Top 7 Tips to Remove Barnacles from Your Boat Without Damaging It

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Remove Barnacles from Your Boat
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Barnacles are encrustations of shellfish or coral that grow on a submerged surface. Although they can be found in oceans and seas, barnacles are most common on the bottoms of boats. Recreational boating is one of the most popular hobbies in the US. According to Statista, there were about 11.96 million registered boats in the US in 2021. 

Most of these boat owners have dealt with the barnacle removal situation. While barnacles can be a sticky situation, pun intended, they are not hard to remove. Here are some top tips to remove barnacles from your boat’s hull.

Buy the Right Tools

Buying the right tools for the job is crucial to getting rid of barnacles safely and efficiently. First, you want to ensure that the tools you buy are durable enough to withstand a beating from a barnacle’s tough shell. It’s also essential that they’re just heavy enough so that when applied directly against a barnacle, they will break through its exoskeleton without damaging any part of your boat and not too heavy that they could damage your boat instead. 

Clean Your Boat Before Proceeding

Before removing barnacles from your boat, it’s essential to ensure that the surface is immaculate. It will help prevent damage to the paint and hull of your vessel. If there are loose pieces of material on the side of your boat, remove them before proceeding with any scraping or scrubbing. You can use a pressure washer or wire brush to get off any dirt or grime buildup on the surface of your hull, but be sure not to go overboard with either option. You don’t want to damage any part of your boat. 

Apply Anti-fouling Paint

The next step is to apply anti-fouling paint to the hull. Anti-fouling paint is a particular type of paint that prevents barnacles from sticking to the boat. It’s available at most marine stores and can be applied directly over regular paints, so you don’t have to worry about removing anything first.

It is one of the best tips for removing barnacles because it’s fast, easy, and won’t damage your boat’s finish or appearance. The anti-fouling paint coating also protects the outer surface from eroding corrosion, thus maintaining the boat’s structural integrity.

Plus, if you keep an eye on your boat while it’s in storage, you may even be able to skip using this method entirely because there won’t be any new growths when they return in the springtime.

Gently Scrape off the Barnacles

Removing barnacles from your boat’s hull can be a challenging task. The barnacle’s shell is very hard, and scraping it off is often as effective as using a toothbrush to remove calluses from your feet.

A scraper is one of the easiest ways to remove barnacles from your boat. Make sure you get one designed specifically for this purpose because many scrapers aren’t designed for this work. They won’t last long before breaking or bending out of shape.

Another method of removing barnacles is with a putty knife, which works well if only a few small clusters are on the hull. This tool can also be an alternative to other methods if they don’t work well enough alone or with another tool, such as sandpaper or razor blades.

Use a Pressure Washer if Necessary

If you have a pressure washer, use it. It’s the best way to get rid of your boat barnacles that don’t involve scraping or sanding. Make sure to use a low-pressure nozzle, though. You don’t want to risk damaging your boat with a high-pressure stream of water.

Also, be careful not to overuse the pressure washer, a good rule of thumb is not to spray for more than 30 seconds at a time. The last thing you need is for everyone on board your boat to look like an angry squid has just attacked them because they probably will be if they stay in the spray path too long.

Sand Down Any Rough Areas

Once you’ve removed the worst of the barnacles and cleaned up any loose pieces, it’s time to sand down any rough areas. It will help you get into all those nooks and crannies that are hard to reach with a rag or scraper, making it easier when applying wax.

Sanding down rough surfaces is best done with low-grit sandpaper (100-grit or less) and an orbital sander if you have one. If not, use a sanding sponge instead. If there are still some rough patches after using both methods, go over them once more with fine steel wool (#0000) until they are completely smooth and even.

Don’t Use Chemicals That Will Damage the Environment

According to a report, having barnacles or slime on the hull increase the resistance and thus increases fuel consumption, which, in turn, increases greenhouse emissions by 20-25%. It’s scary to think about how much damage barnacles on your boat’s hull are causing. But you have to be cautious about how you clean them as well.

Don’t use chemicals that will damage the environment or your boat. Barnacles are an invasive species, but they won’t kill you if they stay on your boat’s hull. They can be easily removed with some elbow grease, as long as you don’t use chemical cleaners such as vinegar or bleach, which will damage the paint and get into the water. Instead, opt for a biodegradable cleaner like 409 or Fantastic to remove barnacles from your vessel without harming its environment.

Barnacles Don’t Have to Be a Pain

Do you know what’s worse than a barnacle on your boat? A bunch of them. And if you don’t get them off, they can do some real damage. Barnacles are oysters that attach themselves to boats and other objects in the ocean, but they can also be found on docks and other places where boats dock. They look like rocks at first glance, but once you get closer and look closely at one, you will see it has eyes.

Barnacles aren’t just annoying because they look ugly. They cause real problems for boats too. Barnacles are tiny animals that produce waste products that corrode metal objects such as boats or piers until there is so much corrosion that the structure ultimately falls apart. But don’t worry. You can avoid this problem by removing barnacles from your boat before they have time to cause any severe damage.

Hopefully, you now better understand how to remove barnacles from your boat. It can be a bit of a challenge, but if you follow these tips and use the right products, it won’t be too difficult.

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