The worst job a boater faces before covering his boat for storage is getting all the street crud, grease, food, bait and drink from the nonskid sole of his boat. Regular boat soaps are often booed off the nonskid stage. Many savvy captains have found household products they trust for this task, and we wanted to see if there were any standout nonskid cleaners in the marketplace and how they fared against the captains’ household favorites.
How We Tested: We rated these cleaners for a total possible score of 13.
Full-Monty Mess: We taped off the whole nonskid deck before dousing it with coffee, cola, red wine, acai juice (it was handy) and smashed dead baitfish and let it all ferment in the heat for 24 hours and then called in the strippers.
Our top “all stains” score of 2 means “back to white”; we awarded a 1 for a substantial improvement; we gave goose eggs for nonproductive stage fright.
Environmental Safety Score: Products EPA-certified by the Design for the Environment (DfE) program to be as eco-safe as possible earned an extra point. We also examined the products’ material safety data sheet (MSDS) procedures for containing spills. All non-DfE products required preventing the product from entering the waterways — always a good practice.
A la Carte: To see how products worked on specific stains, we used each on test spots of cola, coffee, wine and fish guts. Same scores applied: Back to white scored a 2, substantial improvement a 1 and anything less goose eggs.
Deck cleaners incorporating protective polymers that inhibit future staining were awarded two extra points.
Marine Deck Cleaners
West Marine Pure Oceans DfE
Features: Certified eco-friendly by the EPA’s Design for the Environment program. Touted to have no dye, aroma or polymer to repel future stains. It has the same viscosity as Seachoice, Star brite and Attwood.
Instructions: Apply directly to the wet surface, agitate, let stand, scrub and rinse. It suggested a foaming action would lift stains. We didn’t see much foam but did see good work.
Performance Report: This was the only product to remove wine. It removed most of the cola stain too. Dried-on fish guts brushed away.