This varies with the make and model of the pressure washer... pressure washers are rated in PSI for their maximum output using a 0˚ nozzle, and the electric ones are fairly weak, usually around 1400-1700 PSI, with some of the better gasoline powered ones reaching as high as 2500-3000 PSI.
Using a rotary turbo nozzle, like the ones described here
, will do a pretty good job of scrubbing/washing the topsides, deck and bottom. However, it will strip ablative paint pretty damn fast too.
In general, avoiding things like hatches and portlights with a pressure washer, unless you're a good distance away, using a fairly low power tip, is a good idea.
Teak should be avoided as I said previously, as most pressure washers will strip the softer wood and leave the raised grain, leading to a need to sand the teak more often.
For a total newbie like me (who does not currently own a boat, nor has ever used a pressure washer), what is a safe distance, and safe nozzle? Can you give some guidelines for safe pressure washer usage on the various parts of a fiberglass boat? I was considering buying a pressure washer if I ever get someone to accept my offer on a boat.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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