Gelcoat is much more stronger than automotive paint, so do not be afraid to buff it. I usually buff my boat at least once a season. I recommend investing in a good quality variable speed buffer. The cheap ones tend to be very heavy and make the job much harder. I use this one http://www.google.com/aclk?sa=l&ai=C...6cagpspn%3Dpla
but any good quality tool manufacturer should have something suitable. When I bought my boat, it had been abandoned in the sun for 2/3 years uncovered. I used this http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/mediawe...6EVs6E666666--
with a wool pad (more aggressive) or foam pad (less aggressive) and it brought all the depth and shine back to the boat. Just remember if you are doing a large surface, like a boat, wash your pad frequently to keep the compound from building up.
I would try to hit it with the polish before wetsanding. Modern polishes and compounds work wonders. As I said before, gelcoat is much stronger than automotive paint, so I would not be afraid to buff it with an orbital buffer, even if you do not have much experience.
Once you see the results a few hours work can bring, you are going to start buffing and polishing everything you can find. I've used mine on tile floors....