Every canal boat owner knows the importance of keeping a boat clean. Not only is the action hygienic but it will also significantly reduce the time and money spent on repairs. Keeping the Bilge area of the boat clean and free of dirt and excess water is particularly important. Not doing so on a regular basis could lead to all sorts of problems including bad odor, bacterial growth and even rust, all of which could damage your boat and increase repair costs.
Whether you are a new canal boat owner or a seasoned sailor, Bilge cleaning services should be a part of your maintenance routine. But if have a little time on your hands and would rather not pay for the service, the following steps will help you clean your boat’s Bilge.
- Get the Best Bilge Cleaner
The first step in cleaning your boat’s bilge is to buy a cleaner. The best cleaner to purchase would be a biodegradable one that will have no effect on the water or the ecosystem. Most cleaners will serve multiple purposes and may even be useful for cleaning other parts of the boat.
- Let the Cleaner Soak for a Few Hours
Read the instructions on the cleaner, but most will require that you let the cleaner soak for a while. Some will recommend you soak the cleaner for about 2 to 3 hours. If there are any tough stains you may want to let the cleaner sit for longer since this will reduce the time and effort it takes the scrub out the stains.
- Scrub the Bilge Area
An abrasive sponge or cloth is what you’ll need to scrub at the bilge surface. Once you’ve let the bilge cleaner soak for a while, use the abrasive sponge to scrub the whole area clean. When scrubbing is complete, rinse the area to get rid of all the dirt and debris. It may be advisable to park the boat on a hill so the dirty water and cleaner will not drain into the waterway or ocean.
- Have a Strategy to Eliminate Excess Oil
When cleaning your bilge, it is not uncommon to find a little bit of oil mixed up with the water you are using to clean the bilge. The good news is many top notch bilge cleaner solutions can separate the water and the oil, making it easier to remove. You may also want to get a bilge pump to help you easily transfer the oily water from your boat to a bucket. This will make it easier to dispose of the oily water in a safe environment away from the marine ecosystem.
The most important factor of cleaning your bilge therefore becomes the cleaning agent you use. While most people will try to make their own bilge cleaning solutions at home, it is a much better idea to purchase cleaning solution that is designed for that purpose. Many will be biodegradable, but be sure to check.