Marine vessels used for commercial or recreational purposes all have one similar issue that must be addressed. The issue is plant and animal life that can attach itself to vessels when watercraft are allowed to sit in a port, harbor or marina for long periods of time. Normally known as fouling, these plant and animal compounds can damage marine vessels if they are left on a boat's surface and if they are allowed to grow unchecked. The fuel efficiency of boats can be compromised, along with possibly causing permanent damage to boats. |
Most Common And Pervasive Types Of Fouling
When animal and plant substances begin to attach to boat hulls, it usually begins as a slimy substance. From there, small organisms build up consisting of what marine biologists call plankton. Plant forms of fouling include growths like seaweeds that come in three colors, red, brown and green. Spores from the weeds attach to the boat's hull, creating a perfect environment for other species to also attach, grow and thrive.
When the earliest forms of marine growth density begin to form on a boat hull, they can quickly grow out of control unless the boat hull is cleaned periodically. Boat hulls can also be treated with anti-fouling forms of paint. Most paints that are used for their anti-fouling benefits contain copper. Many boaters who are interested in a green, earth-friendly solution choose paints with other polymer-based ingredients instead of copper. Boaters should do research to decide what type of paint is best for their situation and for the materials the watercraft is made from.
Other Animal And Biological Forms Of Fouling
Other types of fouling include shell or animal based fouling. These consist of barnacles, mollusks, mussels like Quagga mussels and Zebra Mussels, various types of very destructive worms or a species that thrive on flatter surfaces known as Bryozoans. One worm species that is especially damaging to wooden boats is called Teredo worms. These highly destructive worms have also been nicknamed termites of the sea or water termites.
Tube worms can also be very destructive. They need to be dealt with quickly to avoid damage. Worms can eventually create a hard, calcium type of growth which provides shelter for them to thrive. The one place boaters do not want these types of growth to thrive, however, is on the hulls of boats.
Best Ways To Clean A Boat Hull
When the hull of a vessel is painted with non-ablative paint, it should not be cleaned while it is submersed beneath the surface of the water. Scrubbing the hull can release bio-cides or paint particles into the water that cause harm to the marina ecosystem. This is especially true if abrasives are used to remove things like barnacles.
A better way to clean boat hulls is to remove vessels from the water and clean with a pressure washer, set to the lowest possible effective amount of pressure. Cleaning in a marina with a separate facility to clean boat hulls is recommended. Ideally the marina has a special system that collects runoff water in a separate tank.
Runoff water is then cleaned and filtered before it's reused. If boat hulls are painted without hard, non-ablative paints, they can be cleaned in the water. Boat owners should take care to use cleaning materials with the least amount of abrasives they can find. Keeping boat hulls free from marine growth density is not only good for the boat surface, it's better for the environment. When growth is removed, it isn't carried to other bodies of water, potentially introducing invasive species to new waterways.
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