As a former captain, I spent a significant amount of time cleaning boats. Not only would they be cleaned while sitting dockside for weeks on end, but also every time they left the dock and headed for open water. As boat owners know, cleaning the vessel requires time. Unfortunately, with life’s busy schedule, it is hard to find the time to give your boat the care it deserves. For this reason, some consider hiring a cleaning service. So is it worth having a boat cleaning service?

What Does A Boat Cleaning Service Do

Cleaning services for boats do exactly as it sounds: they clean your boat. Importantly, cleaning services can be hired for one-time washes or based on a monthly or weekly schedule. 

The cleaning service provides complete washing from top to bottom, including the inside of hatches, the hull, stainless steel, non skid decks, and more. The purpose of hiring a service is to help save you time; however, it comes at a cost. Lastly, they dry the boat to help prevent water spots from forming. 

Importantly, a cleaning service does not provide detail work as part of the work. You’re going to have to hire a different company or pay for a premium service if you’re looking for wax application. 

I have watched cleaning services complete washdowns, and the quality of the job varies based on the company. With that said, you’re going to want to ask around for a recommendation on a reputable service. 

The Cost For A Service To Wash A Boat

Undoubtedly, the cost to wash a vessel will vary based on location and the type of boat. One of the most expensive for-hire washdowns is aboard yachts. Not only the sheer size of the boat but also the risk of damage to such a valuable asset. 

With that said, you can expect to pay between 10 and 15 dollars per foot for a bowrider, fishing boat, ski boat, or cabin cruiser. However, keep in mind that the price per foot falls if you’re scheduling multiple washes per month. 

Paying for a washing service is a commitment. At the end of the month, when it is combined with other costs associated with owning a boat, it adds up quickly. 

Where Will Boat Washing Services Perform Washdowns

Fortunately, boat washing services are highly flexible when it comes to locations where the boat is stored. Here is a breakdown of where a for hire cleaning service will clean your boat.

Vessels Secured To The Dock In Marinas

No matter if you’re on a lake, river, or coastal waterway, marinas are prevalent. With that said, boat washing services are available at nearly every marina across the country.

If you’re keeping your boat dockside, you will have no trouble finding someone to clean your boat as needed or routinely. The only issue they may run into is washing the hull because it is at the dock compared to out of the water. 

Boats Stored In Dry Racks

It seems as though dry rack marinas are building more and more racks on an annual basis. Simply put, there just isn’t enough storage to accommodate all of the vessels. 

Boat cleaning services have no issue requesting that your boat be placed on a washdown rack. The washing will be performed before it is returned back to the dry rack for storage. 

At Your Home Or Other Location On A Trailer

Mobile washing services are widespread. The cleaning service will travel to your home or other storage locations and wash down the boat on the trailer. However, you’re going to need to make sure that you have running water available. 

What To Considering When Hiring A Boat Cleaning Service

Before signing the dotted line to hire a cleaning service, you’re going to want to do a little research. Consider the following details before hiring a boat washdown company,


You don’t want to be stuck with medical bills because the detail was injured on your boat and didn’t carry insurance. Fortunately, most marinas require vendors, including washing services, to carry insurance in order to be permitted on the property. 

Before agreeing to terms, request to see insurance documentation on hand. 


Word of mouth goes a long way. I suggest asking fellow boaters who they recommend when it comes to a washdown service. You will likely get an honest answer as to how clean the vessel appears after each cleaning. 


Don’t overpay for a washdown. Compare the prices from one boat cleaning company to another. However, if you hear great reviews from a higher-priced company compared to a lower-priced washdown service, you may want to consider paying more. 

So Is It Worth Hiring A Boat Cleaning Service

I believe the answer is yes to hiring a boat cleaning service if you’re a working professional. Avoid taking away days enjoying the boat compared to constantly needing to clean the boat. However, if you’re retired or have plenty of time on your hands, wash the boat yourself. Lastly, I personally would not hire a service because im particular. I don’t think I would ever feel satisfied with the work completed versus what I would do.