Home » Boat Maintenance » Fiberglass Boat Maintenance » Why Is My White Fiberglass Boat Turning Yellow?

Boat Genesis is reader-supported. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

why is my white fiberglass boat turning yellow - featured image

Why Is My White Fiberglass Boat Turning Yellow?

If you’ve noticed your white fiberglass boat starting to take on a yellow tinge, you’re not alone. 

Yellowing is a common issue that many boat owners face, but the good news is that it’s usually not a cause for major concern.

In this article, we’ll dive into the reasons behind fiberglass yellowing and what you can do to keep your boat looking its best.

What Causes Fiberglass to Yellow?

white powerboat showing signs of discoloration

There are a few main culprits behind that unsightly yellow hue on your boat:

  1. UV Exposure: The sun’s ultraviolet rays can break down the gelcoat on your boat over time, causing it to oxidize and turn yellow. This is especially common in boats that are frequently exposed to direct sunlight without proper protection.
  2. Water Exposure: Believe it or not, water itself can contribute to yellowing. Brackish or dirty water can leave stains on your boat’s hull, and even freshwater can speed up the yellowing process.
  3. Chemicals: Certain cleaning products, especially those containing bleach, can actually “burn” or yellow the gelcoat if left on for too long. It’s important to use boat-specific cleaners and follow the instructions carefully.
  4. Age: As with many things in life, time takes its toll. Older boats may simply start to yellow as the gelcoat breaks down and oxidizes over the years.

==>> Also read: Can fiberglass boats go in saltwater?

How to Prevent Fiberglass Yellowing

someone holding a water pipe and washing a boat

While you can’t completely stop the yellowing process, there are steps you can take to slow it down and keep your boat looking fresh:

  • Wax regularly: A good coat of marine wax can help protect your boat’s gelcoat from UV damage and water stains. Aim to wax at least twice a year, or more often if your boat sees a lot of use.
  • Cover up: When your boat’s not in use, keep it covered or stored in a shaded area to minimize sun exposure. If you don’t have a full cover, at least throw a tarp over the areas that see the most sun.
  • Rinse off: After each outing, give your boat a thorough rinse with fresh water to remove any salt, dirt, or debris that could contribute to staining.
  • Be careful with cleaners: Stick to cleaners specifically designed for boats, and avoid anything with harsh chemicals like bleach. If you’re not sure, test a small, inconspicuous area first.

Removing Yellow Stains

If your boat’s already showing signs of yellowing, don’t despair. With a little elbow grease (and the right products), you can often restore your boat’s original whiteness.

There are a variety of commercial stain removers designed specifically for boats, but you can also try a mixture of oxalic acid and water.

Apply the solution, let it sit for a few minutes (but not too long!), then rinse thoroughly. For tough stains, you may need to repeat the process a few times.

If all else fails, you can always consider having your boat professionally detailed or even re-gelcoated for a fresh start.

The Bottom Line

Yellowing is a fact of life for many white fiberglass boats, but it doesn’t have to ruin your boating enjoyment.

Try to understand the causes and take steps to prevent and treat yellowing for years to come.

Regular cleaning, waxing, and a little bit of TLC can go a long way in maintaining that beautiful white shine.

Hope you have gained value from this article.

If you have any questions, consider leaving them in the comment section below and I will get back to you ASAP!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Boat Genesis is reader-supported. We try all the products we recommend - No freebies from manufacturers. If you click on our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, which helps support our website. Learn more.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe To Boat Genesis

Get updates on the latest posts and more from Boat Genesis straight to your inbox!