As you spend more time on the water this summer, you may notice some unwelcome guests coming along for the ride—we’re talking, of course, about barnacles!
These strong, stick-on crustaceans can distract from the sleek look of your boat, but present a practical problem, too. By covering your hull, they can increase drag and prevent your boat from operating as efficiently as possible. Fortunately, by learning more about the basics of barnacle scraping, you can get back to your on-the-water routine with ease! Learn more in today’s blog.
Barnacles are built to stick
If your boat has barnacles, it’s not your fault. These crustaceans (related to sea critters like shrimp, lobsters and crabs) are built to stick, and excrete an extremely strong cement, or glue-like substance, whose adhesive properties are so powerful that they’ve been studied for use in commercial applications. They cling onto freely moving turtles and whales, too, so you’re not alone if your on-the-water experience has been affected by these tiny travelers. (On the bright side, you can look at barnacles as visual proof that your boat has enjoyed some quality cruising! Nevertheless, of course, you still want them off.)
A barnacle-free surface is essential to smooth cruising
The first reason you may want to scrape off barnacles is often an aesthetic one. You spend lots of time perfecting the look of your boat with regular washes, waxes and other measures, and a batch of clingy crustaceans can detract from the smooth look you’ve worked hard to accomplish. But it’s worth noting that barnacles can also affect the actual quality of your ride. By covering the hull, barnacles increase drag on your boat, forcing your vessel to work even harder (and use more fuel) to get around. They can also affect your on-board cooling system and the propeller, reducing your ability to control your cruise. So even if you’re an easygoing cruiser who doesn’t mind the occasional grime, barnacles are one “mess” you won’t want to put off.
Storing your boat on land may help
Now that you’ve learned more about barnacles, you may be wondering, what can I do about them? One benefit of storing your boat on land (in your driveway, for example) is that you have less of a chance to accumulate barnacles. Of course, as we mentioned earlier, even turtles and whales who are regularly moving through the water can attract barnacles—so while storing your boat on dry land may help with the number of barnacles that latch onto your boat, it can’t prevent them altogether if you go boating often, which you probably do!
Removal calls for steady scraping
Dry docking is often recommended for removing barnacles, because it removes the moisture that makes it easier for barnacles’ “glue” to stick. The basic process entails carefully scraping off barnacles after a power wash to help loosen them up—at Premier, we can also clean running gear like propellers, shafts, rudders and other features that may be affected by barnacles for a truly thorough job.
Because barnacle scraping calls for steady, careful movement (so as to not disturb the exterior beneath), it’s helpful to leave this part of boat maintenance to a trusted team with the tools and experience to get it done safely. That’s where Premier comes in!
We can help when others can’t
Dry docking may be preferred, of course—but if it’s not possible for you, don’t worry! We provide underwater barnacle cleaning and inspection, so that you can rest (and cruise) assured knowing that your boat, even the parts that you can’t quite see below the surface, is looking and working its best.
We hope that these tips help you enjoy barnacle-free adventures, this summer and beyond! To learn more, just call Premier Marine Detailing today—we can come to you and supply your ride with a detailing solution that’s custom-suited to your unique needs.