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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.

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