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Old 20-09-2018, 11:29   #1
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Black spots all over boat in marina; do I have any recourse? How to clean?

I just stopped by the boat and there are hundreds and thousands of little black spots all over my boat (See Photos).

I pay a lot of money to the marina for the slip and something like this is unacceptable. It was literally clean and without those spots 3 days ago. What the hell could have happened?

Do I have any recourse with the marina? What should I tell them? I'm about to pay them a very large (over $5,000 USD) invoice for them and I'd love to be able to tell them to discount the invoice so that I could hire professional cleaning or for them to throw in the cleaning in the invoice amount.

See photos. Any help/recommendations will be greatly appreciated since I just spent this past weekend cleaning up the entire vessel.
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Old 20-09-2018, 12:28   #2
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Black spots all over boat in marina; do I have any recourse? How to clean?

Either mold or some form of industrial fall out.
There is a name for that in the automotive world transporting cars. I think they call it rail dust or something, but there is a lot of airborne pollution.
Where are you located? Why would you think the Marina should have any responsibility?
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Old 20-09-2018, 12:30   #3
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Re: Black spots all over boat in marina; do I have any recourse? How to clean?

What a mess. Looks like fallout from a nearby fire or dirt from a nearby bridge. Another possibility would be overspray from a neighbor's boat painting project, but that coverage seems too uniformly spaced and the specs from paint would almost all be round.
Any other boats suffer the same fate nearby? Was the clean up with soap and water or did it require compounding?
I suffered this while tied up at City Dock in Charleston after just two days, from the nearby bridge traffic. Nice docks but our berth was right next to the bridge and passing traffic was relentless.
Not sure your marina could be held responsible for fire/ash or dirt, unless you have a clause for them to maintain your boat to a certain cleanliness level.

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Old 20-09-2018, 12:51   #4
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Re: Black spots all over boat in marina; do I have any recourse? How to clean?

When you say marina, do you mean yard?
Was your boat hauled for work? Or in a work slip?
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Old 20-09-2018, 13:13   #5
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Re: Black spots all over boat in marina; do I have any recourse? How to clean?

Nice boat.


Hard to blame the marina for air borne pollutants.


Have you tried the simplest first? A quick hose-down. If that's all it takes, then it would be a different issue, perhaps, than embedded grime from who-knows-what-cause.


We had our boat in a marina outside SF for 18 years, just across the Oakland Estuary from a grain plant. It was thankfully downwind most of the time, but we would get plastered with goop once or twice a year before a big storm. Those were only in the winter, and the storm water would wash the boat.


Where I am now is at the boatyard end of our marina. It creates TONS of dust because the yard is not paved. Even with the boat closed up, we get tons of dust INSIDE. Only thing open is our dorade cowls. I simply can't blame the marina or the boatyard. Location, location, location. I'm willing to stay in that slip because it is easy access, wide fairway behind me to the adjacent dock, good turning basin, less foot traffic, solitude as best as can be obtained in a popular marina...



Stuff happens.


Good luck. In any event, please let us know how easily, or not, the spots clean up. Until or unless you can prove the marina had some responsibility, which would require you to PROVE how they got there, it appears from what you've told us that you would have little recourse in pursuing your OP.
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Old 20-09-2018, 13:32   #6
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Re: Black spots all over boat in marina; do I have any recourse? How to clean?

First, try hosing it off. Use a mild boat wash. At some point, if the gel coat has been penetrated (it is somewhat porous) you might want to use a product like TSRW or PolyGlo, which will chemically clean, and then cover the gelcoat with a coat that polymerizes. And that is possibly the best you're going to get. Do not attack it with rubbing compound. Gelcoat is actually little bubbles, and the compound will cut the tops off, leaving voids for filth to accumulate in, and the only repair for that is re-gelcoating.

Painting it will add a whole extra layer of complexity, because paint is fragile, gets nicks, needs re-doing, and is rather expensive, rather more expensive than one might think. Our boat is painted. I like plain gelcoat better.

Remember, there are no five minute jobs on a boat. And this isn't the marina's fault, so forget that whole option.

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Old 20-09-2018, 13:40   #7
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Re: Black spots all over boat in marina; do I have any recourse? How to clean?

It looks way to uniform to be anything other than industrial fall out.

It does look like particles, making me suspect it did not travel too far. What it resembles, to me, is fall out from paving operations, either the asphalt plant or from road milling.

Try this. If mineral spirits or xylene removes them, road milling is likely. If acid works, either fall out or a huge amount of grinding.



Is the boat near a travel lift/washing operation? Were a lot of boats hauled and washed recently? But it does not look right for that, to me, and particles that large don't carry that far.


And of course, aren't all of the boats like that? If so, ask your neighbors. Is it worse towards one end of the marina? This might give some clues. If it is only yours, where you recently (like within the last two weeks) hauled out?


