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Discussion Starter #1
Am hoping someone out there who is familiar with powerwashers can tell me what PSI is a safe number for use on a boat. One of those things I never though about until I decided to buy one. Bought a nice compact one that says it can put out 1900 PSI. Thinking this might be enough to blow a hole in the topsides.

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I don't think that's a serious worry unless you use it at the narrow jet setting, when you may well dig out some sealant or caulking if you're not careful.

The $150 Canadian Tire specials with limited power are quite safe but it's slow going with them at times. Just last week it took a good 2 hours steady going to get all the mildew/staining off the nonskid of our 35 footer. Use a wider fan setting and find the ideal distance to use the wand at and you should be fine. I think they do a great job.
 

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Owner, Green Bay Packers
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You should be fine. You get up around 3000 psi and you start shredding things. Play around with the various wand nozzles (tips) and use the widest pattern that will do the job effectively.
 

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I agree

David
 

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I have a big one (3,600 psi at 4 gpm) and it will do damage.

Try to think of it like a putty knife when pointing it at things.

If you want to lift up the dirt than use that angle but don't use an angle that will dig out the sealant under a stantion or other gear.

Distance is your friend.
 

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It's not only the PSI, but also the type of nozzle you use and, most importantly, the distance you are from the fiberglass.

The guy next to me used a small, low powered, low PSI (I assume) unit. You should see the awful result. Large patches of gel coat are missing!!!

Frankly, my advice is to stay away from using any powerwasher on any place on any boat. There are safer ways to clean that do just as good a job -- perhaps with more effort, but with a lot less risk.

Larry
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all of the information. I'll use a wider pattern and hope that things go well. Should be fine - maybe I'll see if the boat next to me wants to try it out first .... ;)
 

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An Aussie Sailor
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I use one regularly on mine. Not sure what the pressure rating is. I also use it on the car paintwork without problems.
If that other guy got large patches of gelcoat coming off it must have either been a hugely powerful machine or very ordinary gelcoat.

Mychael
 

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I second the motion on using a wide spray pattern, and being mindful of distance. We're got two power washers. One is a 2300 psi gas, and I use a 40 degree nozzle on it when washing boats. Start a foot or two back, and move in until you get the desired result.

The other washer is a 1300 psi electric. It gets the job done, but more slowly because I end up using a narrower fan setting. It will do damage on straight stream -- you can write your name in a block of wood with it on straight stream.

Actually, I like the "turbo" nozzle. These spin a straight stream around in a circle, creating a cone shaped pattern. Quick cleaning, but doesn't damage the surface unless you get stupid with it.

FWIW, when I'm pressure washing a boat, I do a pressure rinse to get rid of loose dirt, then go back with non-skid deck cleaner to get the stubborn spots. By using fewer chemicals and less scrubbing, I put less soap into the environment, and I think it's easier on the gel coat in the end.

Mark
 
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