As a boat owner, you’re no stranger to maintenance tasks. One such task is power washing, a highly effective way to keep your vessel looking its best and to protect it from damaging elements like saltwater, algae, and barnacles.
But how much does it cost to power wash a boat? Depending on geographic location and the current condition that your boat’s hull is in, you can expect to pay approximately $8-$20 per foot of length for your vessel.
This article will break down the various factors that influence the cost and help you understand what you can expect to pay.
Factors Influencing the Cost
The cost of power washing a boat is not a one-size-fits-all figure. Several factors can influence the price, including:
- Size of the Boat: As you might expect, the bigger the boat, the more it costs to power wash. Larger surfaces take more time to clean and may require more specialized equipment or techniques.
- Condition of the Boat: If your boat is relatively clean, the power washing job will be quicker and easier, therefore less expensive. However, boats with heavy algae growth, barnacles, or stubborn stains will require more time and effort to clean, which will increase the cost.
- Professional Service vs DIY: Hiring a professional to power wash your boat typically costs more than doing it yourself. However, professionals have the knowledge, experience, and equipment to do the job correctly and safely, which can save you time, effort, and potentially prevent any damage to your boat.
- Geographic Location: Prices for power washing can vary depending on where you live. For example, rates might be higher in coastal areas where boating is more popular.
Average Cost of Power Washing a Boat
With these factors in mind, you can start to get an idea of the cost to power wash a boat. After some market research, I found that the average cost of professional boat power washing ranges from $8 to $10 per foot for basic power washing. So, for a 20-foot boat, you could expect to pay between $160 and $200.
If your boat is in poor condition and requires extra attention, some professionals may charge up to $20 per foot, which would increase the cost for a 20-foot boat to around $400.
Average Cost of Power Washing a Boat:
|Boat Length (feet)
|Good Condition ($8-$10/ft)
|Poor Condition ($20/ft)
Please remember that these are approximate costs and actual prices may vary depending on the factors discussed earlier. Power washing your boat is a crucial task, but remember to do it right. If you’re not confident about doing it yourself, it’s always better to hire a professional to avoid damaging your prized possession.
A clean boat is a happy boat, and regular maintenance like power washing can ensure your vessel continues to bring you joy for years to come.
What Constitutes a Boat in “Poor Condition” for Professional Power Washing?
a boat in “poor condition” generally refers to a vessel that has been neglected in its regular maintenance and therefore has accumulated a significant amount of grime, stains, or marine growth like barnacles or algae. This could also include boats that have been left in the water for extended periods without proper cleaning, leading to a buildup of salt, sediment, or other elements that are hard to remove.
Signs of a boat in poor condition might include:
- Algae or Moss Growth: This is often green and can cover large areas of the boat’s hull. It can be slippery and may contribute to drag in the water, affecting the boat’s performance.
- Barnacles: These are small, hard, shell-like creatures that can attach themselves to the hull of the boat. They are notoriously difficult to remove and can cause damage to the boat’s surface.
- Stains or Discoloration: This could be from a variety of sources, including rust from metal components, tannins from leaves or other organic matter, or exhaust stains.
- Salt Residue: Boats that are used in saltwater and not regularly and properly rinsed can develop a crusty, white residue.
- Oxidation: This is when the boat’s paint or gel coat starts to look chalky and dull. It’s caused by the sun’s UV rays and lack of regular waxing and can make the boat look much older than it is.
- General Grime: This could be anything from bird droppings to soot or dirt that has built up over time.
Power washing is a great way to tackle these issues and bring your boat back to a better condition, but it may require more time, effort, and thus cost if the boat’s condition is particularly poor.
DIY Power Washing Costs
If you decide to power wash your boat yourself, you’ll need to invest in some equipment and supplies. You’ll need a power washer, which can range from $100 to $400 for a residential model, or you can rent one from a local home improvement store for about $50 to $100 per day.
I have a Generac power washer (Amazon) that I have been very pleased with over the last few years and it has done a great job of taking care of the boat. When I bought this power washer I wanted to have it immediately pay for itself. I bought a nozzle extender and a surface cleaner and put up ads on the local social media networks that I would power wash driveways. Within 24 hours I had two jobs lined up at $200 each and once that was done I removed the ads. The power washer was now paid for and that’s not my line of work.
You’ll also need a marine-safe cleaner (Amazon). These typically cost between $15 and $30 per bottle. Always make sure to choose a cleaner that is safe for the environment and your boat’s specific material.
Is Power Washing Worth the Cost?
Power washing is a highly effective way to maintain your boat’s appearance and prevent issues like algae and barnacle growth, which can cause damage over time. While there is a cost associated with it, regular power washing can save you money in the long run by preventing costly repairs.
However, it’s important to note that power washing should be done carefully. Incorrect power washing techniques can damage the boat’s surface, decals, and seals. If you’re not confident in doing the job yourself, it might be worth paying for a professional service to ensure the job is done correctly.
The cost to power wash a boat depends on several factors, including the size and condition of your boat, whether you hire a professional service or do it yourself, and your geographic location.
On average, you can expect to pay between $8 and $20 per foot if you hire a professional service to power wash your boat.
On the other hand, going the DIY route will require some upfront investment in equipment, but may save you money over time. Regardless of the route you choose, regular power washing is an important part of boat maintenance that can preserve your boat’s appearance and longevity.