Protecting Your Boat Hull From Marine Growth
Every boat owner knows that hulls need protection from marine organisms that can grow and damage the boat. For instance, when a ship is at anchor for long periods of time, shells, algae and barnacles tend to colonise it. This biological growth will increase the roughness of the hull and eventually cause corrosion.
Antifouling is a common solution to this problem. However, this is not always the most practical and ecological choice for hull protection. This article will outline several antifouling alternatives that you may want to consider to keep your boat hull clean and free from biological growth.
But First! What is Antifouling?
The purpose of antifouling is to keep the hull of boats free form barnacles and algae by applying an ablative paint. This type of paint is intended to keep the bottom of a boat free from barnacles and other species of marine growth.
If nothing is done to keep the boat hull clean, the fuel consumption increases, 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, paint inevitably breaks down in the water. This is bad for the environment and one of the numerous consequences is that the toxic substances contaminate the food chain before ending up on our plates.
Antifouling paint needs to be replaced once a year. This type of boat treatment is very costly and time consuming for boat owners. If not done regularly, it will no longer be effective. Then old paints need to be manually removed by using even more toxic products.
If the boat remains permanently in salt water, it is not guaranteed the antifouling treatment will be 100% effective. Barnacles and other marine growth can still be found on boats that have had antifouling treatment. 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, however, antifouling may be prohibited in the coming years. Antifouling regulations are currently in place in some European countries and in California. That is why you need to consider 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, a few options are available to keep a boat dry even if it is docked at a marina or private jetty.
The most common option is to use a boat lift. Free-standing boat lifts are great; they are integrated and aesthetic, but are not suitable in tidal areas. However, boat lifts have a number of issues, including being the most expensive dry-docking option, and are not allowed in many locations to avoid obstructing the view in the neighbourhood. The Floatlift is a different type of boat lift that is perfectly suitable in areas that have fluctuating water levels.
One of the best antifouling alternatives is the use of SeaPen. The SeaPen is comparable to a boat lift, which is a method of keeping a boat hull dry while the boat is docked.
Here are the two main differences between a boat lift and a SeaPen. Firstly, the SeaPen is much more affordable than a boat lift, and it is the only dry-docking system at water level available on the market. 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.
The only other option to dry dock a boat is to build a platform with FloatBricks. Some of the bricks have a specific shape, allowing the pilot to easily drive on and off in a matter of seconds. The boat will stay on the platform and prevent the hull from making contact with the water. This option is the most affordable, but is not suitable for boats longer than eight metres.
Dry-docking a boat is a much “healthier option” than antifouling. The cost of maintenance 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. If you are not sure what option would be the most suitable in your situation, we recommend that you contact our team of experts today. You will receive assistance to build the best dry-docking solution for your boat and your docking location.