In general terms, “marine growth” refers to all ocean life, such as fish, aquatic plants and other organisms. Concerning watercraft, the term is typically used to refer to problematic species that grow or attach to boats or oceanic infrastructure and ultimately interfere with how they function. For this reason, marine growth prevention is essential to anyone who wishes to avoid such damage.
Both animal and plant life can contribute to problems resulting from marine growth. A broad range of plants, including seaweed, green slime and different forms of algae can grow profusely on hulls, pilings and underwater sections of all types of boats. Adhesive shellfish, mussels and barnacles grow on such surfaces as well, and reproduce in great numbers. Underwater animals and plants adhere to boats and other surfaces as a means of evolutionary advantage and survival. Some species are mobile and fast, while others are impervious and immobile. For example, blue-green algae is mobile throughout its life cycle, but barnacles are protected by a rock-like shell. The process of animal or plant life growing on boats and underwater structures is called “fouling.” Those who own boats realise that their craft is far less efficient when hulls and other areas are overgrown with such matter.
Preventing Marine Growth
Since the chemical organotin was pulled from the market in 2003 due to environmental issues, prevention of fouling has become quite a challenge for some boat owners. However, below are some additional steps you can take to stop marine growth on your boat:
Make sure the hull of your boat is painted with anti-fouling paint (see also pipeline antifouling system). The latter is designed to discourage undersea life such as mollusks and barnacles. Avoid the temptation of choosing a cheap brand, as this will simply result in the need for additional paint jobs in the future.
Marine growth can also be prevented by dry docking your boat periodically and cleaning it with appropriate chemicals. It should also be pressure washed at regular intervals. Both these activities go a long way toward prevention of unwanted aquatic growth.
A coat of epoxy resin primer should be applied to the boat’s propellers, followed by a coat of antifouling paint. The resin creates a protective layer between the copper biocide in the anti-fouling paint and the typically stainless steel or bronze propeller material. Because of electrolysis, such substances quickly turn to flaky powder if primer is not used. It also ensures that water friction that smacks against the blades when the propellers are turning does not erode the paint.
If you prefer to have your boat maintained by a professional, such services are readily available. However, it is always wise to compare companies to ensure you get the highest quality services for your money. Marine growth prevention is important to all boat owners, as such buildup interferes with the proper functioning of the craft. For this reason, you should clean and maintain your boat on a regular basis to keep it safe from all types of aquatic growth.