Hey Miller, long time no speak...
What color is the boat?? It sounds like it might be a dark color and I had a black Shadow Cat which was a real pain to keep looking good.
As far as wet sanding, that should be a last resort and I would only recommend it if there was alot of oxidation and deep scratches. Either way, this is not for the faint of heart as you can EASILY go right through the gelcoat.
On the buffing side of things, I use a buffer and 3M products for compounding. I forget the exact part number of the rubbing compound but it is tan in color and works well on minor scratches and oxidation. Compounding a boat with a machine is also not an easy task and coarse compunds can also eat up the gel.
My suggestion would be to go to an auto body supply shop and get some 3M compound and a good paste wax(I use Safety Klean wax which is also applied with a buffer--stuff will last forever...) Tell them exactly what you are doing and they should be able to recommend the right compound.
Or...you could pay someone 18/ft to detail it and sit on a lawnchair drinking Coronas----oh, I forgot, Dave drinks the Coronas...you can stick to the club soda...
Good luck with it.