There’s a good reason why you see so many seasoned Haines Hunters out and about. They’re built to last. However, caring for your boat is an important part of keeping it looking like the day you towed it home.
Part of owning a fibreglass trailer boat such as a Haines Hunter is looking after the gelcoat.
Firstly, what is Gelcoat? Gelcoat is a material used to provide a high-quality finish on the visible surface of a fibre-reinforced composite. Gelcoats are modified resins which are applied to moulds in the liquid state. More simply, think of it more like the paint finish on your car.
Gelcoat - in good condition - is that tough, glossy exterior finish that protects the underlying fiberglass from salt, sun, and everything else Mother Nature can throw at it. However, in poor condition, it’s usually hazy.
You can generally bring that faded gelcoat back from the dead with the right compounds and a healthy dose of elbow grease. To stop it from getting to this point, you’ll want to keep it in good condition by spending time maintaining it throughout the course of a season.
The proper wash of your boat starts with the soap that you use. A properly forumulated soap such as CRC Vortex preserves the wax but also cleans, though you might need to scrub a little more on dried fish blood!
After washing and rinsing with fresh water, wipe down the entire boat with a microfiber or water-absorbing chamois towel. This can help wipe away corrosive salt deposits that will degrade the finish.
While cleaning compounds will remove oxidation, they don’t bring back the shine completely. For that, you need to follow up with a marine gelcoat polish.
Applying a coat of quality marine wax one or two times a year will help keep the gelcoat looking good.
While stainless steel is ‘corrosion resistant’, it is not corrosion proof. When exposed to harsh air and moisture conditions, especially in warm climates and around saltwater, stainless steel corrodes or rusts (also called oxidation), which creates iron oxide.
To clean and maintain stainless steel fittings on your Haines Hunter use a soft cloth, like chamois, or a non-abrasive sponge together with fresh water and a cleaning solution to clean stainless steel fixtures.
After each saltwater voyage, regardless of length, a thorough fresh-water hosing of the deck and all stainless steel fittings, will reduce the potential for corrosion.
A polish coating applied regularly adds protection and shine.
Make sure to include the power trim and tilt unit in your routine post-trip flushing and wash down procedure. For best effect, first run over it gently with a sponge or a soft cloth soaped up with mild detergent, then, spray the whole unit down with fresh, clean water.
Periodically grease the top of the trim rams on your power trim and tilt unit to help keep them safe from corrosion and to eliminate those annoying, but harmless, squeaking and popping noises. Be sure to use a high-quality marine-formula grease, so it won’t wash off so fast.
Visually inspect the exterior of your lower unit for any signs of damage every time before you go out. It’s a good idea at servicing to have the propeller removed and check for any fishing line or other debris that may be wrapped around the propeller shaft. This can cut into prop shaft seals and potentially allow water to enter the gearcase.
Over a period of time rust and corrosion will eat your trailer from within unless washed thoroughly every time you launch the boat in salt water.
Washing will more than likely not stop corrosion but it will slow it down.
Products like Salt Away are a treat addition to your boat washing kit to help keep the salt and corrosion at bay.
Spray from both the front and rear of the trailer to penetrate the areas where salt can settle. Pay special attention to the axles, disc brakes and inside the trailer framing.
The winch on your boat trailer is a fairly basic machine and really only needs grease on the cogs and oil on the moving shafts a couple of times over the season (including winter). Pull out all the winch rope and check to see if it needs replacing. Grease both internal sides of the rope drum while the rope is unwound as a lot of salt water comes in on the rope, which then lies against the drum causing it to rust.
Check the tyre pressures at least once a month. The correct psi should be on the tire sidewall.
Change brake pads every year. People who don’t use their boats a lot don’t realise that those brakes can stop working! Inspect and change or add grease to hubs as needed to avoid hub seizing. Check your wheel nuts for tightness.
To clean your upholstery use a mild soap and water.
By following these steps you'll keep your boat looking ship-shape for many years to come. If you have any questions around boat care, contact an authorised Haines Hunter dealer here ⟶