The ocean is brim full of planktonic larvae and planktonic algal spores, who seek a suitable surface to develop into their adult form. Unfortunately a hull of a boat is one of these suitable surfaces for these organisms to latch onto and develop, effectively making boats subject to ownership of a portable marine ecosystem! This can create a fascinating site for snorkelling, as the layer of algae encourages fish to accompany the boat. However the accumulated fouling demands greater engine exertion to maintain speed, resulting in greater fuel use, added cost and can be damaging to the engine. Not only is performance an issue here, but safety as well. Heavy fouling causes a boat to sit lower in the water and negatively effects responsiveness. A dangerous combination in demanding weather conditions!
To give you an idea of the extent that things grow on your boat over the course of a 24 weeks, we have drawn up a timeline:-
- From 2 weeks in the water, your hull will have a brown slime reducing the performance of your boat slightly.
- After 6 weeks, weed is present and barnacles begin to form, causing you to use more fuel and higher revs to achieve the same cruising speed.
- After 12 weeks, your hull will have long strands of weed with barnacles establishing themselves and mussel growth beginning. Performance will be severely reduced with your engine “labouring” as it pushes the boat through the water. It is unlikely that you will be able to get onto the plane or cruise at your normal speed/rpm combination. Very visible increase in smoke from your engine, blackening your stern
- After 24 weeks, your floating caravan will have severe fouling, reduced manoeuvrability even at slow speeds.
If it is your wish not to have a carpet underneath your boat it is possible to overcome with something called antifoul. This is a paint that is formulated with slow releasing biocides which impede growth of barnacles, algae, and marine organisms. However the application of antifoul is no simple affair and the importance of preparation and correct application is the only way to ensure the protection you are applying is going to be effective. It’s also important to note the level of importance of that you are using the correct antifoul. This can be extremely complicated though with so many variables to consider such as temperature, cruising speed, the amount of organisms in the water and off course budget.
This yearly ritual that a lot of boaters put themselves through is physically exhausting not to mention time consuming. It usually consists of cleaning and sanding everything below the waterline to remove all traces of algae and flaking on the previously applied antifoul paint. After it is primed you can then apply the paint in a multiple of layers making sure to wear the appropriate safety equipment is worn as antifoul is extremely hazardous.
Nevertheless as much of an impracticality as antifouling is, it’s definitely mandatory for us boaters. For those soon thinking about antifouling their boats BH marine offers a maintenance service to keep your boats in check over the year to ensure you are always ready to go to sea.
Call or email for a competitive quote firstname.lastname@example.org we cover Weymouth and Portland and Poole.