Protecting Your Boat Hull From Marine Growth
Every boat owner knows that boat hulls need protection from marine growth that can build up and damage their boat. When a vessel is at anchor for long periods, barnacles and algae accumulate and grow. This biological growth increases the roughness of the hull and eventually causes corrosion.
Antifouling is a common solution to prevent the growth built up from being in the water long term. However, antifouling is not always the most practical and ecologically friendly choice for hull protection. Here we’ll outline some antifouling alternatives that you may want to consider so that you can keep your boat hull clean and free from marine growth.
But First! What is Antifouling?
Antifouling aims to keep the hull of boats free from barnacles and algae by applying an ablative paint. Antifoul is painted onto the hull to inhibit marine growth; however, it is also toxic to our marine environment due to the addition of copper particles. These particles are harmful to humans and can wreak havoc on marine life and the environment. Research also shows that antifouling can harm vessels resale values. In addition, dry-docking in a marine yard for maintenance is costly financially and often fails to achieve the long term results you are seeking.
Without regular maintenance to keep the boat hull clean, the sheer weight of growth and damage can increase fuel consumption while the boat slows down and durability is significantly reduced.
Common Disadvantages of Antifouling
Antifouling paints contain toxic chemicals such as copper, zinc and even tributyltin. When boats are permanently docked, over time, paint inevitably breaks down in the water. This breakdown can have catastrophic consequences for the environment, with the toxic substances contaminating the marine food chain before ending up on our plates.
Antifouling is costly and time consuming for boat owners. In addition, antifouling paint needs to be removed and reapplied annually using more toxic products and, if not done regularly, will no longer be effective.
If the boat remains permanently in saltwater, it’s not even guaranteed the antifouling treatment will be 100% effective. In addition, barnacles and other marine growth can still be found on boats with antifouling treatment.
Today, antifouling paint is a permanent concern for boat owners and should be verified as often as possible. No restrictions are currently in place in Australia and New Zealand, but there are antifouling regulations in some European countries and in California. Thus, it’s clear that antifouling days may be numbered and potentially prohibited in the coming years. With this in mind, it is no wonder boat owners are considering antifouling alternatives that are less expensive and more environmentally friendly.
Dry Docking: The Best Antifouling Alternative
The best way to keep a boat hull clean is to not have it permanently in the water. Fortunately, dry docking systems are taking innovative leaps every year and are more readily available so you can keep your boat dry even when it’s docked at a marina or private jetty.
Today, there are more boat lift options than ever before! There is a lift to suit most boats and locations, from Freestanding boatlifts, elevator lifts, and floating lifts. The Floatlift is a different type of boat lift that is perfectly suitable in areas that have fluctuating water levels. In contrast, the elevator lift is more suited to environments impacted by waves and strong currents. Ultra-fast and minimalist in design, Boatlifts offer boat owners more options for dry-docking their boats close to home.
One of the best antifouling alternatives is the SeaPen. The SeaPen is comparable to a boat lift; however, two main differences exist between a boat lift and a SeaPen. Firstly, the SeaPen is a much more affordable option, and the SeaPen allows you to dry-dock at water level. Once the boat is docked in a SeaPen, the appearance of the boat does not change. It is hardly noticeable that the boat is dry-docked which means you keep your view undisturbed.
Another great option to dry dock your boat is to build a platform with FloatBricks. FloatBricks offer flexible solutions to PWC and small boat owners. Allowing you to quickly drive on and off in a matter of seconds, FloatBricks keep your boat on the platform and prevent the hull from making contact with the water. FloatBricks is one of the most affordable solutions for smaller vessels on the market!
Dry-docking a boat is a much “healthier option” than antifouling. The maintenance cost will be reduced, the boat will perform better, and the resale value will increase.
DOCKPRO is an Australian company that focuses only on developing and distributing the best dry-docking solutions in Australia and New Zealand.
Wondering what option would be the most suitable for your boat and location? Contact our team of experts today. Our team are highly skilled in developing the ultimate dry-docking solution for you and your boat.