Our Services / by admin

First Mate Yacht Care is more than "just a detailer".  First Mate is here to make your boating experience easier and more enjoyable.  This includes everything from our detailing services, to using the best products and techniques, maintaining good channels of communication, and providing easy access to your bills and electronics manuals.


White Glove Weekly Wash

Rinse, wash, rinse, chamois.  All compartments opened and wiped.  Spotless windows and steel.  Meant to keep your boat looking clean from week to week.  Letting dirt sit on your boat shortens wax life span, along with the potential to damage/oxidize your gel-coat.  Weekly washes are a great form of preventative maintenance.  Black streaks will not have a chance to build up and no mold growing in strange places!  Along with have a clean boat every week, preventative maintenance is the name of this game.

First Rate Buff and Wax

Oxidation makes your boat look dull, and bird droppings and dirt do not wash off as easily.  A one step wax program ignores the underlying problem of  oxidized gel-coat.  With our two step process, we first remove the oxidation with a silicon buffing compound and then we apply wax.

How does our buffing process work?  We first apply a diminishing silicon abrasive.  We have found 3M's "Perfect It III" to be the best compound on the market (they are in the process of phasing out Perfect It III and have introduced "Imperial" compound to replace it).

After application, we work/buff the compound off with a 3M Perfect It buffing pad at plus or minus 2000 RPM.  Working the compound insures proper breakdown of the silicon beads in the compound.  These beads act like a fine sandpaper.  As the rough oxidized surface becomes smoother, pressure from the buffer helps to make the beads become smaller and smaller.  This end product is a smooth and glossy show room finish.

Not all buff jobs are created equal.  First Mate employees have hundreds of hours behind a buffing "wheel".  What does this mean for our customers?  We work efficiently and the outcome is second to none.

After we are finished buff, we give the boat a good wash to remove buffer dust and ensure a perfectly clean surface for waxing.  Now onto step 2!

Wax On - Wax Off

A regularly scheduled wax program will help prevent your boat from becoming oxidized and dull looking.  Keeping up on your wax will also make it more difficult for dirt to stick to you boat.  A wax barrier makes it easier to keep your boat clean and looking "First Rate".

With a properly prepared surface (following a buff and/or a wash), we then apply wax.  We use Meguiar's Flagship Premium Marine Wax.  Meguiar's is an acrylic wax which creates an invisible waterproof and UV protection barrier between a boat's gel-coat (or paint) and the elements.

We apply wax in two ways.  One wide open surfaces, such as hullsides, large toe rails, and hard tops, First Mate uses 5" random orbital buffers with microfiber bonnets.  For smaller areas where the buffer does not fit, we apply wax by hand using an applicator pad.  After allowing the wax to properly "flash" (fancypants word for dry), we then remove the wax.

Similar to our two application methods, we have two removal methods.  One way to use a wool 9" wool pad spinning at about 1200 RPM on our larger buffers.  The other method is manual removal of the wax by hand with a microfiber cloth.  Using microfiber clothes limits the amount of dust created by excess wax.  Both methods leave a shiny and smooth finish.

Along with waxing smooth services, we also are sure to wax any steel on the boat.  This helps to prevent water spotting and makes it easier to keep your boat looking "First Mate".  Upon request we can also wax (or Rain-X) windows.

Vibrant Vinyl

Over time dirt and drinks find their way into your vinyl.  A quick wipe with a towel will not reach down into the veins of the vinyl and bring back that bright look.  You might not even be aware of the dulling effect as it happens slowly over time.  With the use of a few soft chemicals and some elbow grease we can restore the vibrant color of your vinyl.  Our process cleans, and leaves your vinyl feeling soft.

Using a degreaser, Go-Jo, and a stiff bristle brush First Mate can get your vinyl looking great.  The general purpose clear helps to loosen the dirt, while Go-Jo and a stiff bristle brush help to remove it from the vinyl surface, including those hard to get veins in the vinyl!  Let us show you a test spot, and you will be amazed at the difference.

Dirty Dinghy Detailing

Similar to how vinyl can accumulate a layer of dirt (or mold!) on the surface, the rubber and vinyl parts of your dinghy can as well.  A dirty dinghy can stick out like a sore thumb on an otherwise spotless boat.  Using the same process as we use on vinyl, we can clean the pontoons of your dingy to get them looking great.

Along with cleaning the pontoons, we also clean the vinyl, scrub the non-skid, and wipe out all of the compartments.  Our process will leave your dinghy looking great, while not harming any of the vinyl or rubber materials which your dinghy is comprised of.

