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Old 29-03-2016, 04:20   #1
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How Often to Bottom Clean the Boat?

About a year ago, I bought an older epoxy over wood boat and immediately hauled it due to the junk on the bottom. That cost me $1,500 in crane/storage costs and another 1.5k in labor and materials. Not an experience I would like to repeat yearly.

The boat is in the tropics, and when I bought it, was moored in a brackish estuary, where growth was abundant. The guy who hauled it suggested that I clean the slime off it every month or so, to keep barnacles etc., from growing, so I did so for about a year.

However, as a result, even though I used mostly just a glove, lots of ablative paint came off, especially around the water line, and now I get barnacles there and in other places on the hull where the paint is thin.

My questions then are as follows:

"Did I get a wrong steer from the hauler (for perhaps obvious reasons) , and should I have cleaned less frequently?"

"Also, should I clean less frequently now, allowing barnacles to grow, then simply pop them off with a small scraper, while continuing my gloved cleaning, in order to avoid another, costly haul?"

"Lastly, from reading other threads, it seems that many folks clean much less often, so what is the risk, if any, to the hull while letting some barnacles grow to the point of potentially slowing down the boat, and how often does one really need to clean the bottom?"


I know, I know, "it depends ..." : )

Let's hear what you guys and gals think on any or all of the above.

Best Regards,

G2L
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Old 29-03-2016, 06:00   #2
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Re: How Often to Hand-Clean the Bottom?

Most folks in the tropics play similar games. We try to avoid rubbing the ablative paint by scraping only with a plastic scraper. The odd time we use a sponge like material to clean off slime. We scrape it once a month or less. Stay out of marinas
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Old 29-03-2016, 06:01   #3
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How Often to Hand-Clean the Bottom?

Ablative paint works well for boats that go fast enough frequently enough to take advantage of the paint's ablative nature. Not good for marina queens that need to be hand cleaned frequently. Or in oddly foul waters of course.

Suggest you get a different nonablative paint on your next haul out. Then wipe off the slime once a month in general and maybe once every couple weeks at the height of your local fouling season. JMHO.

We've never scraped the bottom. Just wipe it off and sometimes scrubbed.


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Old 29-03-2016, 06:03   #4
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Re: How Often to Hand-Clean the Bottom?

I say clean it, if you don't then it will be harder to remove, yes waterline goes first, and there will be little if any growth on the bottom where there is little light.
3K sounds a little expensive for a bottom job, how big a boat?
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Old 29-03-2016, 06:45   #5
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Re: How Often to Hand-Clean the Bottom?

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Most folks in the tropics play similar games. We try to avoid rubbing the ablative paint by scraping only with a plastic scraper. The odd time we use a sponge like material to clean off slime. We scrape it once a month or less. Stay out of marinas
So, if I am correctly reading your post, you keep the slime for two mos., scrape the barnacles once a mo.

Correct?

G2L
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Old 29-03-2016, 06:47   #6
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Re: How Often to Hand-Clean the Bottom?

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Originally Posted by Schooner Chandlery View Post
Ablative paint works well for boats that go fast enough frequently enough to take advantage of the paint's ablative nature. Not good for marina queens that need to be hand cleaned frequently. Or in oddly foul waters of course.

Suggest you get a different nonablative paint on your next haul out. Then wipe off the slime once a month in general and maybe once every couple weeks at the height of your local fouling season. JMHO.

We've never scraped the bottom. Just wipe it off and sometimes scrubbed.


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Thanks for your input.

G2L
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Old 29-03-2016, 06:49   #7
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Re: How Often to Hand-Clean the Bottom?

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I say clean it, if you don't then it will be harder to remove, yes waterline goes first, and there will be little if any growth on the bottom where there is little light.
3K sounds a little expensive for a bottom job, how big a boat?
Yeah, but were foreign with folks who have some expertise having more or less a monopoly. Makes a difference when you need to get stuff done right.


It's a 40' tri.

Thanks,

G2L
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Old 29-03-2016, 06:50   #8
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Re: How Often to Hand-Clean the Bottom?

Our slip is located on the Manatee River about 2 miles from lower Tampa Bay hence the water we're in can be characterized as "brackish". Generally, our water temperatures range from the mid- to low 60's in winter to mid-80's in mid- to late summer. The foregoing proves a fertile environment for "growies" as proven by the stunning size of the growths on our seawalls, piles etc.; and, the hulls of unprotected boats.

To deal with this situation, we use Petit Ultima SR bottom paint, a "hard" bottom paint, applied in two coats with a third within 18" of the water line. Between paint jobs--usually every 36 months--we hand clean the bottom monthly save for late summer (August-September) when it's every three weeks. Cleaning is done with a piece of discarded short knap nylon carpet wrapped around a short length of 2x4. With this regime, we usually only have a little slimy build-up between cleanings and virtually no barnacle growth. I know of no ablative paint that could endure the cleaning regime for the length of time between recoatings that we get with Ultima. Note too that, if ablation does not take place, ablative paint's efficacy is diminished or lost entirely.

