How to Make an Old Boat Look New

How to Make an Old Boat Look New

Written by Boatsetter Team
March 29, 2022

Over time, boats tend to start looking worn and outdated from the wear and tear of being exposed to the natural elements and the salty ocean waters. However, if you love your old boat and want to keep it, several options help you make your boat look new and refreshed. Regardless of size, updating, restoration, and cleaning, older boats enables you to transform your boat into the boat of your dreams.

Additionally, if you do not yet own a boat, there may be some benefits to buying an older boat (be sure to read Is Owning a Boat a Good Investment?), fixing it up to your standards, and making it appear brand new.

Own a Boat? Learn How to Offset the Cost of Ownership by Listing on Boatsetter

Benefits of Making an Old Boat Look New

Restoring a boat.

One major benefit of restoring an older boat is that the cost is far less than if you were to buy a brand-new boat.

Restoring an older boat also helps preserve the boat’s history. A lot of older boat models hold a unique history or classic style. Write down any history, print out articles, or frame photos about the boat and keep them with the boat or hang them on the cabin walls to proudly display the boat’s unique history.

Another benefit of restoring an older boat is customizing it to include what you want. Instead of buying pre-manufactured designs or paying extra out of pocket for upgrades, you can choose which upgrades you like and which ones you do not need.

How Do You Restore Color on a Boat?

Over time, salt water, sun, and normal wear and tear can leave a boat’s finish looking dull. When your boat no longer looks as bright and colorful as the day you first launched it, it can look new again using various restorative materials and products while continuing with general maintenance and care.

Before starting to work on restoring the color of your boat, it is best to wash and clean it. If the boat has not been cleaned in a while, you may be amazed at how fresh and bright it looks once all the dirt, grime, salt, grease, and ocean debris are removed.

If not routinely cleaned, boats can experience premature aging, appearing dull and dingy. Use proper cleaners designed for each part of your boat, including fiberglass and aluminum.

Waxing boat exterior.

If cleaning the boat is not enough to restore its original luster, the next step is to wax and buff the surface. A power buffer can help remove stubborn stains, and the wax can help brighten colors.

How Do I Update the Interior of my Boat?

Updating the interior of a boat can help give it a fresh look, often making it appear new again. When wanting to update the look of your boat’s interior, there are several options available:

  1. You need to start with deep cleaning the interior, getting into all the cracks and crevices.
  2. Remove all mildew, salt crust, and clean up dirty upholstery, floors, ceilings, walls, and countertops.
  3. Wash all hatches and windows, and treat all wood with the appropriate oil, varnish, and wax.

You can also install more interior lights to brighten things up or swap old light bulbs for newer, brighter LED bulbs. LED rope lights are also a great addition to changing a boat’s interior look while adding light. Places to install lights include under counters, walkways, between panels, and around hatches.

Boat interior bedding.

Changing out old sheets and comforters with new, higher-quality bedding will make sleeping areas cozier but also help freshen up the boat’s interior. It may even help to change the bed for a new memory foam mattress or add a mattress pad to prevent condensation and increase comfort when in the cabin. Another option is to reupholster the boat’s interior or change the look by adding new throw pillows and blankets. A brightly colored rug can also change the look, refreshing the area without costing too much.

Freshening up the head by adding color and brightly colored towels can quickly transform a dark bathroom. A decorative wall-mounted soap dispenser and air freshener can also help change the look and feel of the boat’s bathroom.

Changing things out in the galley area of the interior can help create a sparkling new look. Replace rusted and dull faucets, add colorful dish towels, pick non-breakable dishware and glasses with fun patterns, install over-the-sink chopping board and stove covers, and install custom racks for storage.

Finally, add fresh paint to the walls, then hang mirrors, art, photos, and souvenirs to create a beautiful space. Privacy curtains also help add color while keeping the sunlight out for afternoon naps and preventing nosey neighbors from looking in.

Ultimately, have fun with your boat’s interior by adding color and items to personalize it to you and your boating journeys.

Should I Hire a Restoration Company to Fix Up My Boat?

Restoring a boat can be very time-consuming and requires several unique tools and expertise. If you are comfortable with your restoration skills and have the means to repair your boat on your own, it might be a fun project to undertake. However, if you lack the required skills, do not have the time, or do not have the proper tools, it might be good to hire a restoration company to do the work for you. The company you hire will do everything to your specifications and help make your boat look new again.

While waiting for your boat restoration project to be complete, take time to get out on the water on a local boat rental. Boatsetter offers boat rentals, fishing charters, and captained tours helping you get on the water while waiting for your boat to be ready to set sail.

Earn an Average of $20,000 or More by Listing Your Boat for Rent on Boatsetter

Browse by experience

Explore articles