Hull bottom cleaning

Discussion in 'Repair and Maintenance' started by wreckdiver1715, Jun 23, 2005.

  1. wreckdiver1715

    wreckdiver1715 Angel Fish

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    I am looking for a way to clean the bottom of my 33 foot Chris Craft in the water, other than the normal, put on the dive gear and start scrubbing with scraper and brush. Does anyone know of a commercially available underwater pressure washing system?

    Thanks, Tom
     
  2. teknitroxdiver

    teknitroxdiver Great White

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Hudson Valley
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    Do you already own a pressure washer? I would give it a shot, just make SURE you don't pull it off into the water with you, especially if it's electric. It should still work pretty good underwater although you would have to be very close to the hull for any effect. Your best bet is probably the old brush and putty knife.

    If you do try that, tie it down or something to make sure it doesn't join you in the water...
     
  3. herman

    herman Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh,North Carolina
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    I'm a real novice at this so take this for what it's worth. I just scrubbed a friends boat the other week for the first time. It was in fresh water with just some alge goo on it, so the scrubbing was not too had, marine life is going to be much worse. The biggest problem I had was keeping pressure on the brush. I could fin it but that was a lot of work. What I did was to run a large diameter rope (3/4 ") under the boat and pulled tight with the sail wench with just barely enough slack so I could get my hands under it. This gave me something to hang onto while I scrubbed with the other hand. I would scrub as far as I could reach and then move the rope, I needed a break about then anyway. I would think you would need some way to maintain you distance from the boat while using a pressure washer. If possible, it seems to me that the best idea is to find a shallow sandy area where you can stand so do the work. Another trick we used with a lot of success was to start the motor and idle it in reverse with it still tied to the dock after I had scrubbed for several minutes. This moved a lot of water and cleared the vis a lot (I was well out of the way under the dock when this was going on- never close to the boat with the engine running). Good luck
     
  4. Chuck Tribolet

    Chuck Tribolet Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives:
    Location: Morgan Hill, CA USA
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    I've seen a large suction cup used to hang onto the smooth bottom of the hull. Glass
    shops use them to carry glass, glass house computer rooms use them to lift the floor
    panels. I think McMaster-Carr or Grainger has some -- I ordered a couple for my
    computer lab a couple of years ago.

    And I think auto body shops use them to pop out big dents.


    Chuck
     
  5. FISHEYE

    FISHEYE Garibaldi

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    Tom,
    clean the hull like the pirates did in the back in the day,find a sand bar thats submerged at high tide,park your boat on it an wait till the tide runs out,careen it to one side,clean the other side,wait till the tide comes back an do the other side,use your anchor winches to careen it,if you are worried about beding your prop shafts,just let the stern hang off the bar,or better yet blow a hole for the shaft an props with your blower.




     
  6. Tom Winters

    Tom Winters Scuba Instructor

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    Most guys who clean hulls just have an assortment of favored hand scrapers. If you're willing to do the maintenance, you can use a pneumatic sander on the hull. Porter Cable makes a huge pneumatic drywall sander that might also work, although you'd need to tether yourself in there pretty good to get good pressure on the hull.
    For a 33' boat, if it's really fouled, maybe you need to repaint it. Haul it and do it dry - pressure wash it with an industrial pressure washer at the ramp or haul-out point.
    Fein makes dustless sanders so efficient that you can sand bottom paint without the poopie suit - just a respirator. They're not cheap, but they are wickedly functional.
    I've met more than few people who will clean a hull for a $1.00 a foot and a six-pack. Lots of marinas have guys like this. I never liked working in black water unless I was getting lots and lots of money so I passed on work like this.
     
  7. Charlie99

    Charlie99 Orca

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Silicon Valley, CA / New Bedford, MA / Kihei, Maui
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    For my 14' catboat I use Fisheye's method of careening it in shallow water. It's so much easier to apply pressure when you are standing in waist to chest-high water.

    With a sailboat is super easy to just use the mainsail halyard, which is conviently already attached to top of the mast, thereby giving you a really long lever arm to heel the boat over.

    For hand scrapers, I find 2' or 3' long lengths of 2x4's work pretty good at scraping off heavy growths of barnacles. This flattens the edges at the ends of the 2x4's pretty fast, so have several chunks on hand.
     
  8. Hank49

    Hank49 Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Mullins River, Stann Creek, Belize
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    A gasoline, 2000 psi power washer would do the trick I believe...if you could see anything after you start blasting. The problem in this part of the world, in salt water, is that once the growth of algae gets a good foothold it's kind of like your lawn. Unless you strip it clean, it just grows right back within days. If you're going to go to all the trouble of scrubbing it that clean it would be more cost and time effective to pull it out and put some anti fouling paint on it. Then it should be good for a year or so. Hank
     
  9. Bobby

    Bobby Equipment Manufacturer

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Jacksonville, FL
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    I used to do it for people and set up an lp hose with a normal air line quick disconnect and used an orbital sander. Big jobs I would use a surface compressor and small boats I would just hook it up to my doubles. I would soak the unit in fresh water over night then run oil through it the next morning. I could get about six months out them then they would lock up from the salt water. Not bad for $40.00.
     
  10. Tom Winters

    Tom Winters Scuba Instructor

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    The problem with a power washer is that in the water, you're going to be careening all over the place - like an astronaut on an EVA with a thrust wand. Plus if you have an ablative bottom paint like Micron, you're going to take off too much.
    Hire a kid or just scrape it by hand. You're only looking at 33', not a 600' freighter.That's a good excuse for an afloat libation when you're done.
     
