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Old 30-12-2007, 07:04   #1
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Hull cleaning question?

Hello All,

In another thead I asked about the viability of feeding the kitty by offering hull cleaning and other underwater services to other cruisers as I travel.

One who responded said that most cruisers carry thier own SCUBA gear and perform theese tasks themselves.

My question: How many of you actually do your own underwater work?

My own LIMITED observation is that less than 25% of the cruisers I have asked carry SCUBA gear.

What is the reality?

Thanks

Steve
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Old 30-12-2007, 07:14   #2
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Routine hull cleaning (performed somewhat regularly) doesn’t require SCUBA gear. A normally healthy person can clean much of their hull from the surface, with a minimum of shallow free-diving.
It’s best to clean your hull whilst a slight current is flowing. This flushes the biting creatures away, preventing their relocating to your person.
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Old 30-12-2007, 07:30   #3
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The only time I've paid for hull cleaning is when the boat has been in a marina for several days, while provisioning for an offshore passage. The fact that all that "stuff" grows on the hull in a marina is reason enough for me not wanting to get in the water! Otherwise, I take care of it myself using snorkelling gear in a nice clean anchorage, as Gord described.
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Old 30-12-2007, 10:54   #4
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Hull Cleaning Business

I just completed a two year trip down the western Central American coast and up through the Caribbean. I always did my own free diving to clean and do prop adjustments, etc. as has been described by others. But I think that you could supplement your kitty (doubt that you could live off it) by diving for some others if you could do more than clean, prop and post grounding inspections, etc. There are lot of old folks out cruising in trawlers and cats who are not necessarily going to want to get in the water or do not have the equipment.
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Old 30-12-2007, 13:11   #5
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i have scuba onboard but a couple of years ago purchased a small hookah set up as well. it is good for up to 7m and excelent for hull cleaning (bought it very chaep on ebay and it had only been used once in fresh water). As soon as I started using it in the marina i had more people want me to cleen their hulls then I could handle. i usually charge $3 a foot for just scrubbing and more if there are barnicals. Usually takes me about 1-2 hours per boat. i paid for the hookah in the first week.
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Old 30-12-2007, 18:05   #6
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Anybody who can do an adequate job hull cleaning and replacing zincs while holding their breath is a better man than me. But then I've only been doing it professionally for 13 years.
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Old 30-12-2007, 20:02   #7
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"The fact that all that "stuff" grows on the hull in a marina is reason enough for me not wanting to get in the water! "
Me too! I won't get in the water at a marina--or even a mooring field--unless I have to. I'd rather be out in water where there is less chance of someone dumping a head, or someone having an electrical leak, or anything else that might "bite" me.
Freediving to clean a hull...I'd call that a long chore compared to using canned air and not having to keep popping up and down. I'd think the hookah was a better idea, since hauling tanks to get them filled, and having them VIP'd annually, and all the other chores that come with SCUBA, can make it a much bigger PITA than just being able to start up a hookah and go to work. And if you are truly roaming--getting a clean fill in your tanks can be problematic. I don't know about down in the islands, but here in the Northeast there have been plenty of shops that want over $40 for the annual VIP, and more that manage to get "oil" in the tank as well as moisture. And most of them manage to get your tank filled a couple of days after they said it would be ready, too. (Good way to keep those pesky customers from coming back.)
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Old 30-12-2007, 20:24   #8
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My cruising budget is going include things like paying someone to give the boat a scrub, topside polish and also interior clean after a passage or every so often. Obviously I normally do that sort of stuff myself but now and again, if the budget hasn't blown out, its a nice thing to make Nicolle feel special. Theres a nice secondary point of being able to keep a few dolars circulating around the cruisers.

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Old 31-12-2007, 01:40   #9
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Originally Posted by fstbttms View Post
Anybody who can do an adequate job hull cleaning and replacing zincs while holding their breath is a better man than me. But then I've only been doing it professionally for 13 years.
A lot of these guys have cats.
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Old 01-01-2008, 19:09   #10
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A lot of these guys have cats.
D'oh!
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Old 01-01-2008, 20:39   #11
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I'm a diver by trade and can't imagine not having gear onboard as I am called to cut rope out wheels on a regular basis, mostly fishing boats, but it happens to cruisers too, even sucked up a line myself once. I do my hull and have made some spare cash doing others, but yea marinas & harbours can be dangerious places to get in the water. I am in a drysuit but ear infctions are possible. I read a book about a round the world race where one of the racers saved a couple bucks on the lift and scrubbed his hull in Rio. He got a cut from a barnicale, it infected after he was out at sea and became a life threatening problem.
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Old 01-01-2008, 23:09   #12
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I've got about 90% hearing loss in my right ear. Although I have no proof of any kind, I suspect it was from ear infection while in Mexico. I had several unbelievable earaches early in our cruising experience. I also fished almost every day with a snorkel and a spear gun during that 4 year time but most importantly, I cleaned a few boat bottoms with my hookah rig in some rather nasty places when I really needed the money.

When my hearing went, it was immediate. I went to see a Mexican doctor who said,
"When your vacation is over, go see an American doctor. He can help you."
When I told him I lived aboard and wasn't on vacation, he got a serious look on his face. I've got Tinnitus, the whole enchilada. My hearing in that ear is still the same, lousy.

Be careful out there. It's a wonderful experience, but no one is impervious to risk.

Steve B.
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Old 03-01-2008, 00:57   #13
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I also fished almost every day with a snorkel and a spear gun during that 4 year time but most importantly, I cleaned a few boat bottoms with my hookah rig in some rather nasty places when I really needed the money.
Never, ever clean a hull without a hood on, regardless of water temperature.
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Old 03-01-2008, 13:03   #14
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Never, ever clean a hull without a hood on, regardless of water temperature.
Are there ear eating critters out there? (Shiver running down my spine)
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Old 03-01-2008, 13:26   #15
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He makes a good point: There's all sorts of small nasty stingy stuff out there, keeping it out of your hair and ears isn't such a bad idea. And a neoprene hood does wonders for heat loss and bumping your head against the hull, too.
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