Underwater hull cleaning, for free, with a mask and snorkel? ‘Impossible!..’ Actually, it is possible, and in this post I will share with you how I keep my boat at sea 12 months per year, with no haul-outs!
Being a boat owner can be an expensive business… Haul out prices and hourly charges where I keep my boat are extortionately high, and I am not in the habit of being ‘taken for a ride’. I’m also very independent and have a ridiculously unpredictable work schedule. Because of my unpredictable job, forward planning anything is impossible and for me to make the most of owning a boat, it needs to be available all year round. I definitely cannot afford for it to be stuck in a queue of other boats, waiting for someone else to ‘get their finger out’ and paint my hull!
Now you have a better appreciation of why I love my way of approaching the eternal marine growth conundrum.
For all the details, as well as a ‘sexy slow motion scene’ and a blooper at the end, watch my video ‘Boat Owners: Save money with DIY hull cleaning | Underwater hull cleaning’:
The main points covered in the video include:
- Tools required: Gloves, fins, mask and snorkel, a scraper (preferably stainless steel as this will last forever) and a scotchbrite pad.
- Safety: In my humble opinion, you should always switch off and physically disconnect the shore-power cable. The chances of being electrocuted are slim but there is no reason to take the risk – the last thing you want when you are holding your breath underwater is to receive a couple of hundred volts across your chest [You’d also drop your nice stainless steel scraper, which was supposed to last forever!]
Before jumping in, make sure you know where you will get out. The last thing you want when you are cold and tired is an unplanned swim around the marina looking for an exit, whilst trying to maintain some minimal amount of decorum in front of the numerous spectators who always seem to magically appear in an embarrassing moment like this.
I also suggest wearing gloves, as getting bits of barnacle embedded in your knuckles is not much fun. I have also received several comments along these lines on YouTube…
…and, although I have never used earplugs whilst cleaning the hull, and my ears have never become home to critters as a result, this does seem like a sensible precaution to take.
*Sidenote: I did go surfing in India once without wearing earplugs and I did get earache as a result. I cured it with a home-made weak hydrogen peroxide solution, which I poured into my ear. *Sidenote within the sidenote: This was probably the smallest ever addition to my self-surgery repertoires, which will perhaps be subject to their own post here one day.
Anyway, come to think of it, wearing earplugs is probably a great idea!
- The scraping ‘procedure’. This isn’t rocket science: scrape then scrub. Don’t forget to breathe (sometimes I forget this bit).
- The paint! This is the real secret to a: happy; stress free; totally independent; mask-snorkel and scraper-cleanable, hull.
Our boat has been in the water constantly since October 2013. Since then we have spent exactly £/$/€0.00 to keep our hull clean. I like that price.
Yes, it’s hard work to scrape the hull. Yes, I’m sometimes tempted to fabricate some kind of surface air supply system to make it easier [despite being fully aware of the challenges / pitfalls / dangers that the construction of such systems present]. Yes, I sometimes think it would be nice to have a wet-suit. But: do you know what? I like a challenge! I like to push myself. I like expending what feels like 50000 calories per hour whilst cleaning the hull – it keeps me fit! (I also like to eat a big meal afterwards with that wholesome ‘I earned this’ feeling you get after doing something strenuous.) I even like the thought that everyone in the area where we keep our boat thinks I’m a bit of a nut-case! I suppose I like to be different, but maybe that’s just me. 🙂
How about you? Do you have any feedback, comments or suggestions? What is your winning approach to a clean hull? Let me know by commenting below.
I hope you found this post useful. If so, please share it on social media to help me put food on our dinner table.
Cheers! Chris 👍