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How to Clean the Bottom of a Boat Underwater

Posted by on May 23, 2020 in Stuff with 0 Comments

Over the course of time, the hull of your boat will undoubtedly require cleaning, because a number of marine creatures can attach themselves to your boat, in addition to algae and barnacles. All these things will exert drag on your boat, and when the situation gets really bad, you'll probably notice you have to use more power to propel your boat through the water, thus decreasing the energy efficiency of your boat.

Depending on just what gets attached to your hull, it might even start to corrode the boat and eat away at the exterior, in which case you might be looking at a major repair bill. So accomplishing some regular anti-fouling of your hull is a must, if you want to keep your boat in good condition. The question then becomes, how do you clean your boat while it's in the water?

Of course, it can be an easy job once your boat has been pulled from the water for the season, because then you could just use some kind of power-washing system to remove all the unwanted growth which has accumulated. In fact, if you have a very large boat, you'll probably have to do this anyway, since any underwater cleaning technique would just be too tedious and cumbersome. But if you just have a small pleasure craft, there are some cleaning methods you can use which will keep your hull looking sparkling clean, and always ready for usage.

Can I Clean my Boat While it is in the Water?

The short answer is – yes, you can, but it will take some specialized equipment if you're going to be below the water level for any length of time. One way you might do this is to get yourself setup with an electric hookah dive system, so you won't have to secure SCUBA gear while cleaning your boat. The electric hookah system is much less cumbersome than SCUBA equipment, and all you really need is a long hose, otherwise known as the down-line, which can run from a battery or gas-powered air compressor to the person who will be doing the diving underwater.

The advantage of this kind of arrangement is that it can supply air to a diver for at least three hours, and generally three-and-a-half hours. The diver would then go underneath the boat with a wire brush and scrub off all the unwanted material there, watching it all drift away on the underwater current. You could also try cleaning your hull with an orbital sander, which can be purchased relatively inexpensively, and which will generally last quite a while. As long as you remember to clean off the sander with fresh water after each usage, you should get a pretty decent shelf life from it.

What Can I Do to Clean it?

There are three basic approaches to cleaning your boat while it's still in the water: you can do it yourself, you can hire a professional, or you can try some kind of pressure washing technique. If you plan to do it yourself, you should arm yourself with the right equipment, so you can shorten the time you need to spend underwater, scrubbing away.

Using a bathroom plunger will help keep you close to the hull, otherwise you'll be floating away all the time. A hardwood scraper will do a good first rough pass, after which you can get the smaller stuff removed with a sponge, brush, and scrubbing pad. You might need a long, thin screwdriver if clams have become attached to the hull, and a wire brush will always be a big help. For breathing underwater, you could use SCUBA gear, but a hookah diving system is better.

If you plan to hire a professional diver to do the cleaning, there are services available which do this both for huge, ocean-going vessels as well as for small fishing boats. If you do hire a professional diver, you can expect to pay somewhere between $10 and $50 per foot, based on the degree of difficulty of the cleaning operation. You probably won't have any trouble finding a good pro diver to do this for you, because someone you know may be in touch with such an individual, or you can simply google for the service somewhere near you.

Hire Professionals with Experience

Another great option would be to call in a professional subsea pile cleaning service such as Hydrotech Power-Washing, which is a company that specializes in cleaning underwater equipment, whether it be underwater piles or watercraft. Having years of experience at doing these kinds of cleaning jobs, you can expect to get a first-class cleaning operation performed by Hydrotech, and without any damage at all to your hull's exterior.

The company can also coat your hull with an anti-fouling paint or coating which will inhibit the formation of any new marine life on your hull, thus keeping it free of unwanted marine growth much longer. This process will cost you more than if you decided to do all the underwater cleaning yourself, but of course it will be really worth it in terms of the value it provides to your boat in keeping it clean, and making it move through the water more efficiently. Then too, you won't have to worry about your hull being attacked by critters that could do long-term damage to it.

There are some definite benefits to keeping your boat's hull clean, especially in reducing the drag through the water, and preventing damage from material that might attach itself to the hull. There are several approaches you can take to keeping your boat clean, even if you have it in the water all season long, and when you plan to clean the hull.

You can either do the cleaning yourself, hire a professional diver to do the cleaning for you, or you can engage the power washing services company like Hydrotech Power-Washing. Contact us at Hydrotech if you'd like us to review your boat's hull, and give you a quote on what it would take to have it cleaned and coated with an anti-fouling agent.

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