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Old 08-03-2016, 10:03 AM   #1
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Hull maintenance in Southern Climes...

I have a question regarding hull maintenance, specifically in areas of Florida, where we currently reside.
Friends of ours have the bottom of their 24' Rossborough cleaned every month. I asked him about bottom paint, and he said it was too much of a pain...not sure what that meant. There are hundreds of "bottom cleaning" services here that do in-water hull cleaning.
In the 10yrs we had Whistful (34' MT up in Maine) we did a "quick haul" every spring, and would tend to hull maintenance during that window, but we never had our hull cleaned during the rest of the year. There was the local club member who was a diver, and every month or so he'd check zincs while he was down, but that was about it.

I understand Southern waters are much warmer (why we're here!). We've noticed many other regional differences between living in New England and Florida (try and buy Light Cream in the grocery store down here), but I doubt that hull maintenance is just a matter of preference.

So for you fellow Southernites, what do you do for hull maintenance?
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Old 08-03-2016, 10:11 AM   #2
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Once a month I have the hull/props and thru-hulls cleaned by a diver. Props seem to be the most in need of cleaning during the summer months.
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Old 08-03-2016, 10:14 AM   #3
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I live in South Carolina. All the people I know who keep their boats in the water us anti foulant paint and have a diver service their boats on a schedule. Usually it's as often as every three weeks in the summer and perhaps every two months in the winter.


Temperature and movement of the water the conditions that cause fouling.
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Old 08-03-2016, 10:28 AM   #4
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My boat resides in St. Petersburg, so we deal with approximately 90 degree waters in the summer. I MUST have my bottom cleaned monthly but twice a month during the summer is ideal. Fouling develops very quickly with the best paint in these warm waters!
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Old 08-03-2016, 11:02 AM   #5
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Once a month year round, every three weeks in summer.

Our bottom paint has had a life of three years using that pattern and not been in bad condition at that point, just starting to show the first signs of deterioration.

We never....repeat, never....scrape or blast our bottoms or do anything to them other than when getting them painted. On the routine cleaning, no scraping of any sort. Done frequently it's just a matter of cleaning, of rubbing and removing growth gently. We don't allow the diver to take any harsh tools in with them, whether scrapers or damaging pads. Easy work for a diver. We do use Prop Speed on all metals below surface. Anodes are checked every cleaning as are all hull fittings.

We also use cameras on extensions to check and be sure the diver is doing a good job. So far, they always have.
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Old 08-03-2016, 11:27 AM   #6
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Great info. I know that growth would take place at an accelerated rate in warmer waters. We were also slipped on a river with up to 6knts of tidal current, so that, combined with much colder water temps would obviously impact a maintenance schedule.

Along the same topic, what are the charges typically paid for your hull maintenance?
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Old 08-04-2016, 05:15 AM   #7
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Along the same topic, what are the charges typically paid for your hull maintenance?
My diver charges $2/foot ($48/month). I have been very pleased with his work.
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:07 AM   #8
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Great info. I know that growth would take place at an accelerated rate in warmer waters. We were also slipped on a river with up to 6knts of tidal current, so that, combined with much colder water temps would obviously impact a maintenance schedule.

