What’s best for a cruiser’s bot­tom?

Canal Boat - - Back Cabin -

QI re­cently pur­chased my first GRP cruiser for the canal sys­tem. Do you think it is ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary to use anti-foul­ing on fresh­wa­ter and if so, how of­ten should this be done?

ATLANTA24, via the CB web­site

ATONY REPLIES... It is not ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary, and if you do use it how of­ten it needs re-ap­ply­ing de­pends upon the type. En­vi­ron­men­tal leg­is­la­tion has re­sulted in some types of anti-foul­ing be­ing with­drawn. Those that were best for slow speed fresh­wa­ter boats had a high level of poi­sons in them, so the paint film killed any­thing try­ing to stick to it. Some are de­signed to shed their sur­face at speed so would prob­a­bly not work at canal speeds, while oth­ers con­tain cop­per. Each type will have a dif­fer­ent ‘life’. If you take the boat home rather than keep it afloat, a quick scrub down each time you pull it out will be ef­fec­tive.

It’s ad­vis­able to take GRP boats out of the wa­ter ev­ery two or three years to check for un­der­wa­ter hull dam­age and also to check the rud­der, prop, shaft and bear­ing; I sus­pect many in­land GRP boaters sim­ply scrub the hull at that time, much as the steel boaters do. At canal speeds, any foul­ing is un­likely to make a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence to speed/ fuel consumption.

One other point; many GRP boats run with alu­minium out­drives or out­board mo­tors, and if you ap­ply cop­per-type anti-foul­ing to them, the case may cor­rode into holes in just one sea­son due to gal­vanic cor­ro­sion.

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