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Restoring Clear Coat on Metalflake


Jed Malczewski asked:

The clear coat is gone on my 1988 Hydrostream Hooker and waxing does not help anymore. Can I wet sand it to get the shine back?

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IN SUMMARY, the quick answer is NO, but here are your options:

  • The best, but most expensive option to restore the clear coat is to refinish it with clear gelcoat.
  • A less expensive but more repetitive alternative is to refinish with automotive clearcoat.
  • The least expensive option is to polish your boat with Kwik Shine but it may require a little more effort on your part.

I recommend starting with the third option and consider the rest if you are not satisfied.
Below are the steps for polishing your boat with Kwik Shine:

  1. Strip the old wax off by scrubbing it with a 1:4 solutiuon of Boat Clean Plus
  2. Deoxidize the surface and remove the chalk with Boat Scrub
  3. Spray and wipe the surface with Kwik Shine
  4. Use a second clean cloth to buff and get that shine

The metalflake particles will always be rough and sanding will only dull the surface more. Waxes are not very good at protecting your boat surface against environmental damage.

Your boat was built from the inside out. The manufacturer sprayed clear gelcoat into the mold, followed by the metalflake/colored gelcoat and then laid up the various fiberglass layers to give the hull and deck its strength. The clear gelcoat allows the UV rays from the sun to penetrate down to the colored surface and the metallic particles reflect it back through the clear gelcoat, in effect burning it from both sides. This type of finish should be kept covered when not in use and only the best quality synthetic boat polish with good UV protection should be used. It’s better to polish these finishes more often as the UV protection in all polishes will degrade over time. Water may continue to bead, but the sun is eating your boat.

Hydrostream made a great boat. Their designs were years ahead of their time. I can understand why you would want to restore and keep it.

The good news is that it’s fast and easy. You should be able to spray and wipe your boat in less time than it takes to wash and dry it, after the initial application. Many boat owners use Kwik Shine after every time they use their boats instead of washing. It has good UV protection and regular use will prevent fading.

You can also use Kwik Shine on the windscreen, instrument faces and engine cowl. You’ll love the shine.

Thanks for your question.
Captain Aurora

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