Do I need to antifoul my boat?

Mar 1, 2021 | Antifouling Tips

Do I need to antifoul my boat?

Antifouling is one of the worst maintenance tasks for boat owners. Already, your list of tasks is longer than your arm, but most of your jobs are relatively straightforward. Antifouling presents many complications, yet it is potentially one of the most important things a boat owner can do. 

Consequently, the short answer to the question is yes, you absolutely need to antifoul your boat. Typically, this is done as soon as you get your hands on a new boat. It should also be done periodically throughout the time you have the boat. But, what is antifouling and why is it so important? This guide will explain everything you need to know about this topic, including the best method of doing it. 

What is antifouling?

When people talk about antifouling their boats, they’re speaking about the process of applying a special layer of paint to the hull. Well, this is the traditional way of approaching things, but we’ll talk more about the other options later in this guide. 

For now, understand that the purpose of antifouling is to ward off microorganisms that attach themselves to the bottom of your boat. It’s far too common for boats to end up with all sorts of life clinging to the submerged parts of the vehicle. When this happens, it can be problematic as the microorganisms can cause both aesthetic and structural damage to your hull. Put this way – if you don’t antifoul your boat, it will never last as long as it should. 

What are the benefits of antifouling your boat?

Now that you know what antifouling is, you must wonder what the benefits are. As just mentioned, the key benefit is its purpose: it stops the growth of microorganisms, like barnacles, algae, and other marine life. A common misconception is that antifouling only offers aesthetic benefits. People assume that all the sludge and stuff that sticks to the bottom of your boat won’t impact its performance – but you’re wrong. 

This is why antifouling is so beneficial, as it can help with the following:

Prevents engine issues

When microorganisms grow on your boat, they can get into the engine water inlets and outlets. If this happens, the flow of water is blocked, which cans cause all sorts of engine problems. Ultimately, it reduces your boat’s performance, as well as possibly creating costly problems for you to fix. Antifouling prevents this from happening by ensuring the organisms can’t grow or attach themselves to your hull. 

Maintains optimal boat performance

Another benefit of antifouling is that it can maintain the optimal performance of your boat. The problem mentioned above will have a direct impact on how your boat runs. Not only that, but you have to consider the increased water resistance when things are stuck to your hull. Thick layers of slime and barnacles will severely slow down your passage through the water. 

What does this lead to? 

Effectively, it means your engine starts working harder to do simple tasks. As a consequence, fuel consumption increases quite dramatically. Every trip in your boat demands more fuel, meaning you’re refilling it far more frequently than you should be. If you antifoul your boat, you benefit from the extra protection from any microorganisms in the water. It leaves you with a smooth hull that glides through the water and decreases the demands put on your engine. 

Reduce your running costs

Following on from the previous point, what else happens when you use up more fuel? Yes, it’s bad for the environment and your boat, but it’s also bad for your bank balance. You’ll spend way too much money on fuel throughout the year, making your boat extremely expensive. 

Furthermore, you may have to pay for repairs – if you end up with engine problems or damage to your hull. Even the act of removing barnacles and other marine microorganisms can be expensive. You will keep doing this sporadically, further upping the maintenance costs. It makes more sense to invest in antifouling, lowering your ongoing maintenance costs. 

What is ultrasonic antifouling?

For the most part, people think about traditional antifouling whenever the topic of antifouling a boat is brought up. This will involve a unique type of paint that includes special ingredients – like copper compounds and biocides – designed to ward off and kill microorganisms. There are different types of traditional antifoul, but they all tend to work in a similar way. 

You apply the paint to your hull, and it slowly degrades, releasing the chemicals into the water around you. So, you continue to ward off all the unwanted small things that may be inclined to stick to your boat. Immediately, this presents two massive problems:

You’re using toxic paint and basically releasing chemicals into the water, so it’s not good for the environment or ethical

The antifouling paint will need to be replaced periodically as it will fade away

This is where ultrasonic antifouling comes into play, offering a far better alternative to the traditional approach. 

What is it?

Instead of using toxic paint on your boat that kills microorganisms, special ultrasonic transducers are attached to the inside of the bilge area of your boat. There’s no need for any hull-drilling, and the transducers emit ultrasonic frequencies that deter microorganisms from attaching themselves to your boat. The frequencies create areas of negative and positive pressure around your boat, which basically creates an invisible shield! This destroys any algae and keeps your boat nice and clean. 

As a result, you continue to see all the previously mentioned benefits of antifouling. However, you also get some added advantages:

  • No toxic chemicals used on your boat or leached into the water
  • Constant protection that lasts a lifetime without you needing to keep repainting your hull
  • An eco-friendly alternative!

In summary, everyone needs to antifoul their boats if you want to avoid performance issues, aesthetic problems, and expensive running costs. There are different ways of doing this, but ultrasonic antifouling is deemed a far more effective method than using traditional antifouling paint. It’s better for the environment, better for your boat, and provides 24/7 protection, every day of the year. 

If you’re interested in learning more about ultrasonic antifouling, feel free to check out our product brochure here.