Caring for your boat

Periodic cleaning is the best way to keep your boat looking like new. Regular washing and waxing keep dirt and build-up from deteriorating the finish. If you keep your boat in showroom-new condition, then your personal satisfaction will be higher and the resale value of your boat will be greater. The boat is made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic resin material that is easy to clean and care for. Several layers of resin material are chemically bonded together to form the hull. The smooth outside surface of the hull is a layer of gel coat resin. The gel coat is a solid color that is only a few millimeters thick. Beneath the gel coat surface is a series of layers of chemical resin, fiberglass mat and woven roving. It is these layers that give the boat its strength and maintain the hull shape. The boat bottom also uses special core-mat material for its strength-to-weight and superior marine performance. Even though MasterCraft has carefully crafted boats from resilient materials, it is still the responsibility of the boat owner to perform regular and routine cleaning maintenance to ensure that the boat exterior, interior and components retain both their appearance and strength.


When washing the boat, use a mild detergent, such as Dawn or Ivory dish soap, or similar commercially-produced detergent, and warm water solution. DO NOT use abrasive cleaners, solvents, ammonia or chlorine, as these will damage the gel coat surface. Under extreme conditions, special cleaners may be used to remove marine growth from the hull. (See an authorized MasterCraft service department for further instructions.)

Occasionally washing with mild detergent and warm water or household carpet cleaners will help keep the carpet clean. Thoroughly hose the detergent out of the carpet and into the bilge. (This is a good time to clean the bilge also.) Allow the boat to remain uncovered to air dry for several days to prevent any mildew or odor caused by moisture.


Full teak platforms:
If shoes are worn when walking on the teak, they should be proper boating shoes. Black-soled shoes are likely to scuff the surface, resulting in marks that may be difficult to remove or even leave permanent marks that are not covered under warranty. Regular cleaning and oiling of teak wood will maintain its original appearance. Unprotected wood will turn gray and could split or separate. If this happens it may void the warranty.

New teak platforms have been sealed and finished with an oil-based, wood preservative by the manufacturer. Platforms will keep the new look and last for many, many years if properly maintained. For best results re-oil the platform and allow it to dry before the first use. If the boat spends a lot of long weekends on the lake with the swim platform in the water or if the platform sits uncovered in the sun, it should be oiled one or two times a month during the first season; then as needed after that. The platform should be covered when not in use or when stored for the winter. Many products such as boiled linseed oil, tongue oil, teak oil and other outdoor wood preservatives can be found at marinas, paint stores or home improvement stores. Some oils such as linseed oil should be thinned with a thinner like mineral spirits before use. (70 percent oil-30 percent thinner.) When oiling a platform, apply a coat of oil with a wet cloth, work into the seams, end grain and edges. Allow the oil to set approximately 15 minutes and then wipe off the excess oil with a dry cloth. Do not let the oil dry on the platform in the sun. Excess oil should be removed with a dry cloth.


AquaTrac platforms:
AquaTrac should be handled only with clean hands. Oil, grease or dirt may leave permanent imprints on the surface. Whenever possible, keep the platform covered when the boat is not in use. It should be stored dry. Spills: Scoop or scrape up as much of the spill as possible, followed by a thorough blotting of the remaining spotting with a dry, clean cloth. If cloth is not available, paper towels are an acceptable substitute. Non-oil Based Stains: Create a detergent solution by adding 1/4” (one-quarter inch) teaspoon of liquid dish detergent to one (1) cup of warm water. Apply the solution to the affected area (do not scrub) and blot with a dry, clean cloth. Repeat the process until the stain stops transferring to the cloth. If the stain still appears on the platform, apply the solution to the area and allow it to stand for 2-5 (two-to-five) minutes. Then rinse with clear, clean water.


Oil-Based Stains:
Apply naphtha-based (hydrocarbon petroleum) solvent or mineral spirits to the affected area and follow the instructions on the solvent container. Use care when using such solvent cleaners as directed on the container instructions as there may be health matters to consider when using these solvents. Always work from the outside into the center of the stain. Do not scrub! If stains still appear, the surface may be restored by lightly sanding the area with 24-36 grit sandpaper. The sanded area will probably appear slightly lighter than the rest of the platform but should blend into the overall color in time.

