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Old 14-09-2009, 15:53   #1
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Hull Cleaning on a Liveaboard

Hey folks,

I've got a large boat, a Brown Searunner 37, and that means I have a lot of hull to keep clean. I'm fine with swabbing the huge amount of deck, but the hull is another story altogether.

I'd like to find a power washer - I do have a generator and can provide the necessary amperage to run one, but since I don't have moorage I don't have access to a pressured water supply, ie a hose. Is there such thing as a power washer that I could just toss a hose in the ocean and use seawater at pressure to spray the boat clean?

I'm well open to other suggestions too!
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Old 14-09-2009, 17:24   #2
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Can't you just go to a haul out, pressure wash, and put back in? Just takes a few hours max (and some cash).
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Old 14-09-2009, 17:37   #3
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Do you have a wash-down pump? the water requirements for a power washer are very small, all you need is a hose end adapter. Aren't you going to need to haul out anyway to get to the hull??? they should have a hose.
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Old 15-09-2009, 12:11   #4
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a haul-out for a boat this large is non-trivial; I'm only 39 feet long, but my beam is 23 feet. There's only a few places that *can* do a haulout, and I had hoped to put that off for another few months and get her bottom freshly painted in May or so. Until then, I'd like to keep her cleaner...

I do not currently have a washdown pump, but it's something I'd be interested in - I've just been swabbing by hauling up buckets of seawater and scrubbing with a long-handled brush. It's easy on the decks, but it's 10x harder to do down the sides...
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Old 15-09-2009, 13:15   #5
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very few pressure washers will work from sea water.

A lot of them will work quite happily from a low pressure supply, and some even from a non-pressured source such as a large bucket.
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Old 15-09-2009, 15:46   #6
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I assume the Searunner is a Trimaran and will sit nicely on a beach while you scrape the crud from the bottom between tides. As for using a pressure washer on deck or on the hull, I would recommend against it. There is so much pressure to most of those units that you will remove much more than the built-up dirt. I have seen them remove paint from houses and cars and damage gelcoat.
On bottom paint they are devistating if the paint does not have a solid attachment to the hull. Usually when hulls are power washed, they are being hauled for maintenance or storage and a new coating will be applied before launch.
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Old 15-09-2009, 15:52   #7
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Don't know about the great frozen north but down south a dive tank and a scraper is all that is needed
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Old 15-09-2009, 16:55   #8
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So you are only looking to clean the sides above the waterline??

A washdown pump would definately be a big help above deck and with a simple pressure switch could easily provide enough water for a pressure washer. You could probably use a large container on the cabin top and a gravity feed to the pressure washer as well.
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Old 15-09-2009, 18:58   #9
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I've tried a hose and nozzle to "blast" algal growth from the hull (below the water line) --- two problems: (1) it turns me into a jet boat and I spend more time hanging on than washing and (2) hose nozzles were never intended to operate underwater, so the water jet disperses rather too quickly to be very effective. My new standard method is an extension handle (18 ft) and a SOFT brush at the end, then just a bit of up and down motion right to the bottom of the keel once every 2 or 3 months. Fortunately, most of the growth is in the first foot or so below the water line and on the sunny-side of the boat.
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Old 15-09-2009, 22:04   #10
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- - Last time I was in Vancouver, B.C. I visited a downtown marina and the tidal range was 3 to 4 meters. They had a permanent section of seawall set aside for careening boats to clean the bottom. No haul-out necessary, there were keel supports and cleats for tying to the seawall. You had up to 5 hours to do your work before the incoming time got too high. Just find a convenient place and place the supports for your boats bottom shape during one low tide and then come back for the next low tide with the boat and do the bottom.
- - Pressure washing a bottom is not conducive to long life of your antifouling system as you tend to "blast away" the paint until you have bare hull bottom.
- - If you're stinking wealthy the major shipping companies and cruise ship companies buy "robots" that used water power to scurry back and forth across the bottom of their hulls using brushes to clean away all the sea growth. I think the smallest cheapest unit is only US$25K.
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Old 15-09-2009, 22:17   #11
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A mudding knife makes a really good hull scraper. and it only costs about 10 bucks. Nice and wide, does a big swath with each swipe. Put a strap around your wrist... wanna guess how I learned to do that?

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