How Do You Prevent Barnacles on a Boat?

Jun 15, 2021 | Antifouling Tips

As a boat owner, it is vital to be aware of the damage barnacles and other fouling can do to your boats. Whether you have your boat docked in the tranquil water of the Florida Keys or you are sailing the Atlantic, these environments are home to detrimental salty tides and can enter into any inlet or bay, cause engine wear, diminish its power, harm your running gear, and ultimately, wreak havoc on your capital investment you’ve worked so hard towards! We are, of course, talking about barnacles! But how can we prevent these? Here is all the information you need to know about barnaclerid systems.

How Do Barnacles Thrive?

Barnacles are the scourge of the sea for many. As barnacles physically link themselves to marine craft, they have been a major concern as long people have been sailing the Earth.

However, barnacles have a wide-reaching effect, not just on the hull of a boat, but on sea life in general. They attach themselves to rocks, barnacle larvae can attach to the skin of whales, and various sea life. Therefore, a barnacle can have a very detrimental effect on your boat.

When a barnacle attaches itself to a surface during the larvae stage, it stays there, feeding on plankton that floats in nearby water, which helps it start to reproduce, which could go on forever if left to its own devices. This is the environment barnacles thrive in!

So, if you discover one barnacle on the hull of your boat, you need to take action! When ships start to accumulate barnacles, it’s crucial to enforce an effective barnaclerid system, as the sticky adhesive barnacles secrete cannot be dissolved, but needs to be physically removed.

How Do You Prevent Barnacles and Fouling on Boats?

It is crucial to note while there’s a lot of antifouling methods that can help reduce algae and shell growth, including copper-based antifouling paint, and silicone-based coatings, these can be toxic to the water and sea life in general. However, antifouling coatings have become the key protective measure to remove surface roughness on the hull of a ship, and overall, the use of antifouling coatings has reduced CO2 emissions by 384 million tonnes.

The Best Antifouling Method

There are numerous types of antifouling products you can put on the hull of your boat to prevent marine and barnacle shell growth.

What Are Antifouling Agents?

These are paint coatings and solutions used to protect the hull or areas of the water line from organisms like particles that can cause harm. They work by releasing bioactive ingredients to prevent organisms like barnacles, weeds, and slime from attaching to the hull or vessel.

What Are the Benefits?

The benefits work in two different ways: they protect your hull; and have a positive impact on your speed, battery power, and fuel consumption. As smooth hulls have less drag and use less fuel on the water, you will save money, decrease fuel emissions, and have more power on the water.

The Types of Antifoul

There are two main types: soft antifoul is also known as self-polishing and self eroding antifoul. Hard antifoul is referred to as burnishable or scrubbable antifoul, and as each paint releases the biocides in its unique way, the right type for you depends on two key factors: the waters you sail in and the speed of the vessel.

Looking After Your Boat and Running Gear While Being Environmentally Friendly

Of course, many people have concerns about the impact of antifouling paint on the environment. Traditional antifouling systems provide incomplete filing protection but also cause extensive damage. This is why it is so important that boat owners are incorporating environmentally friendly methods. As a result, many people are moving towards ultrasonic antifouling.

Using Ultrasonic Systems

Ultrasonic antifouling systems use ultrasonic transducer technology, generated via copper electrodes, which works by emitting electronic sound waves in multiple frequencies simultaneously. This creates microscopic bubbles the water and creates a pattern of negative and positive pressure in alternating waves. This acts as a microjet and destroys single-celled organisms like algae which will hinder further growth. All you need to do is touch buttons and it does the work for you!

Why Is it Effective?

The notion of ultrasonic antifouling has been around for many decades and has been used in many other industries, such as dentistry. As the focus has gone towards environmentally friendly practices in boating products, ultrasonic antifouling has shown time and again that it is a solid solution. Many scientists have conducted tests and studies, showing that it has not caused danger to marine life.

The Benefits of Ultrasonic Antifouling

  • Reduce fuel costs.
  • Having a clean hull can reduce the fuel bill by up to 30%.
  • It leads to increased resistance, burning more fuel.
  • Reduced maintenance, helps maintain the overall performance, minimising the need to scrub the surface after becoming fouled.
  • Environmentally friendly. This method of antifouling is completely harmless to marine life, fish, animals and humans.
  • Is an effective barnaclerid systems, stops barnacles from ever attaching.

How Can Boat Owners Keep Barnacle Growth Away Forever?

While many people still use traditional antifouling methods and remain content with this approach, it’s important to undertake a combination of methods. Ultrasonic antifouling is an effective barnaclerid system that destroys algae and bacteria. However, it’s recommended that the system is used in combination with paint.

Painting protects the coat from fouling but also acts as a waterproof barrier, which is crucial when addressing the overall health of the boat. For example, hulls made from glass reinforced plastic may look smooth, but there are small imperfections that could allow algae to penetrate deep into the boat. A painted hull seals these imperfections.


The importance of preventing any form of barnacle on your boat cannot be underestimated. It is vital that you are doing your best to mitigate any problem with your boat, and that you use an effective barnaclerid system that provides the essential solutions for your boat’s needs. When we see barnacle growth, it can feel like the death knell for your boat. However, with a variety of techniques in the field of antifouling, you can protect your sailing ship forevermore. We recommend considering one of our EFC ultrasonic antifouling barnaclerid systems but make sure you get the right one for your vessels size.

Find a dealer or view the kit brochure.