the original color of your boat, even if you have damaged it for years.

An effective fiberglass gel-coat restorer that deals with oxidation faster than any other product. It works great on plastic, stone, fiberglass, and paint surfaces, leaving a layer of protection against oxidation and other problems. However, it is not recommended for white-colored gel coats or glass surfaces.

5. McKee’s Polisher

Professional boaters like its mild, decreasing abrasive and two-in-one capability, which shines and preserves surfaces. Many boaters praise this kit’s compatibility for almost all types of surfaces.

It has benefits that include scraping away stains while being gentle on the surfaces. In general, it is an effective oxidation remover with polish and wax elements that comes with three microfiber cloths to ease application. With its high-duty oxidation remover, you can wipe away severe oxidation, blemishes, scratches, and other stains. Use this formula to polish and protect your boat!

Though it is ineffective to treat metal surfaces, it complements my need for additional wax protectants against any damages.

For more details, check out this video.

6. MEGUIAR’S M-4965

Thye M-4965 product restores the brand-new appearance of your boat in three steps. You do not have to spend a big sum of money to get this high-end solution. In the first stage, the oxidized coat remover aids in eliminating tough stains, including water lines, oxidation, marks, and blemishes.

Professionals prefer this affordable solution for fiberglass gel coat restoration. It removes unwanted stains with its oxidation remover features. The product has wax elements that protect the finish against possible harm or damages as well.

Safe to use on any surfaces except for white gel coats, which are not recommended for treatment with this formula. You may also need additional applications to satisfy positive effects.

7. 3M’s 09005

The 09005 model is an affordable solution that removes severe stains while polishing and waxing boat surfaces. Boat experts attest to its capacity to enhance a fiberglass luster suffering from oxidative damage.

This brand eliminates severe oxidation from boats’ exterior surfaces with its combined compounding and polishing features. Best of all, it leaves a finish that protects against UV light damage in just one application. The packaging also comes in various bottle sizes for any boater requirements. But it’s wax protection may not last long, which is a downside and may require more frequent applications.

Also, here is a summary list of the most trusted Gelcoat restore for your reference.

Last Thoughts

Your boat may get dull over time, and continuous usage makes it difficult to know how to restore gel coat on a boat. Using the finest gel-coat restorer on this tutorial, you can resolve it and regain your boat’s luster. Preserving the boat’s beauty as if no dirt, marine deposits, and stains have ever landed on its surfaces.

Maintain the best possible look for your marine boat with this tutorial on how to restore gelcoat on a boat that offers practical solutions. Most importantly, you’ll be able to rekindle your passion for more marine navigation and enjoy a better boating experience.

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