Everything You Need to Know About Hull Cleaning
If you’re a boat owner, chances are you’ve often looked at your boat in all it’s glory and admired how absolutely amazing it looks on the water (well, perhaps not on the days you have engine troubles!). Whilst most boats look great from up top, look under the waterline and you will see a very different view!
Many boat owners check the multitude of things they need to before they venture out onto the water (emergency plan, check the tides, calculate your fuel, check batteries, load safety equipment, check rigging, bungs etc), but they often don’t check the hull of their boat to ensure they have a smooth and safe journey.
There are many reasons to look into having your hull cleaned regularly. Here’s a few:-
- Reduce fuel consumption – SAVE MONEY
- Reduce vibration in running gear
- Prevent engine overheating (blocked intakes)
- Reduce re-antifouling cost
- Increase speed of your boat
- Early detection of any issues
Underwater Cleaning vs Boatlift and & Slipway Cleaning Methods
Many times we find that boats only need a clean and not a new coat of antifouling paint. If this is the case then lifting the boat out of the water means more stress on your boat, more chance of damage and more time out of the water for you.
Many people think that lifting a boat out of the water is the only way to get a good view of damage or buildup under the waterline – this is not true. An experienced diver is able to view with a high level of accuracy all elements of a ship’s hull and make appropriate decisions about cleaning methods and what items under the boat need to be cleaned. AND you will find that a diver will be able to complete a boat clean in a fraction of the time it takes to lift your boat out of the water for a conventional clean – saving you time and money!
Antifouling paints, what are they and what do they do?
You may have heard the term ‘antifouling’ thrown around a bit in the boating circles and it can be a little confusing as it has a couple of meanings. Antifouling can refer to the act of scraping and cleaning the bottom of your boat and it can also refer to the type of paint your boat has on the bottom of its hull (also called bottom paint).
There are essentially five main types of antifouling paint you will find on boats in Australia:-
- Ablative antifouling paints
- Sloughing antifouling paints
- Modified epoxy antifouling paints
- Vinyl antifouling paints, and
- Copolymer antifouling paints
Ablative Antifouling Paint
This type of paint is designed to have a small portion of the surface worn away in small amounts to ensure a fresh layer of paint and biocide is exposed to the water. This paint is designed to use the motion of the boat to help wear off the outer layers, however if your boat is stored at a marina for a long time, this will affect the performance of your hull and you may want to consider having it cleaned by us.
Sloughing Antifouling Paints
Whilst usually cheaper this type of paint works in the same way as Ablative paint allowing small parts of it to wear away in the water, however this paint typically comes away in flakes instead of invisibly like the paint listed above.
Modified Epoxy Paints
This type of paint makes a very tough, hard exterior that doesn’t wear away. It can be added to most existing paint types but needs to be re-applied (usually this is done annually). If the old paint is not removed before the new layer is added this will build up over time. It can even get so thick that it starts to crack and peel.
Vinyl Antifouling Paints
If you’re doing high speeds in your boat then this is a type of paint you will want to consider. It’s the smoothest and fastest out of all the paint types but they contain potent solvents that can ruin your hull if applied to some pre-existing coatings, so always seek professional advice.
Copolymer Antifouling Paints
These are a fairly new type of paint to hit the market and are long lasting, though their surface will still dissolve on prolonged contact with the water.
How boat hulls are cleaned
As we’ve seen there’s a few different methods of cleaning boats – underwater, boat lifts and slipways, but what actually happens when a boat hull is cleaned? Are chemicals used, scrapers or gurneys? There are a few different ways to clean the bottom of a boat – here’s a few:-
This is where you use a type of acid like Muriatic Acid, Starbrite buffered acid or another non-corrosive acid. Like all chemicals it’s best done in a well-ventilated area with the right protective gear. Check with local councils to ensure their water laws before using any chemical on your boat.
High Pressure Water
Another method is to use a high pressure cleaner to get the grime, algae and build-up off the bottom of your boat. Obviously you need to be careful with this method as over-zealous cleaning can strip away antifouling paint.
Sometimes getting stuck in and scraping the buildup off the bottom of your boat with elbow grease, hard work, know how and the right tools is the best option. Not everyone has all this… so call us today if you need your hull cleaned!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our page about hull cleaning, and if there’s something you’d like to know or you think we’ve left out please contact us on the details below.
Call us now on 0403 279 635 for a quote or fill out our online quote form