Monthly Archives: May 2011

Yacht Maintenance and Care-101 Part #2-Bottom Painting

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Antifouling and Bottom Painting
Optimal cruising performance is often a reflection of your vessels underside. Your boats bottom coat is the first line of defense against some harsh elements trying to consume it. Staying on top of this preventative maintenance chore is one of the most important ones you face. The smallest amount of growth underneath your boat will affect speed and performance and if not sealed properly will penetrate your hull’s gel-coat creating core rot (blisters).
Let’s find the right paint for you!
Favorable bottom coatings for your vessel should depend on what type of boating you do, where you boat and the type of bottom paint applied to your boat in the past. Fresh water boating doesn’t necessarily require the same strength and durability of bottom paint as say a fishing boat in the Florida Keys.
“Bottom paints act as a barrier to reduce marine growth and barnacles by releasing toxic biocides at a carefully controlled rate” Back in the day of old the bellies of boats were nailed tight with copper platting, now copper compounds (cuprous oxide) are laden in the bottom paint itself to combat growth some contain “slimacides” which greatly reduce the sun’s deterioration of paint along the water line by filtering out UV and blocking photosynthesis.
2 Types of Anti-fouling Bottom Paint
It’s important to remember the pros and cons of each type of bottom paint. Compatibility of one paint on top of another is critical. Generally speaking softer paints can be applied over harder paints but not visa versa
Modified Epoxies
Modified Epoxies deliver a hard durable finish but require yearly repainting. The higher the cooper content the more resistant it is to algae and growth. Keep in mind “the cheaper paint, the less copper and protection” I don’t recommend short changing price for durability and protection. The warmer the water and longer the boating season the higher the bottom growth and better protection you’ll need. Modified epoxies are popular because they are typically cheaper and can be painted over each other if the bottom has been sanded properly for a nice firm lock.
Ablatives
Ablative paints are softer semi-hard paints that flake off over time much like a bar of soap. Multiple coats the 1st time applied is recommended and is well worth it. Ablatives with boosted copolymers are very popular because they allow a vessel’s bottom to go 2 or 3 years sometimes with out needing to be repainted.
TIP: When applying multi coats of Ablative paint make the base coat a different color of paint than the successive layers. Perhaps RED and other layers Blue or Black. This will allow you to see when you are down to your base level.
WARNING: Do not paint a modified epoxy paint over an ablative paint with out removing it completely first by sanding! It will simply flake off and your money and protection will be lost.
Preperation is Critical! Let’s do it!
▪ Pressure Washing-Should the hull have growth remove thoroughly with a pressure washer using a mold release agent
▪ Sanding and Prep-Should older paint exist remove using a DA and 100 grit sandpaper taking the underside of your vessel down to fresh gel-coat. If any blisters exist (bubbles caused from water penetration) remove them using the interlux repair guide to achieve a perfect underside substrate for an impermeable layer called the Barrier Coat.
▪ Applying a Barrier Coat-A barrier coat is an impermeable layer of epoxy that you will apply between paint and hull so that water cannot be absorbed and blisters cannot form-much like a primer. After applying and dry time has exceeded lightly sand with 120 sandpaper to give a perfect texture for bottom paint to adhere.
Applying Bottom Paint

Yacht Maintenance and Care 101- Part #1

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For the do it yourself boaters these blogs are for you! Summer is quickly advancing and the waters around South Florida are turning optimal for cruising, diving, fishing, snorkeling and all the other outstanding amenities these waters offer. So let’s get your vessel in top gear and condition for the fun. The next 4 blogs are aimed at informing and guiding you through 4 critical commissioning projects that will ensure your cruising is the smoothest.wgc_8811-resized-600
Think Mechanical Maintenance 1st!
Consider a boats make up similiar to a human body. With out electricity we dont funtion and with out proper circulation we fail. So let’s look at these primary systems and perform a good inspection.

  • Looking at the big picture by hauling the vessel out of the water is critical. Making sure to turn off all generators and a/c systems before hand to avoid the risk of burning them up as they gasp for water. Check the bottom making sure all the barnacles and growth is cleaned off.
  • Bottom zincs on your hull, drives, shafts and trim tabs need to be at least %50. Remember these zincs are your boats shields against electrolysis. When they expired the electricity from the salt water will start to eat away at your boats inner metal components. Beware!

  • How do your propellers look? Even the smallest nick or bend will cause vibration issues and severely disturb performance speed, even barnacles and growth. I recommend removing the propellers and having them finished and balanced properly to achieve maximum rpm. Oh yeah grease the spline before installing to avoid unnecessary friction.
  • How are your batteries? Disconnect all batteries, clean them with soda water and a wire brush before reconnecting and checking them for optimal charge-batteries do need replacing periodically and if one is dead connecting to a series of batteries they all will be dead soon so pull and replace.
    How does your steering system look? Check for drips or leaks and top off the lubricant. Check packing boxes to make sure there is no damage.
  • A/C systems servicing. In a constantly warm enviroment a/c many times never stop and often need re-pressurizing and raw water lines flushed with barnacle buster (green technology) to clear out growth.
    Check all hose fittings, replacing the corroded ones with new ones. Lubricate all sea cock levers (raw water intake valves) exercise them back and forth. Make sure strainer baskets are clean and their housings are free of barnacles and growth.
  • Make sure all main engine sea strainers are clear of growth and obstructions.
  • Remember! Cooling water to your 2 vital mechanical systems (engine and air conditioning) is like blood circulation to your heart. By assuring unrestricted water flow you’ll be way cooler and cost effectiveness.
  • Light Bulbs! Turn all lights on including Navigation Lights, checking for any burnt out bulbs and replace.
  • Bilges are Key! Before I buy a boat I check here 1st and foremost because you can quickly learn a vessels mechanical health by residue found. Trace any leaks back to their culprit and replace seals where necessary. Remove any water, sludge or oil from the bilge (dispose of properly in a hazardous waste area) clean with degrease the bilge and make sure all bilge pumps are running properly and not gummed up. Don’t hesitate to replace a bilge pump as they do expire and are well worth the piece of mind when all else fails.
  • Sump boxes clean up well with water and bleach, let it sit for a few hours.
  • Dump your fresh water tank and refill, I never recommend drinking water from your fresh water tank as it is never fresh, many times treating the tank with a bromine tablet is good to keep growth and that egg smell away.
  • Dump your black water tank and treat with a eco friendly solution that will keep the smell fresh and bacteria down.
  • Changing your engine oil is key and the best way to preserve the life of your engine, run the engine a few minutes before dumping the pan to lower the oil viscosity. Also rub oil on the filter gasket, this will allow it to seat better, check for leaks while it’s running.
  • Service your generator if needed, replacing oil and all filters to assure your getting electricity when out island. I’ve found not having electricity and hot water at sea severely compromises the relationship with my girlfriend.

More to come…stand bye