Owning a boat is a wonderful thing! Having the freedom to take her out on the weekend, going fishing or just relaxing on the water. On the other hand, maintaining your boat can be a nightmare. Boat owners always want their investment to look as good as the day they bought it, but what is the best way to achieve this result? And how can you make it last?

Nano coatings are relatively new in the marine industry, and they are providing an alternative to traditional wax products. We are going to explore the main differences between Nano coatings and wax, including; cost, protection, and maintenance. My goal is to provide you with facts so you can determine if Nano coatings are worth it to help protect your boat.


One of the largest factors in your decision-making process is cost. First let’s look at the average cost to have your boat washed and waxed. Based on quotes from 10 to 15 detailing companies across America, the average cost for a detailing job ranges from $8 per foot up to $40 per foot, according to howmuchisit.org. The price can vary based on the condition of your boat and the package that you choose. Base packages tend to include a simple wash and wax, without any polishing or compound, ranges from $8 to $20 per foot. While premium packages including compounding and polish, range from $20 per foot and up.

Package What’s Included? Price (per foot)
Basic Wash Washing the hull and topside, cleaning the gutter tracks and cleaning windows $2 to $4
Detailed Wash Everything in basic, plus polish, removing mildew and cleaning compartments/hatches $8 to $11
Premium Wash Everything above, plus conditioning the seats, removing rust, clearing canvas, protecting corrosion with a spray on working parts and adding protectant. $12 to $15
Premium + Wax Everything in premium, plus a wax and buff on all surfaces outside of water. $16 to $20
Premium + Wax + Compound Everything, plus a compound on gelcoats $20 to $27

NOTE:  Boats larger than 40 feet can see prices 20 to 40 percent higher than this.

Source: www.howmuchisit.org

The Cost Of Ceramic Coatings

Now let’s look at the cost of having a Nano coating (Glidecoat) applied. Similar to wax detailing jobs, the price varies based on the size, style and condition of the boat. Based on quotes from our main detailing partner, South Florida Marine Detailers, the price to have Glidecoat’s Nano coating applied ranges from $80 to $250 for boats under 40 feet.

Another factor to keep in mind is how often you will need to have your boat washed and waxed to appropriately protect your boat. This varies from owner to owner, as well as location; some people have their boats waxed only once a year while others have it done every few months. To provide appropriate protection, three to four times a year in southern areas is ideal, while two times a season is ideal for up north.

In order to illustrate the cost breakdown, I will use an example of a 24-foot center console boat. Let’s say that the boat is in good condition, and the owner would like to entire boat detailed and protected. Based on the pricing provided in the table above, we will use the Premium + Wax + Compound at $25 per foot. The total for this job would be $600. To have Glidecoat’s Nano coating applied, the price would be $80 per foot, or $1920 total.

At first glance, it seems obvious that having a wax applied to your boat is much cheaper than Nano coatings, but is it?

While Glidecoat’s Nano coating is at least twice the price of a buff and wax, in this example, it has been thoroughly tested and proven to last over 18 months while still providing protection from the elements. In order to get this amount of protection from a wax, you would need to have your boat waxed four or more times a year. That would take the initial cost of the wax job from $600 to well over $3000, to get a 18 month’s worth of protection.

Click the link below to read Glidecoat’s “One Year Later” case study: /case-study/seavee-one-year-later/


The next factor to consider when deciding to have wax or a Nano coating applied to your boat is what kind of protection and lifespan are you getting. First, we must understand the difference between a wax and a Nano coating.

There are many different wax products in the marine market, both spray on applications or machine/hand buffing applications. While the application method may be different from wax to wax, they almost all provide a similar level of gloss and protection. When a wax is applied to a clean surface it will help increase the shine while also providing a level of protection from dirt, salt water, and UV.

The biggest issue with wax products is the length of protection and shine they can provide. The first day that wax is applied to your boat it will look great and give you the protection that you need, but each time you use your boat and/or wash it down the shine and protection decreases. This is caused from the fact that wax does not bond with the surface, it simply sits on top of the paint or gel coat, so inevitably it will deteriorate quickly in the harsh marine environment.

I like to compare waxes to sunscreen. When you first apply sunscreen to your skin, you are getting full protection from UV rays. But once you start sweating or go swimming, the sunscreen begins to wear off, so you have to reapply or you will end up getting sunburnt. In a matter of weeks or months, the wax will be almost completely gone from the surface leaving your boat vulnerable to sun damage and oxidization.

Nano coatings, unlike waxes, create a semi-permanent bond with the surface. Glidecoat’s Nano coating is considered a liquid crystal, because when first applied it is in a liquid form but as the product cures it transforms into a solid. This allows the coating to fill in any microscopic pours and scratches on the surface, creating an extremely smooth and hard protective barrier over the surface. The bond created by the coating and the surface always the coating to provide superior protection from UV damage, scum lines, dirt, salt water and an amazing shine while lasting 4-6 times longer than traditional wax.

 Glidecoat nano coating diagram - are nano coatings worth it


Finally, on-going maintenance is another key factor to take into account before having a wax or Nano coating applied. Sometimes it seems as if you spend more time cleaning and maintaining your boat then actually using it, so which one of these options can allow you to use your boat more with minimal maintenance?

As mentioned in the previous section, waxes create a soft barrier over the surface similar to sunscreen. This creates some unique issues when it comes to maintaining your boat. After a day on the water, fishing or relaxing, your boat will be covered in salt water, scum, and/or fish blood. It is important to wash your boat after a day on the water because all of these contaminants will attach to the wax and seep into the pours of the gel coat. A simple rinse with water is not sufficient with wax because the surface is not completely smooth and hydrophobic, so you are forced to use soap and a brush. While washing your boat with soap and a brush will remove any contaminants from the surface, it will also remove some of the wax from the surface. Each time you use your boat and wash it down, you are effectively removing the wax more and more until it is completely gone.

Glidecoat’s Liquid Crystal coating has solved this problem by creating a semi-permanent bond with the gel coat or paint. This bond creates a smooth, hydrophobic barrier over the surface. This barrier prevents any contaminants from getting into the pours of the gel coat. Nano coatings do not prevent your boat from getting dirty, but any contaminant will only be sitting on top of the surface and will easily rinse off with water. This allows you to use your boat more without the hassle of having to wash it after every use.

In conclusion, traditional waxes provide a short-term fix to the ongoing struggle of maintaining your boat. While the initial cost of Nano coatings exceeds the cost of wax, the overall protection of Nano coatings is far superior than any wax can provide, and the maintenance is a breeze. Glidecoat’s Liquid Crystal coating gives you the peace of mind knowing that your investment is protected with the best, and it allows you to enjoy your boat without the constant headache of tedious maintenance.

For more information on our range of products, visit: www.glidecoat.com. Or call us today for a free quote! 561-515-4539.