It’s been a long, long winter. Way too long, and way too cold. Those of us living here in the Mid-Atlantic region are wondering if we inadvertently moved to Minnesota, and as for you folks who have always lived in Minnesota, welcome to the Arctic Circle.

And the worst thing about this awful cold and snow? Our boats’ topsides are taking a beating. Every inch of fiberglass that isn’t protected by shrink wrap has gone dull and chalky—and now’s the time to do something about it.

how to shine up your boat's gelcoat with a power buffer

Having a shiny boat is more than a vanity, it’s a maintenance must.

Having a shiny boat is more than a vanity, it’s a maintenance must. If you allow that chalky surface to go untreated it’ll get worse and worse, until heavy oxidation ruins the finish. The solution? You need to restore that faded gelcoat right away, then protect it with a thick coat of wax. The process isn't as tough as some would have you believe—as long as you do the job now, before deep oxidation sets in. Watch How to Restore Faded Gel Coat on a Boat, for a blow-by-blow of the process.

Now that you've put in the elbow grease, are there still a few tough stains that refuse to come out? Often, rust streaks and similar discolorations can’t be removed with rubbing and buffing alone. You’ll need to pull out the right type of cleaner to get this job done, and we’ll show you how in Getting Tough Stains Out of Gel Coat.

Now, let’s say your boat needs a new paint job. Remember, the most important part of the process is the prep work. Check out How to Prep a Boat for Painting, to see how the job gets done right. Then take a look at How to Paint a Boat to get the rest of the story.

Okay folks, this horrid winter of worsening weather is almost behind us. Warm weather is just around the corner. Hang tough, Minnesotans and Annapolitans alike. Soon the 146 feet of snow we've seen the past few months will be nothing but a distant memory, and we'll once again launch our shiny boats and enjoy sunny days on the water.