Fiberglass Swim Platform

The fiberglass swim platform requires the same kind of regular—and gentle—cleaning that the rest of the boat needs. After cleaning off any environmental debris, wash with mild soap and warm water. Avoid the use of ArmorAll or similar types of rubber-shine products as these will speed the decay of the rubber rather than protecting it.


In cleaning tempered glass windshields, the normal glass cleaners (from spray bottles or aerosol cans) work best. While the glass is very strong, it can be scratched if anything abrasive is used. Harsh chemicals or solvents should be avoided because they may affect the vinyl gaskets or powder-coated finish on the extrusions.

Anondized Aluminum

Certain precautions must be taken when cleaning anodized aluminum surfaces. Aluminum finishes must first be identified to select the appropriate cleaning method. Aggressive alkaline or acid cleaners must never be used. Cleaning hot, sun-heated surfaces should be avoided since possible chemical reactions will be highly accelerated and cleaning non-uniformity could occur. Strong organic solvents, while not affecting anodized aluminum, may extract stain-producing chemicals from sealants and may affect the function of the sealants. Strong cleaners should not be used where it is possible for the cleaner to come in contact with the anodize aluminum. Excessive abrasive rubbing should not be used since it could damage the finish.

For light soils, the simplest procedure is to flush the surface with water using moderate pressure. If soil is still present after air-drying the surface, scrubbing with a brush or sponge and concurrent spraying with water should be tried. If soils still adhere, than a mild dish detergent cleaner should be used with brushing or sponging. Following the washing the surfaces must be thoroughly rinsed by spraying with clean water. For heavy surface soils may require the use of an abrasive cleaning pad. In this procedure the pad is thoroughly soaked with clean water or a mild dish detergent cleaner and the metal surface is hand scrubbed with uniform pressure. Scrubbing action should be in the direction of the metal grain.. After scrubbing, the surface should be rinsed thoroughly with clean water to remove all residues. Do not use window cleaners containing ammonia!

Cleaning products:
Mild Soaps and Detergents and Non-Etching Cleaners (defined by a ph range of 5.0-8.0)

Aluminum Cleaner HC-22 – Klenzade Products
Division of Economic Labs Beloit, WI

AMS # 35 – Aluminum Maintenance Systems, Inc.
22951 LaVadena Drive Laguna Hills, CA 92563

Cascade/ Ivory Liquid /Ivory Snow/Joy
The Proctor and Gamble Company Thrill P.O. Box 599 Cincinnati, OH


Clepo 83-M – Frederick Gumm Chemical Company, Inc.
538 Forest Street Kearny, NJ

Fels Soap Granules – Fels & Company Division
Purex Corporation 73rd & Woodland Avenue Philadelphia, PA

Fleetline JC-5 – Oakite Products, Inc.
50 Valley Road Berkeley Heights, NJ Ridisol 521® – Achem Products, Inc. 300 Brookside Avenue Ambler, PA


The material used in constructing Bimini tops and boat covers is made from 100 percent solutiondyed polyester fiber with a urethane coating to provide excellent water repellency and mildew resistance. This design allows the material to be easily maintained. By following a few simple care and cleaning steps, the fabric will continue to look good and maintain its fine qualities for seasons to come.

Background Information
Because the fabrics are woven, they are breathable. It’s also important to know that these fabrics are treated with a fluorocarbon finish, which enhances water repellency. This finish requires replenishment after vigorous cleaning.


