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A boat is an expensive investment and the best way to look after it is with regular maintenance. For fiberglass boats, boat wax is an important part of the maintenance process. When applied correctly, it protects your vessel from damaging elements including salt water and the sun’s UV rays. It keeps your gel coat from oxidizing, preserves the color and shine of your paintwork and increases your boat’s overall longevity. Although you can use car waxes in certain situations, specific marine grade boat waxes provide the most reliable results. There are several different types to choose from including traditional paste waxes, easy-application liquid waxes and spray waxes specifically formulated for quick touch-ups. Below, we look at the best boat waxes on the market.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Meguiar’s Marine/RV Pure Wax Carnauba Blend
Meguiar’s Marine/RV Pure Wax Carnauba Blend is one of the most popular marine waxes online, raved for its long-lasting, high-gloss shine. Many users also praise this product for how easy it is to apply and remove. Specially designed for boats and motorhomes, it’s safe to use on all fiberglass, gel coat and painted surfaces and is particularly effective on dark colors and metallic finishes. It blends premium Brazilian carnauba wax with a complex selection of silicones, polymers, and resins.
The carnauba wax gives your paintwork a mirror-like shine, while the resins bind the wax with the gel coat so that it lasts longer despite frequent exposure to salt or fresh water. For as long as it lasts, it will protect your vessel from salt, weather, and the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays. This product is formulated to be applied by hand or with an electric polishing machine and comes in a 16-ounce bottle. If you choose the manual route, experts recommend using a soft cloth to apply the wax with a steady, circular motion.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Scotchgard Marine Protective Liquid Wax
Safe for use on gel coat, fiberglass, and topside paints, Scotchgard Marine Protective Liquid Wax is built to withstand the harsh conditions of life at sea. It protects your boat from the damaging effects of salt water, weathering, and pollutants and is especially useful as a guard against UV-related fading and degradation. It also helps to restore that straight-from-the-factory shine. This product uses reactive chemistry to bond to your boat’s surface, with tests showing that it is 33 percent more durable than similar brands over a 39-day trial period.
The liquid’s easy on/off formula means that you have to exert less effort than you would with a paste wax. It’s also easier to avoid unattractive swirl marks. The wax even smells good, boasting a tropical scent that’s a welcome change from the chemical smell of most competitors. It can be applied by hand using a soft cloth or with a mechanical buffer. Either way, for the best results, consider using the wax as a final step after employing a boat cleaner and/or polish. It comes in 16.9- and 33.8-ounce bottles.
Best Budget: Boater’s Edge Cleaner Wax
The Boater’s Edge Cleaner Wax combines a boat cleaner and wax into a single formula, so it saves you from having to splash out on separate products. It is designed to remove existing oxidation and hazing from fiberglass, metal, and painted surfaces. Simultaneously, it restores shine and adds a protective layer that repels water and oil-based stains to keep your newly cleaned boat looking its best for longer.
UV inhibitors keep the sun’s rays from fading colored gel coat or turning white gel coat yellow. Use a clean microfiber cloth or a mechanical buffer to apply the liquid wax, then let it dry to a haze and buff it off to create a high-gloss shine. Also effective on vehicles, this product comes in a 16 oz bottle.
Best Paste: 3M Marine Ultra Performance Paste Wax
Those who prefer paste wax will be impressed by 3M’s Marine Ultra Performance Paste Wax. It comes in a 16-ounce tin, is expressly designed for marine applications and provides a high-gloss, wet-look finish on fiberglass, gel coat, and topside paints. The wax features a carnauba base for added protection and uses polymer technology to enhance its longevity and its ability to repel dirt and water. It also affords long-lasting UV protection so that your boat can maintain its shine and richness of color no matter what the weather’s like.
Polymer technology also aids the wax’s water beading properties, helping it to reduce friction and surface energy to afford a smoother ride through the waves. Although paste wax is generally considered to be more difficult to apply than liquid wax, this wax has been proven to provide better coverage and last a little longer.
Like most of the waxes on this list, it can be applied manually or mechanically.
Best Spray: Meguiar’s Flagship Ultimate Quik Wax
Meguiar’s Flagship Ultimate Quik Wax comes in a 16-ounce spray bottle that makes it effortless to apply and also helps to minimize waste and/or spillage. Although it can be used on its own, most boat owners use spray waxes for quick touch-ups in between less frequent applications of liquid or paste wax. This one features hydrophobic polymer technology that repels water for incredible protection from salt and the elements.
It also bonds to gel coat surfaces, providing Meguiar’s longest-lasting protection in a spray wax. It dries transparent, which means that it can be applied to hot surfaces in direct sunlight without leaving streaks and white residue. This wax is meant to be applied by hand with the aid of a soft cloth or foam applicator rather than with a mechanical buffer.
Best for Non-Skid Surfaces: Marine 31 Non-Skid Clear Sealant with Carnauba
Non-skid decks and gunwales are usually the largest horizontal areas on your boat and are therefore the most exposed to direct sunlight and salt spray. This makes them particularly susceptible to oxidation, salt stains, and water spots, and yet, applying a traditional wax to their uneven surfaces can be torturous. Marine 31’s Non-Skid Clear Sealant with Carnauba gets around the problem with a spray applicator that fills in the microscopic pits and pores of your non-skid surfaces without having to be brushed in.
The carnauba-based product is specially formulated to provide long-lasting protection against sun, rain, salt water, fish blood, and other pollutants. It works on gel coat and fiberglass surfaces, and, best of all, it doesn’t build up over time and won’t make your non-skid surfaces slippery. Spray the wax on, use a clean microfiber cloth to distribute it evenly, then buff off the residue with a second cloth. The generously sized bottle holds 20 ounces of fluid.
Best Cleaner Wax: Collinite Liquid Fleetwax
Most waxes are applied as a final step after a separate boat cleaner has been used to remove dirt, oxidation, water spots, and other blemishes. The Collinite Liquid Fleetwax is a 2-in-1 that combines the cleaner and boat wax elements into a single formula — thereby saving you time and money. It restores your finish and removes oxidation; then provides long-lasting protection against future damage. It combines a carnauba base with a polymer technology that’s built to withstand salt water and maintain a high shine.
Although Fleetwax is also available in a paste format, many users prefer the easy-on nature of the liquid wax. The product linked here is a 16-ounce bottle, but the brand also sells a 64-ounce bottle for commercial use. Interestingly, this wax is also marketed for aeronautical purposes.
Best Quick Fix: Boat Bling Quickie Sauce
Boat Bling Quickie Sauce is an obvious choice for anybody who loves the look of a newly waxed boat but doesn’t want to spend hours achieving it. The exclusive premium montan wax formula comes in a convenient spray bottle and (according to the manufacturer) allows you to wax your boat four times faster than traditional paste wax. The factory-quality shine is the same; as is the protection from the elements. It dries to a haze for easy residue removal and is designed to be used manually rather than with a buffer.
The Quickie Sauce is meant for use on all fiberglass, gel coat and painted surfaces. It can also be used on vinyl moldings and decals, saving you the effort and time of working around them. This product has also been used in tandem with Boat Bling’s Hot Sauce, a hard water spot remover that leaves your surfaces shiny without removing the wax coating. It comes in a 32-ounce bottle, which should be enough to wax a 24-foot boat up to four times.
Our writers spent 5 hours researching the most popular boat wax on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 15 different waxes overall, screened options from 8 different brands and manufacturers and read over 40 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.