Why Barnacles Are Such a Problem for Your Boat

Why Barnacles Are Such a Problem for Your Boat

November 27, 2019

If you’re a boat owner, you’re going to have to deal with barnacles attaching themselves to your hull at some point. Over time, a buildup of barnacles can result in increased drag, which means reduced fuel efficiency as your engine needs to work harder to keep up a proper speed. Barnacles can grow to a wide variety of sizes—most will just be one or two centimeters wide, but some can grow to seven centimeters or more.

Why are barnacles bad for your boat in Fort Lauderdale, FL? They can also begin to affect the volume of water that reaches the cooling system and engine, as well as the condition of the propeller. Left untouched, barnacles can cause problems that result in the need for thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs. For these reasons, it’s important to regularly scan your boat for barnacles and remove them as soon as possible.

But how exactly do you go about removing barnacles from the hull of your boat? Here is a quick overview of the best process to use:

  • Pull out the boat: Remove the boat from the water. This will make the process a whole lot easier, as you’ll otherwise need to hire divers to get the job done.
  • Scrub: Using a steel handheld scrubber, you can begin scrubbing the surfaces where the barnacles have attached themselves until they’re all gone. You might consider using a plastic putty knife on some of the larger barnacles first. Make sure the edges of the putty knife are dull so you avoid removing paint from the hull.
  • Pressure washer: For particularly stubborn barnacles, using a pressure washer might be necessary. This process is more effective if the barnacles have sat out to dry for a couple weeks. When you use the pressure washer, spray parallel to the surface of the boat, and not directly at the barnacles. This will make it easier to dislodge them, because it directs the stream of water underneath the barnacles. Keep in mind that pressure washing should be a last resort, as it can strip paint.
  • Clean the hull: Once all barnacles are removed, clean the hull using the proper cleaning products and equipment. Apply a hull slickening product that will make the cleaning process even easier in the future and reduce the drag on the boat.

The process is really that simple. It can be a bit of a pain, but it’s necessary to do every now and then to remove barnacles that have built up on the surface. Some barnacle colonies will be easier to remove than others, so you may need to use several different cleaning methods to get rid of them.

If you want to protect the durability of your hull (and you absolutely should care about this as a boat owner), you should make it a point to remove barnacles as soon as possible. For more information about the removal of barnacles in Fort Lauderdale, FL, reach out to the experts at Starboard Yacht Group LLC today.

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