  11. akscubainst

    akscubainst Scuba Instructor

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    Up here we deal with barnacles, muscles and moss/algae.

    I don't clean boat bottoms anymore but when I did I used and ice scraper for the barnacles, a hand brush and I took a big round floor buffer pad like a giant 3M pad and cut it to fit my hand. All of thes things went on lanyards around one hand and I had a suction cup from West Marine (see pic) on my other hand.

    It holds good so you can scrub but you can also slide it around on the hull without having to remove it.

    I could do a 30' boat including props, trim tabs, rudders, etc in about an hour.

    Dave
     
  12. wreckdiver1715

    wreckdiver1715 Angel Fish

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    Thanks for all the responses on cleaning the hull. Inspection of the hull revealed the need to re-paint, so it looks like we will have to lift her on shore for this winter. During my search for a more efficient way to clean the hull at the dock I came across a handy item called the Cavi-jet at www.cavi-jet.com . Looks like I found what I was looking for.

    Thanks again,

    Tom
     
  13. Tasarsailor

    Tasarsailor Angel Fish

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    I scrub my parent's boat (42' sailboat in the Puget Sound) regularly and have developed a few techniques.

    -Having the right brush in your hand is key. The type of brush can be different depending on what's stuck to the bottom. I found a short stiff bristled brush that works really well.
    -I found that laying on my back and staying a little positive I get sufficient pressure for the general scrubbing.
    -If you have big problems like lots of barnies and serious sea stuff stuck to the hull it is a ton of work and likely a candidate for pulling the boat. When you pull barnies off it generally takes the bottom paint with it.
    -Cleaning the hull regularly and at the right time makes a difference. The "spat" that barnies spew to reproduce is over with in March or April and there's no point in until that's over.
    -Also regular scrubbing is easier. The build up is small and I can usually do the job using less than 1500 psi.
    -my father switched to a harder surface bottom paint and now with my regular hull scrubs (3 times a year) he is getting almost two additional years on the hull paint.
    -I use a flexible stainless steel spatula to clean the barnies off the prop.
    -take lots of breaks at the surface. It gets pretty exhausting and I found that just surfacing and putting fin on a ladder every 15 minutes or so I was a lot more productive and I used less gas.


    I had the opportunity to try the underwater pressure washer trick last weekend and decided against it. I think a good brush can cover more ground. Plus where I dive on the hull the vis is almost non-existant. I didn't think I could operate the wand and still see where I've been. I would also be worried about taking the bottom paint off.

    Good luck
    Tony
    Portland, OR
     
  14. Firediver

    Firediver Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New Brunswick, Canada
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    Is all the work cleaning hulls a money maker??? I mean cleaning pleasure boats on a river, can the money be worth the amount of work involved??????
     
  15. Tasarsailor

    Tasarsailor Angel Fish

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    I scrub hulls as mostly a favor to friends and family. But many folks make spare change doing hull cleaning, inspection, equipment installation, zinc replacement, item recovery, etc... At the marinas I see many signs or business cards for folks that will do the above. I personally don't know of anyone that actually makes living off of just the above, but you can bet that there is someone out there. The only folks I know of personally do it in there spare time and use it as a means to spend more money on dive equipment.

    I don't even consider requests to dive stuff that really should be done by a professional dive company with appropriate support. I am pretty clear to my friends and family about what I am willing to do underwater.

    Good luck
    Tony
    Portland
     
  16. Firediver

    Firediver Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New Brunswick, Canada
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    Just around here your only in the Saint John River, and in no more then 10ft of water around the Marina. Thanks for the input.... I will just leave it to the pros...
     
  17. Jleo1390

    Jleo1390 Guest

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    you shouldnt have a prob with a 2k pressure washer, you might want to run a hogline from bow to stern, just to give you some leverage. youll see, with the 2 k you wont have to be too close with that thing. ive cut thru some relatively thick barnicles w/ it on steel piles. its def not as effective as a 5 or 10k haha but you wont need that for cleaning a fiberglass hull. but that should work fine, i would just be carefull of the paint...
     
  18. cdiver2

    cdiver2 Surface Interval Member

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Safety Harbor (West central) GB xpat
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    I would not try to run a pressure washer UNDERWATER unless you had a solid object behind you to hold you in place (not really practical as you would have to move the boat as you would have to stay in that spot). If you don't the moment you press that trigger you will take off like you were rocket propelled.

    There are a number of Co in the St Petersburg area that do hull cleaning, not a nice or well paid job.
     
  19. mike_s

    mike_s Blue Whale

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    I wouldn't clean any hull in any marina also unless I knew for a fact that the marinas electrical system was 100% done correctly. Been too many divers and swimmer electrocuted in marinas where there was piss-poor-wiring or shore power cables that fell into the water.
     
  20. SCUBAITEACH

    SCUBAITEACH Angel Fish

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    I did this for several years ...i tied a line from stem to stern then i took short line and used a slip line that was tied to the pressure washer handle the other around the stem to stern line .my pressure washer was 4500 psi ...i had a 75' hose that would cover it all ...i put the pressure washer in the middle of the dock strapped to something (Piling of sorts)so i was covered for it not falling in .........it worked like a charm just remember to use a wide spray ...or you will have a hole in your boat.
    good luck
     

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