Whatever type of boat you own, whether a small yacht or a large cruiser, you’ll be well aware of just how imperative it is to keep your craft clean and well maintained. Having a clean and tidy cabin, immaculate upholstery, and freshly scrubbed decks will ensure your boat is in the best possible condition to beat depreciation come resale time.
What’s under the surface?
Keeping the visible parts clean and tidy is obvious, but have you considered how much of an impact a clean hull has on boat performance and running costs?
A build up of barnacles and other detritus can have a serious impact on a boat’s performance. The increase in drag will mean slower sailing, and higher fuel bills. With that in mind, here are some tips to ensure that the underside of your boat stays as clean as the visible parts:
Don’t Scrub too hard
If you clean your boat often, you shouldn’t have to worry about scrubbing or hacking away at at a build up of debris. A light brush with a sponge or soft mop will usually do the trick. The problem with boat hulls is that the paint can often be toxic: This is great for stopping creatures and debris from attaching themselves to the hull, but terrible for the environment if you scratch it off and let the resulting mess pollute the harbour. Some countries have laws against this. You have been warned!
It’s often feasible to Hire a Diver
If you stick to the last tip and make sure you clean the boat hull often, it won’t take a diver long at all to remove the dirt from the hull. This sounds a little extravagant, but think of it this way: Which is going to cost more? Hiring a local diver for a few hours, or winching the entire boat out of the water and storing it in a boatyard whilst you scrub away?
Take your Time, Stay Safe
If you’re going to attempt to clean below the waterline of a submerged boat yourself, don’t do it in anything but the most perfect of conditions. Watch out for other harbour users, and consider having a few friends act as spotters.
If you’re using a knife to remove barnacles, make sure you don’t take a chunk out of the hull, or your hands! Wear gloves at all times.
Check the Current Conditions
If you’re positioned in a tidal harbour, or one with a current of any kind, make sure you’re positioned downstream from other users. In addition, make sure you start cleaning at the upstream end of the boat, in order to ensure you can see what you’re doing.
If you can’t commit to cleaning the underside, just clean the waterline
The waterline is where the bulk of seaweed and creatures attach themselves, so don’t feel bad if you can’t commit to a full underside clean. You should be able to clean the waterline of your boat by leaning out over the side.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, it’s possible to buy suction cups that will allow you to rig up a line around the craft so that you can get into the water and move around the hull safely.
Companies like Aspect Valeting can arrange a full detail of your yacht or motorboat, including a deep clean along the waterline. Keeping a boat clean below the surface is time consuming, but you’ll be rewarded with faster speeds and lower fuel bills! Click here for more details.
Wendy Lin is a professional freelance writer, mother and entrepreneur. She enjoys travelling, sailing and painting natural watercolour portraits.