How to Polish Aluminum Boat Hulls

by Luke Boston
coque de voilier image by Sébastien Delaunay from

Aluminum is a commonly used material in the manufacture of boat hulls due to its durability, resistance to rust, and light weight. Despite its hard-wearing nature, maintaining an aluminum hull is still an essential part of boat care as salt is corrosive and can cause damage to your boat over time. Polishing an aluminum boat hull will prevent unwanted salt buildup and create a desirable mirror finish.

Step 1

Clean the aluminum hull using a sponge, fresh water and environmentally-friendly liquid detergent.

Step 2

Sand the hull using wet sand paper. Begin the sanding process using 200 grit sandpaper and move up to 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit. Ensure all traces of each previous sanding have been removed.

Step 3

Polish the sanded aluminum using a handheld rotary tool fitted with a felt buffing wheel. Buff the aluminum using circular motions until the polish turns black.

Shine the aluminum hull using a soft cloth until all traces of polish have been removed.

Items you will need

  • Environmentally-friendly liquid detergent
  • Sponges
  • 200, 400, 600, 800, 1000 grit sandpaper
  • Metal polish
  • Handheld rotary tool
  • Felt buffing wheel
  • Soft cloth

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