Along the same topic, what are the charges typically paid for your hull maintenance?
People in other areas are shocked when we discuss this. Those in New England and the PNW especially. However, I will say this. Whatever frequency they haul to clean the bottom or paint the bottom, if they did use a diver occasionally they would lessen that. If you're pressure washing and scraping annually, you probably could avoid that by using a diver two or three times a year and you'd extend the life of your bottom paint. Bottom cleaning is one of the most cost effective things one can have done in boat maintenance.
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:41 AM   #9
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People in other areas are shocked when we discuss this. Those in New England and the PNW especially. However, I will say this. Whatever frequency they haul to clean the bottom or paint the bottom, if they did use a diver occasionally they would lessen that. If you're pressure washing and scraping annually, you probably could avoid that by using a diver two or three times a year and you'd extend the life of your bottom paint. Bottom cleaning is one of the most cost effective things one can have done in boat maintenance.
I hauled once a year, in the spring, but rarely did a complete bottom job during that haul. I took the advice of a fellow trawler owner in the same marina who had owned 5 different Marine Trader 34's and had moved up from a 38 to an Albin 43 Sundeck. Never, NEVER skimp on bottom paint and maintenance, so used good paint when we did do a major job on the bottom.
I used a pressure washer set on a VERY low pressure/nozzle, and then took most everything off with a push broom type brush. Always worked well for us.
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:49 AM   #10
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People in other areas are shocked when we discuss this. Those in New England and the PNW especially. However, I will say this. Whatever frequency they haul to clean the bottom or paint the bottom, if they did use a diver occasionally they would lessen that. If you're pressure washing and scraping annually, you probably could avoid that by using a diver two or three times a year and you'd extend the life of your bottom paint. Bottom cleaning is one of the most cost effective things one can have done in boat maintenance.
I haul in the PNW/BC coast for anode replacement and inspection every few years. Most people in the NE and Great Lakes haul because of winter. We paint because the boat is out. I doubt that a diver cleaning would change any periodicity for us.
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Old 08-04-2016, 11:52 AM   #11
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My practice on my sailboats is to have th bottom cleaned every 3 months by a diver. He also checks the zincs and replaces them as needed at the same time. It is likely overkill, but I only haul out if I need to do some repair or major work, when the diver says the bottom paint needs to be redone, that is when the bottom is painted. On my sailboat, the bottom paint lasted a good 7 years with that routine.
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Old 08-04-2016, 02:19 PM   #12
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My practice on my sailboats is to have th bottom cleaned every 3 months by a diver. He also checks the zincs and replaces them as needed at the same time. It is likely overkill, but I only haul out if I need to do some repair or major work, when the diver says the bottom paint needs to be redone, that is when the bottom is painted. On my sailboat, the bottom paint lasted a good 7 years with that routine.
That's along the line of what I'd expect with your overkill. I don't know the perfect frequency. However, I suspect in the PNW, just like in South Florida, more people could benefit from more frequent cleaning, just in South Florida the frequency is defined much differently.
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Old 08-04-2016, 02:34 PM   #13
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My diver charges $2.00 per foot. Actually, a bit less because he gave me a quote and I accepted it. Charging by the foot is a little odd unless they're charging by the waterline foot.


I wouldn't do what my diver does for what I pay him.
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Old 08-05-2016, 05:21 AM   #14
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If the boat moves , one technique is to spend some time anchored an Fresh water to kill the sea life that prefers salt water.

Fresh water growth seems to be all gone the first week in sea water.

Most modern anti fouling is ablative , which requires the vessels motion to scour the surface, so new anti fouling paint is at the surface. This does not happen tied to a dock.

Perhaps the fuel burn for an 8 hour ride would be less than for a diver?
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Old 08-05-2016, 08:58 AM   #15
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If the boat moves , one technique is to spend some time anchored an Fresh water to kill the sea life that prefers salt water.

Fresh water growth seems to be all gone the first week in sea water.

Most modern anti fouling is ablative , which requires the vessels motion to scour the surface, so new anti fouling paint is at the surface. This does not happen tied to a dock.

Perhaps the fuel burn for an 8 hour ride would be less than for a diver?
We do not use ablative and don't recommend it for South Florida.
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Old 08-05-2016, 09:58 AM   #16
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............. Most modern anti fouling is ablative ..........
Not true at all. It has nothing to do with being modern.

Hard anti fouling paint is available as well ablative. The smart boat owner will go to the paint manufacturer's website and use the selection guide to find the type of paint best suited to his/her location, type of boat and expected usage. He/she will compare that to what other boaters in the area use and what local divers recommend.
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Old 08-05-2016, 10:14 AM   #17
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I haven't used ablative paint in a couple decades at least.
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Old 08-05-2016, 11:17 AM   #18
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I haven't used ablative paint in a couple decades at least.
I haven't ever. Never lived anywhere that it was the best choice.
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Old 08-05-2016, 04:43 PM   #19
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question does metal hulls need cleaned as often as fiberglass thanks sam
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Old 08-05-2016, 05:22 PM   #20
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I use ablative because I never want to grind the bottom build up or pay to have it blasted.

I use cheap Interlux Fiberglass Bottomcote NT.

For 6 months I am on the move with the longest stay in Mid Florida for a month. The bottom remains shiny the whole time except for a week or so at the end of my month sitting in Ft Pierce, Fl. By day two out of Ft Pierce it is shiny again. Now in August in NJ in a heavy fouling area...it is getting a pretty good beard. Historically I would just let it grow till the end of Sept when I haul, inspect, repair and paint the underwater stuff.

If I was going to take a summer trip, I would jump in and clean the rudder and prop as the bottom would self clean in the first 50 miles or so. If not, I would then clean up the bad spots.

I used to use the best (read most expensive) bottom paint available. When I saw and ran the commercial boats that I work on, using various brands of cheaper stuff...I changed my tune.

I use what works for me and isn't a waste of money....but it is predicated on how the boat is used and overall timing of trips, hauls and sits.
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