|Written by Thomas Conroy|
Introduction: A commercially purchased boat is designed and made to stand up to the rigors of the outdoors, but taking the right steps to care for your boat's upholstery can make certain that your boat stays in good condition for many years without issue. The main culprit of damage to boat upholstery are UV rays from sunlight and water itself whether it is fresh water or salt water.
Prolonged expose to these can discolor fabric on boat upholstery long before it is normally due, and the moisture from wet boat upholstery can give mold a great place to thrive on your boat. To care for your boat's upholstery requires a minimum of effort beyond what is considered normal precautions, and common sense goes a long way to protect your boat's upholstery.
Step 1: The first step to care for your boat's upholstery takes place right on the water while the boat is in use. Keeping boat upholstery dry is imperative to protecting your investment, and a few absorbent cloth towels on board can prove to be very useful in keeping seating dry.
When swimming from your boat is part of the day's activities, demand that everyone present place a towel on a seat prior to sitting. This simple action prevents water from being absorbed into the seat cushions that will ultimately result in mold that usually won't be discovered until the damage is done and the upholstery needs replaced. Even when no passengers are present covering seat upholstery keeps the UV rays from discoloring them on a sunny day.
Step 3: If storing your boat for more than a week or so make certain that your boat is covered and out of the sunshine, preferably in a shaded area. Before covering the boat however, make certain that the boat's upholstery is completely dry. A very good and very simple way to care for your boat's upholstery when storing it is to place a few boxes of baking soda around the interior of the boat near upholstered surfaces to absorb any excess moisture that may accumulate. If storing the boat for an extended period of time remember to change the boxes of baking soda every two to three weeks for the maximum benefit.
Tips: Inspect you boat's upholstery at least once monthly for tears to the fabric and mildew.