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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 08-04-2010
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Pressure Washers

Before I had my sailboat I would borrow a gas powered pressure washer from a friend every couple of years to clean my patio. Now that I have a sailboat, and am planning to store it on the hard at a local yard that provides no cleanup services upon haulout (i.e., I need to do everything myself), it looks like my frequency of use will increase to a point where I should buy my own. My topsides could use some significant cleanup, so I'm considering going ahead and getting one in the next few days.

I realize that these things can actually cut through fiberglass if held too close, so proper use is essential. Do any of you have any other warnings or suggestions on selecting a washer, and/or tips for proper use?
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Old 08-04-2010
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Just my opinion here and others will disagree, but beyond washing the bottom when you haul the boat I see no use in a pressure washer on a boat. I have one and would not consider using it on a boat. A brush and soap will clean better and will not hurt anything. A pressure washer is a lazy approach.

Gene
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Old 08-04-2010
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I thought that yards that hauled out boats were required to pressure wash them upon getting them out of the water.
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Old 08-04-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by remetau View Post
I thought that yards that hauled out boats were required to pressure wash them upon getting them out of the water.
There is no federal law on this, and apparently no law in my state either. All I know is what the yard manager told me, which is that they do not do this, but they do provide water and electric to do my own work on the boat.
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Old 08-04-2010
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They do it out of convinience and charge you 4 hrs for it. It keeps the marine creatures that will eventuallly die and make the marine very smelly.
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Old 08-04-2010
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Hello,

IMHO, a pressure washer is a good thing to have, and handy to use on a boat. So, if you accept that premise, which washer to get. Like many things, bigger IS better. I recommend that you buy the biggest unit you can afford.

You are correct that too much pressure can and will damage fiberglass. But, the difference between a big washer and a small washer is not really pressure. The major difference is flow - the more flow in gallons per minute the better. At the same pressure (they are all adjustable) the more powerful unit will have a wider jet, which will work faster. The boat will appear a lot bigger when you are under it, and the less time spent washing it the happier you will be.

You need a gas powered unit, electric won't cut it.

Good luck,
Barry
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Old 08-04-2010
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I'd second what Barry said. Properly used, a pressure washer can save a lot of work.
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Old 08-04-2010
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A maintenance fellow used a pressure washer on the topsides of two boats in our marina and did major damage to the gel-coat within the non-skid areas--which now look like they've been sprinkled with course ground black pepper--and the tape striping on the sides of the coach-roof of one of the yachts. I think it would be a very unwise move for the sake of saving a little elbow grease with a scrub-brush and a bucket of hot water, soap and some bleach. I have been using hot soapy water mixed with bleach and followed with a ligh scrub with Zip Car Wash/Wax on the top-sides of our boat and have had very good results.

FWIW...
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Old 08-04-2010
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Any power tool, including a pressure washer, in the hands of an idiot is going to cause damage. Properly used, a pressure washer can help make short work of cleaning a boat of bird crap and such...

Don't use a pressure washer on teak. Even cautious use of one on teak is likely to strip out some of the softer wood.

Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
A maintenance fellow used a pressure washer on the topsides of two boats in our marina and did major damage to the gel-coat within the non-skid areas--which now look like they've been sprinkled with course ground black pepper--and the tape striping on the sides of the coach-roof of one of the yachts. I think it would be a very unwise move for the sake of saving a little elbow grease with a scrub-brush and a bucket of hot water, soap and some bleach. I have been using hot soapy water mixed with bleach and followed with a ligh scrub with Zip Car Wash/Wax on the top-sides of our boat and have had very good results.

FWIW...
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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

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Old 08-04-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
... Don't use a pressure washer on teak. Even cautious use of one on teak is likely to strip out some of the softer wood ...
+1 Been there, done that. Bad move.
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