FWIW...
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Old 29-03-2016, 06:57   #9
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Re: How Often to Hand-Clean the Bottom?

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Our slip is located on the Manatee River about 2 miles from lower Tampa Bay hence the water we're in can be characterized as "brackish". Generally, our water temperatures range from the mid- to low 60's in winter to mid-80's in mid- to late summer. The foregoing proves a fertile environment for "growies" as proven by the stunning size of the growths on our seawalls, piles etc.; and, the hulls of unprotected boats.

To deal with this situation, we use Petit Ultima SR bottom paint, a "hard" bottom paint, applied in two coats with a third within 18" of the water line. Between paint jobs--usually every 36 months--we hand clean the bottom monthly save for late summer (August-September) when it's every three weeks. Cleaning is done with a piece of discarded short knap nylon carpet wrapped around a short length of 2x4. With this regime, we usually only have a little slimy build-up between cleanings and virtually no barnacle growth. I know of no ablative paint that could endure the cleaning regime for the length of time between recoatings that we get with Ultima. Note too that, if ablation does not take place, ablative paint's efficacy is diminished or lost entirely.

FWIW...
Yeah, well that is what we have done until recently. But, sounds like our paint is not as good, and I am sure we can't get yours where we are.

But thanks for sharing, as it puts lots of stuff in perspective on my end.

Regards,

G2L
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Old 29-03-2016, 07:03   #10
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Re: How Often to Hand-Clean the Bottom?

I use a 3M white scotch brite pad that comes on a handle, the white is the gentlest
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Old 29-03-2016, 07:09   #11
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Re: How Often to Hand-Clean the Bottom?

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I use a 3M white scotch brite pad that comes on a handle, the white is the gentlest
We use cotton gloves with rubber nubs on them. I like them because I can feel the hull slime and can tell when I have removed enough.

On the other hand, you probably get a lot less cuts ; )

Thanks,

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Old 29-03-2016, 08:42   #12
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Re: How Often to Bottom Clean the Boat?

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Did I get a wrong steer from the hauler (for perhaps obvious reasons) , and should I have cleaned less frequently?
Clean the bottom when it is dirty. If you cannot easily see the color of the paint under the fouling, you have waited too long. Relatively frequent, gentle cleanings (as opposed to infrequent, more abrasive cleanings) will help keep your paint (regardless of type) on the bottom of the boat, where it belongs.

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Also, should I clean less frequently now, allowing barnacles to grow, then simply pop them off with a small scraper, while continuing my gloved cleaning, in order to avoid another, costly haul?
If you allow barnacles to attach and grow on your hull, they will leave a calcarous base (the little white ring) on the hull when removed. You will not be able to remove the ring in the water without damaging the hull. Further, these rings will not have anti fouling paint on them and therefore will allow further fouling to occur. Sort of a vicious circle.

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Lastly, from reading other threads, it seems that many folks clean much less often, so what is the risk, if any, to the hull while letting some barnacles grow to the point of potentially slowing down the boat, and how often does one really need to clean the bottom?
See above.
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Old 29-03-2016, 09:47   #13
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Re: How Often to Hand-Clean the Bottom?

[QUOTE=Gone2long;2083924]So, if I am correctly reading your post, you keep the slime for two mos., scrape the barnacles once a mo.

Correct?

G2L[/QUOT

Nope, we just very seldom get slime but baby barnacles seem to love us in some areas
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Old 29-03-2016, 12:40   #14
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Re: How Often to Hand-Clean the Bottom?

we used to scrub all the ablative paint off in less than a year until someone told us about scraping the hull with a metal drywall knife. It only takes the slime off and leaves the paint. We realized that if we're creating a cloud of blue paint in the water, we're taking months off the life of the bottom. As soon as we stopped scrubbing and started scraping, the bottom lasted 2 years with marginal degradation and instead of having to sand off a lot of bad paint, we did a light sand and top coated, saving a lot of the paint in the process.
Also, my yard manager suggested our first coat after applying a barrier coat on a bare bottom should be a contrasting color so we started with a red hard coat and then did two or three ablative blue coats. The idea, of course, is when red starts peeking through you know it's time for a haul out and paint job.
You have to hold the drywall knife at a shallow angle, some finesse is required, to keep from scraping paint off but it's not hard and goes pretty quickly. We usually anchor in water that's barely deep enough to keep the keel off so we can almost stand. We're also going to try a hooka system that came with the boat; scuba tank on deck and a very long hose to a second stage that should save us trying to hold our breath for 45 minutes...
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Old 29-03-2016, 13:01   #15
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Re: How Often to Hand-Clean the Bottom?

A scraper doesn't really clean the hull. It leaves a layer of slime that provides a base from which future fouling will grow. Certainly no paint manufacturer would recommend it.
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