Welcome to boat ownership?
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Old 20-09-2018, 13:47   #8
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Re: Black spots all over boat in marina; do I have any recourse? How to clean?

Get a cover made?
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Old 20-09-2018, 14:32   #9
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Re: Black spots all over boat in marina; do I have any recourse? How to clean?

looks like ash which could have come from forest fires thousands of miles away,good news is it should wash off easy
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Old 20-09-2018, 16:12   #10
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Re: Black spots all over boat in marina; do I have any recourse? How to clean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cool Hand Luke View Post
I pay a lot of money to the marina for the slip and something like this is unacceptable.
Unacceptable? So what did you expect the marina to do to stop airborne pollution?


I also pay a lot of money for my marina berth, but I don't expect them to keep the birds from sh*tting on my deck or to prevent wind blown dust or whatever from landing on it. Nor do I expect them to clean my boat for me.
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Old 21-09-2018, 05:11   #11
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Re: Black spots all over boat in marina; do I have any recourse? How to clean?

For awhile back in the '80's we had our boat in the Alamitos Bay marina, in Long Beach, SoCal, hard by Highway 1. We often found "dirt" like that which proved to be soot from the exhaust of diesel trucks/buses on the highway. It was a weekly, if not daily, chore to keep the yacht clean but necessary as the soot, when combined with moisture, formed acids that would ruin the gel-coat and bright work.

On one occasion, we spent a day in San Pedro waiting for a window to get to Two Harbors. Not too far away, across the channel, a bulk carrier was being loaded with material running through chutes and into the ship's cargo compartments. The debris--coal dust--was carried across the channel by the wind, coating our, any every other boat around us with a dusting of the stuff that had an appearance similar to what you've pictured.

I guess one could say, "Chute happens", no?
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Old 21-09-2018, 08:28   #12
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Re: Black spots all over boat in marina; do I have any recourse? How to clean?

Thank you to all that replied!!

A64PILOT - it's not mold. I was on the boat on Sunday and it was super clean. I cleaned inside and out with my family. By Wednesday, all of this happened. I do think it's some sort of industrial fall out. Marina said it may be "diesel soot" or something like that. The boat is located in Jersey City, New Jersey. I'm not saying the marina is responsible but hopefully they'll be willing in helping me out after spending almost $20,000 USD with them this year between slip and repairs.

PSTADT - That's a good point. Someone's painting project? It may have been. There's a bunch of people working on their boats around me. And as it happens, only the boats in my immediete vicinity are affected. Yes, other boats nearby are affected. It does not wash off with simple soap and water.

SAILMONKEY - The boat wasn't hauled out. It never happened before and it must have happened some time between Sunday and Wednesday.

STU JACKSON - a simple hose-down didn't work. It's definitely something more serious than some dust. I'm going to try to do a more thorough cleaning tomorrow and I'll keep you posted on what works and what didn't work.

JPA CATE - thanks for the info on the products. I may have to use those. And yes, you're absolutely right. There are NO five minute jobs on a boat. Except maybe drinking a beer or a painkiller or a dark and stormy. Those I could do in 5 minutes.

THINWATER - yes, it's definitely something industrial. Marina guy said it may be "diesel soot" but why only the select few boats around me? Yes, there's a travel lift not too far but a lot of boats in between me and the lift that weren't affected.

ATOLL - it's not ash and it's not washing off too easily. And the whole marina isn't affected, just me and a few boats around.

STUM - I can't expect the marina to stop airborne pollution but they can stop whoever is doing it in or around the marina. This is not some ash or dust or birdshit flying around. This is SERIOUS pollution.
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Old 21-09-2018, 08:30   #13
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Re: Black spots all over boat in marina; do I have any recourse? How to clean?

I am at a loss as how this could possibly be the marina's fault. Regular washing is part of it. You have some fun scrubbing ahead.
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Old 21-09-2018, 08:34   #14
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Re: Black spots all over boat in marina; do I have any recourse? How to clean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Why would you think the Marina should have any responsibility?
This. ^^^

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cool Hand Luke View Post
Do I have any recourse with the marina? What should I tell them? I'm about to pay them a very large (over $5,000 USD) invoice for them and I'd love to be able to tell them to discount the invoice so that I could hire professional cleaning or for them to throw in the cleaning in the invoice amount.
Unbelievable.
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Old 21-09-2018, 08:38   #15
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Re: Black spots all over boat in marina; do I have any recourse? How to clean?

Hard to say from here. But fairly typical in cities. Any bridges nearby? Car's produce a lot of rubber and oil debris from the tires. or...Is there a liveaboard with a diesel stove or heater nearby? I used to get black mold spots which formed very quick and were very difficult to get off.
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