Polyester fabric will not support the growth of mildew. Mold and mildew need something on which to grow and polyester fabric is not a desirable substance for such growth. Dirt or dust on the fabric, however, is a perfect source for mildew growth, which makes regular cleaning of the fabric important. There is no set time for when the fabric should be cleaned, and the local environment has a great deal to do with determining cleaning frequency. Cleaning is required less frequently in a dry environment than in a humid one where heavy foliage exists.
The material has an applied finish that deters mold and mildew growth, but it does not make it mold-proof. Keeping the fabric free of dirt and foreign substances is important in deterring mold growth.
One of the best ways to keep the material looking fresh and new, and to delay the need for deep or vigorous cleaning, is to hose off fabrics with clear water on at least a monthly basis with clear water. This practice will help prevent dirt from becoming deeply embedded in the fabric, and it will eliminate the need for more frequent and more vigorous cleanings. In most environments, a thorough cleaning will be needed approximately every two (2) years. The fabric can be cleaned while still in the boat. When cleaning, it is important to observe the following:
• Always use a natural soap—never detergent.
• Water should be cold to lukewarm, but never more than 100 degrees.
• Air dry only. Never apply heat to the fabric.
Begin by brushing off loose dirt, and then hose down the material. Prepare a cleaning mixture of water and a mild, natural soap that is free of detergents. Use a soft-bristle brush to clean, allowing the soap to soak in. Rinse thoroughly and allow the fabric to thoroughly air dry. If stubborn stains persist, you can use a diluted chlorine bleach/soap mixture for spot cleaning of mildew, roof run-off and other similar stains. Please keep in mind that chlorine bleach will not change the color of the fabric, but chlorine bleach will eventually break down the fiber of any fabric. Therefore, this cleaning method should be used as infrequently as possible. The cleaning mixture should be mixed as follows:
• Four ounces (one-half cup) of chlorine bleach.
• Two ounces (one-fourth cup) of natural soap.
• One gallon of water. Clean with a soft-bristle brush and allow the mixture to soak no longer than twenty (20) minutes. Rinse thoroughly and allow to completely air dry. Repeat if necessary. If the top or boat cover is suitable in size for a washing machine, these steps should be followed:
• Use only natural soaps—no detergent.
• Wash and rinse in cold water.
• Air dry. (Never put the fabric in a dryer.)
As part of the finishing process, the material has been treated with a fluorocarbon finish, which enhances water repellency. This finish is designed to last for several years, but it must be replenished after a thorough cleaning. Based on test results, the manufacturer recommends 303 High Tech Fabric Guard™ as the preferred re-treatment product. After cleaning and air drying, apply 303 in a thin, even coat. When it has dried, apply a second thin, even coat. These two (2) light coatings are more effective in restoring fabric water resistance than a single heavy coating. Keep in mind that 303 High Tech Fabric Guard™ will work only as well as it is applied. This means that the fabric must be free of dirt and detergents or the Fabric Guard will wash away with the dirt particles. Fabrics should be retreated after thorough cleaning or after five (5) years of use.

Enclosed Head

An option on some models is the enclosed, portable head. This convenience should be emptied on-shore within an acceptable holding tank, septic system or sewer. It should never be emptied within the boating body of water or on-shore, except in an approved receptacle! The head should be cleaned after each outing. After thoroughly cleaning with a mild detergent, add a neutralizing chemical made especially for portable heads, such as that found in RV centers. The neutralizing chemical will help deal with potential odors that might otherwise be foul.


While the vinyl is made to withstand the elements, it is important to care for vinyl by keeping it clean at all times. Many substances may stain the vinyl if left untreated over a period of time. Remember to remove any contaminant and clean vinyl immediately. Regular washing with mild detergent (see attached information) and warm water or vinyl cleaners is sufficient to keep the cushion and vinyl coverings in good condition. Do not soak the cushion, and dry thoroughly after washing to prevent mildew accumulations when the boat is covered. Spray the cushions with a mildew repellent and prop them up in the boat when it is covered to take advantage of air circulation. MasterCraft vinyl is made to withstand the effects of sun, heat, acid rain and soiling, under normal conditions, but this does not preclude the cleaning requirements. Please consult the following cleaning recommendations before cleaning your upholstery.

