One of the most convenient ways to wash a boat is on a rack. Marinas across the United States, and in particular dry storage marinas, are equipped with a multitude of wash racks. No matter if you run a vessel in freshwater or saltwater, keeping the boat clean is essential. Additionally, boaters often need to wash the vessel after it has been stored in the racks. Needless to say, marina dry rack stacks are dirty. Here is what you need to know about the importance of a boat wash rack. 

What Is A Boat Wash Rack

A boat washdown rack is similar to the bunk of a trailer. The hull of the vessel rests on two beams extending from the stern towards the bow. Importantly, a wash rack allows boat owners to access all areas of the vessel to ensure a thorough cleaning. 

How Are Boats Placed On A Wash Rack

Without question, a forklift is required to place a vessel on a wash rack. Most often, boats are pulled from the water after a day of use and placed on a rack for cleaning. 

Forklift operators navigate tight spaces in marinas, especially during the weekend. The task of safely lifting a boat, staying clear of pedestrians, and driving in close proximity to vessels is undoubtedly a challenge. 

I have become frustrated waiting for a cleaning rack, but understand that the quantity of racks is limited. Additionally, forklift operators are busy pulling boats from storage and setting them in the water. 

With that being said, don’t rush the marina crew. The last thing you want is your boat damaged while it is being maneuvered and placed on a rack by a forklift. 

What Other Functions Do Wash Racks Serve For Boaters

In addition to a rack providing excellent access for a thorough washdown, they are equally as effective for performing maintenance.

Look, boats require routine service and occasionally have unexpected problems. With that being said, you need a place to make repairs as needed. Wash racks allow boat owners to perform maintenance to keep the vessel in good working order. 

It should be mentioned that marina dockmasters won’t be pleased if you’re tying up a wash rack for hours. I suggest performing maintenance on weekdays. Blocking out a wash rack on a busy weekend will create a backup and make fellow boaters unhappy. 

What Equipment Is Positioned Near Boat Washdown Racks

I’ll be honest: the marina does not provide much when it comes to equipment needed to detail your boat. 

Equipment Provided By The Marina

First, you can always expect a hose to be within close proximity of the racks. However, more often than not, the hoses have holes and are without a nozzle. I suggest having, at a minimum, a nozzle on hand. 

In addition to a hose, ladders are readily available. The ladder is necessary to climb into and out of your boat. Trust me, the transom is well off the ground, so don’t expect to pull yourself up and onto the boat. 

Must Have Washdown Items

After a day on the water, you’ll want to have all washdown gear on hand. The marina will not supply brushes, sponges, soap, brush poles, chamois mops, and more. In order to properly clean your vessel, make sure to have all of the above items. 

However, if you leave something behind, chances are the marina store will stock all of the above supplies needed for a washdown. If space is available on the vessel, I suggest stowing washdown gear to prevent leaving it back home. 

How To Perform A Boat Wash On A Boat Wash Rack

Importantly, the washdown rack allows complete access to all points of the vessel. For this reason, you can wash everything from the highest point to the bottom of the hull. 

Wash The Hull

Washing and, more importantly, drying the hull is critical. I recommend filling a bucket with soap and keeping a hose and brush on hand. 

Remember, never allow the hull to become dry when soap has been applied. Instead, soak, wash, and rinse the hull in sections as compared to in its entirety. 

One area that is often overlooked is beneath the rub rail. Make sure to detail the underside of the rail as it accumulates dirt and debris. 

Rinse The Bilge

Fortunately, boat wash racks are designed to pitch the boat, thus allowing water to flow from the bow to the transom. 

I recommend, at a minimum, rinsing the bilge to prevent the accumulation of dirt and debris. Unfortunately, dirt and debris cause bilge pumps to become clogged. This situation must be avoided at all costs. 

One of the best methods for removing all of the water in the bilge is to pull the drain plug. You don’t want to stow your boat with a bilge full of water. 

Wash The Decks/Gunnels/Glass And More

Before climbing the ladder into the boat, make sure the hose is within reach by connecting it to a railing. All too often, I have had to climb back down to retrieve the hose. 

Washing the top deck requires time. Remember to scrub stains, wash railings, detail cushions, and occasionally clean storage compartments. 

Importantly, when detailing the glass, make sure to clean both the inside and the outside. Despite the interior portion of the windshield most often being protected, it is prone to collecting dirt, thus reducing visibility. 

Lastly, never leave without drying the vessel. The last thing you want to do is buff out hard water stains. 

Engine Flush

Don’t forget about the engine flush, especially if you’re operating in saltwater. However, freshwater flushes will remove debris ingested by the impeller when operating in shallow water. 

Remember, you’ll need to connect the hose to the motor’s intake before starting the engine. Allow the motor to run for a minimum of five minutes to be sure it is properly rinsed. 

Use A Boat Wash Rack To Your Advantage

No matter if you’re cleaning your boat or performing routine maintenance, a washdown rack is an important resource. Again, I have used washdown racks countless times, and I know for sure they allow you the best opportunity to properly clean your vessel. Take advantage of a wash rack at your marine the next time you go out boating.