How To Pressure Wash Your Boat

Find out which pressure washer and nozzle style is best to clean your boat in preparation for seasonal storage… and see a video example of the proper technique.

Your boat is an investment. Doesn’t matter if you bought it new or used, plan to keep it forever or sell it in a few years. The better you take care of it the more years you’ll get out of it or money you’ll get for it. Properly cleaning it – haul, motor (s) etc. goes a long way to protecting your boat investment.

You could clean it by hand – but why waste so much time and energy? Get a power washer and get the job done better, faster and with ease. With a pressure washer you could clean your 18 foot bow rider in 1 hour. I’m thinking by hand that same job, to the same quality, would take 10x that long.

What do you think?

And since the power washer you need is only $150 or so… It’s a win-win for your investment.

Which Power Washer?

An electric pressure washer with 1400 – 1900 PSI is what I would recommend. Here’s a comparison chart to show the best ones.

However, if you’re planning on doing the job far from an electrical outlet, you can get a gasoline powered washer. It’ll be more expensive, more powerful and louder but it’s an option.

Which Nozzle?

The best nozzle for the job depends on the amount of foreign material on your boat haul and motor. If there’s barnacles you may need a 0 degree nozzle. If it’s just algae a 15 or 25 degree nozzle will suffice.

Even on 1 boat you may require several different nozzles to get the job done. Therefore, I recommend a Vari nozzle.

Should You Use Chemicals to Speed Up the Job?

Yes. Using a chemical wash will speed up the job and ensure your boat is properly cleaned.

Safety Tips

  • Wear safety glasses – As a precaution for flying debris you should always wear safety classes when pressure washing.
  • Ensure the boat is properly hoisted / jacked up / secured – If you’re washing your boat while it’s on the trailer then make sure everything is secure and locked out. If you’re hoisting or jacking your boat for the wash – ensure it won’t fall off / down on top of you when washing underneath it.
  • Remove loose items – Do a once over of your boat to ensure all loose items that could fly off when pressure washing are removed or secured.

Proper Technique

Power washing your boat is no different than your car – ensure the nozzle tip is about 6 inches from the surface and hold the spray gun with 2 hands. Wash top down. Hold the spray gun perpendicular to the boat.

Here’s a video that shows how much time a pressure washer can save you (his boat has barnacles all over it).


  1. Long Island Boaters Club youtube channel. Eddie’s done some great videos – all things boating. He shows you how to prep your boat for winter storage.
  2. Some tips about boat chemicals for cleaning. Life Tips website had some good tips about which chemicals to use.
  3. Full listing of pressure washer accessories here.

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