Certain household cleaners, powdered abrasives, steel wool, and industrial cleaners may cause damage and discoloration, and are not recommended for use. Dry cleaning fluids and lacquer solvents should not be used as they will remove the printed pattern and gloss. Waxes are not recommended, as many contain dyes and solvents that can permanently damage the vinyl’s protective coating. In some instances, consumers have reported the appearance of a pink stain on vinyl that is resistant to various cleaning methods. Although there can be other causes for pink staining in vinyls, most pink stains are caused by dyes produced by micro-organisms. These dyes are metabolic products of the micro-organisms, otherwise known as a form of fungi. It is virtually impossible for consumers to avoid these micro-organisms as they exist in the atmosphere, which are more prevalent in high-humidity areas. Rain cleanses the air, with the result being that the micro-organisms are deposited on items such as marine vinyl. While the vinyl is treated to resist the growth of micro-organisms (meaning the vinyl is not a food source), the stain results from failure to properly clean and maintain the vinyl. This means that after use, the upholstery must be cleaned with a soft brush and warm soapy water, followed by a thorough rinse with clean water. This situation is worsened if the boat is stored without proper ventilation or if the boat cover is put on while the vinyl is still wet, creating a situation in which all forms of fungi (mold and mildew) thrive.
Failure to follow these instructions in the proper care of upholstery may cause your warranty to be voided!
The cleaning table presented in this section is offered only as a suggestion and as an aid in attempting to deal with stains. We do not guarantee that the cleaning methods will work. Stains from any external source are unlikely to be covered by warranty. All of the products listed as recommended are especially good for routine care. Subsequent to publication we have been advised that 303 Fabric/Vinyl CleanerTM is, followed up by 303 High Tech Fabric GuardTM, highly recommended as a result of testing by the upholstery manufacturer.

Additional Upholstery
Cleaning Information

The following information refers to the performance of the upholstery product in specific tests conducted under laboratory conditions. Results may vary under actual conditions. This information is not a guarantee and does not relieve the user from the responsibility of the proper and safe use of the product and all cleaning agents. The use of certain agents can be harmful to the surface appearance and lifespan of the vinyl. The vinyl manufacturer and MasterCraft assume no responsibility resulting from the use of such cleaning agents to the vinyl. Please check compatibility when using this product in combination with painted or varnished surfaces.

Recommended Products

MasterCraft Vinyl Dressing Vinyl Finish Vinyl Cleaner Mild Dish Soap 303 High Tech Fabric Guard™ 303 Fabric and Vinyl Cleaner™


Common Stains Steps 1 2 3
General care A  B
Dirt build-up  A B
Ballpoint ink* B A
Chewing gum B A
Coffee, tea, chocolate B A
Grease C B A
Household soil A B
Ketchup A B
Latex paint A B
Lipstick C A B
Mildew or wet leaves* B A
Motor oil C B A
Oil-based paint C B A
Permanent marker* B A
Spray paint B A
Suntan lotion* A B
Tar/asphalt C B A
Yellow mustard A B
* Always remove stains immediately. Upholstery must be kept CLEAN AND DRY!

A = Medium soft brush, with warm soapy water. Rinse and dry.
B = 303 Fabric and Vinyl Cleaner. Rinse and dry.
C = Wipe or scrape off excess (chill gum with ice before starting).

All cleaning methods must be followed by a thorough rinse with clean, warm water. Failure to care for your vinyl properly, or the use of improper cleaners may void your warranty, as well as damaging your vinyl. Certain household cleaners, powdered abrasives, steel wool, and solvent cleaners can cause damage and discoloration and are not recommended. Dry cleaning fluids and lacquer solvents should not be used as they will remove printed pattern and gloss. Waxes should be used with caution as many contain dyes or solvents that can permanently damage the protective coating. Do not clean with power washers as they can generate 3,500 P.S.I. and could damage the surface of your interior. Do not use kerosene, gasoline or acetone, as they will remove the protective marine top coat. Do not use any silicone-based protectants. They will extract the plasticizer, leaving vinyl hard and brittle, and eventually cracking will occur. Your satisfaction is directly related to regular care of the upholstery! Vinyl upholstery should be covered when not in use to protect from further sun exposure, tree debris, air pollutants and acid rain. For storage, vinyl should be cleaned, protected, covered and stored in a dry, well-ventilated area.