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Hi - i've found you can see white on gelcoat scratches. The color is sprayed on the mold first - then either some plain before the mat. Construction may be different for different boats.

I tried every method to "restore" the color on my originally dark blue hull, including hand sanding from 400 - 1500 grit (up to finesse from 3M) and all the wiz-bang miracle cures. Nothing works like a great awlgrip job. I've had it now for 16 years and although it has gotten some scratches and dings from use, it still passes the "20 foot rule". A few tips:

Small scratches can be touched up with Awlgrip touch up - it comes in a little jar like nail polish or car touch up. Don't use the little brush. Pour a few drops on a piece of foam brush.

Awlgrip also makes a buffing compound that won't scuff up the paint job (use their really good boat wash first)

Try Jamestown Distributors for a source.
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