If you're a responsible boat owner, you regularly clean your boat's paint. Ideally you do it after each time you use it. Apart from this, boat detailing is needed once or twice a year, depending on how often you use the boat. If you live in a country that has four seasons, then detailing your boat should be a part of your winterizing procedure.
Detailing is a thorough cleaning of your boat. It involves washing, waxing and polishing the boat's exterior. Sometimes it also involves sanding and varnishing, when needed. It also involves cleaning and scrubbing the interior, making sure the seats are clean, and all the fixtures are working well, removing any dirt or dust.
Boats need a detailing job at least once a year because, even though it is designed to be outdoors, the salt water, the oil, the UV rays of the sun, the heat, and other elements it is exposed to can affect it. These elements can destroy your boat's exterior or protected surface, while also causing some unwanted grime and discoloration on interior fixtures like your seats.
You can do the detailing of your boat yourself, especially if you know boats well and don't mind the work. You just need the right materials: a cleaning solution, water spot remover, degreaser, boat gel wash, wax, polish, glass cleaner and isinglass cleaner, fabric protector, and vinyl protector. Apart from these, you also need cleaning tools like scrub brushes, old toothbrushes, rags, a vacuum cleaner, etc. If you have a particularly large boat, it may be better for you to send it in for detailing. Not only will a professional detailing job be good for it, but it saves you from a lot of work.
Each part of your boat will have to be attended to differently, and the detailing process is different for the type of boat you have. For example, a fiberglass boat will require a slightly different process from a boat with a wooden or aluminum hull. Before beginning your detailing job, create a checklist of what you need to clean and how it needs to be cleaned so you can work systematically and get everything done.
Boat detailing is important to retaining the value of your boat. Many new boat owners don't give their boats the proper attention and care that it needs in its first few years. This decreases the resale value of the boat significantly. Not to mention the fact that neglect leads to large problems which are costlier than simply having detailed the boat each year.