Electronics Instruction

Have a fancypants GPS you are not sure of how to use all (or any!) of the features?  Give us a call.  First Mate has first hand knowledge of many different brands and types of electronics.  We are constantly keeping up to date on the latest and greatest via the internet and talking to the product developers at boat shows.  Want to update your current system, but not sure which system best fits your needs, let us help.

Carpet Cleaning

How often do you clean the fabric cushions and carpet on your boat?  Carpets get just as dirty as your swim platform, they just hide it better.  From a small spot, to an entire boat, you will be amazed at the difference carpet cleaning can make.  Soil from drinks, oily feet, food, and guests build up over time.  Don't believe us?  Let us come by and do a test spot and see for yourself how dirty the water is that comes out of your carpet.

We use a fabric cleaning machine which has heats up a water/cleaning solution.  We then spray down the area, go over the area with a soft bristle brush to help loosen dirt, and then suck the solution back up, dirt and all.

Canvas Detailing

The canvas which covers your boat is there to keep it dry.  Canvas takes the brunt of mother nature, and is constantly wet.  Either from rain or condensation.  Over time this constantly wet/damp state becomes the perfect place for mold to start popping up (especially during the warm summer months).  Molds also tend to produce "musky" odors.

Why is removing mold important?  Besides the clean look / smell aspect, mold eats your canvas.  This degrades the canvas and shortens its lifespan.  Molds feed on fabrics (among other things) and use it as a springboard to spread.  Mold reproduces mainly through airborne spores.  Cleaning canvas at the first sign of mold is a great preventative maintenance.  Mold reproduces at an exponential, not linear, rate!  Protect your boat (and your health!) by keeping your canvas clean.

Our canvas cleaning procedure is to use water, a soft soap, and a stiff bristle brush.  Using soft chemicals and water will not degrade the canvas, and the stiff bristle will help get between the fibers and break up mold so it washes away.

Power Wash

Pourous gel coat and low areas of nonskid accumulate dirt, and again, that damn mold. Our powerwasher sprays at 3000psi and is capable of blasting all sorts of contaminants from anywhere you have them. Some boats have a deep diamond pattern that is done by a hot press, much like a waffle iron. These areas often bubble, and have larger pores than typical non skid. If you have this kind of non-skid, you have likely had black dots you were unable to clean out. 

Even if there are not some very noticeable spots, a full powerwash can bring your nonskid/boats brightness back by quite a few shades.


Teak is a superior wood as it does not split, crack, or warp easily, as well as possessing natural non-skid properties due to a high silica count. The wood is very dense, and has lots of natural oils, but with sunshine, spray, and airborne pollutants, it can degrade quickly. Disregarding the wood will quickly turn it to a light, ash gray. This color is desired on some older boats, but the gray dead wood does not have the non-skid properties of well-maintained teak. A full coat of moss on a brick wall may be appealing on a rustic cottage, but it does immediately tell how much work is done. 

The megayachts that have immaculate natural (unfinished/untreated) blond teak, are in another class of maintenance, and the average owner operator does not have the patience, time, or money for that finish (but if you desire that, please let us know)! To lower the time commitment required, there are many products out there, such as a oils, varnishes, and synthetic sealers.

Oils do not properly cure and dry in the wood and as a result can make a mess.  Whether sitting on oiled teak and having it absorbed by your pants, or tracking oily footprints in on carpet.  Oils can drip down gelcoat, leaving a hard to remove stain. This negative properties are true with teak oil, linseed oil, or tung oil.

Varnishes are excellent for brightwork, such as handrails, caprails, and trim work (or full cabinsides), as it is a beautiful high-gloss finish. Putting a glossy varnish or lacquer on a deck is like turning it into a slip and slide. Not only is the grain of the wood covered with a smooth gloss, but the caulk as well, giving zero traction, especially when wet.

Our preferred product is the Star Brite Tropical Teak line. These are synthetic products and sealers that behave more like a deck stain than as a oil.  They penetrate deeply and cure well. Used correctly, these products can give you a beautiful matte finish, that will not allow dirt or mold to penetrate deep into teak, nor will it allow the wood to gray and turn dark.

Please feel free to call with any specific teak questions, or to discuss your specific needs.

Boat Show Prep!
From small booths to large yachts, First Mate can help you get ready for your boat show.  We understand how important it is to have your products looking "First Rate" for perspective buyers.  Detailed washes prior to the show, morning touch-ups, and being on call during the show, we are there.  With clients ranging from Rigid Boats to Allied Marine, we have the staff to meet your needs.