How to Remove Barnacles from Boat – Let’s Find an Effective Way

How to Remove Barnacles from Boat – Let’s Find an Effective Way

If you own a boat, you probably know the problems associated with barnacles attaching themselves to the hull. Apart from the fact that these little creatures are quite unsightly, they might cause drag for your vessel, reducing its speed and raising fuel costs.

Besides, barnacles can affect the volume of water reaching the engine and the cooling system. The propeller may also be affected, and the repair costs might be up to thousands of dollars. That’s why removing barnacles is a wise move.

This article is dedicated to showing an effective way of removing barnacles from your boat, but before we go into that, some folks might ask, what exactly are barnacles?

Barnacles are arthropod creatures that are related to lobsters and crabs; they look like little dragon claws. These creatures are solely marine, tending to live in tidal and shallow waters, normally in an erosive setting. They are also known for being suspension feeders that hardly move.

Steps for Removing Barnacles from Boat Hull

1. Take the boat off the water. If you want to remove the barnacles without removing the boat from the water, then you got to have proper diving gear.

2. Using a steel scrubber (handheld), scrub the lower surface of the boat until all the barnacles are gone. But before using the scrubber, you consider using a plastic putty knife to remove the bigger barnacles. It is imperative that you use a knife with dull edges, so you don’t end up removing the paint from the boat.

3. If there are large, stubborn barnacle colonies, you might have to use a pressure washer to remove them. But before using a pressure washer to remove barnacles, it would be better to allow the boat a few weeks of drying. That way, the exercise will be effective. While using a pressure washer, spray the water parallel to the boat surface instead of spraying directly at the barnacles.

The goal is to get beneath the edges of the barnacles, so they come off completely. The problem with pressure washing is that the some of the paint will be removed, but that’s not much of a problem, as you can easily repaint the hull. Here is an easy guide for painting a boat hull.

4. If there are barnacle remnants after applying the pressure washer, use some hydrochloric acid to remove them. After applying the HCl, scrape off the barnacle remnants using your dull-edged metallic knife. Applying a lime remover after applying the acid will make the removal process even more effective.

5. Clean the hull thoroughly.

6. Apply a product that makes the hull slick, so the cleaning process is much easier in future. 

And, you’re all done!

Let’s look at some of the most frequent questions regarding barnacles or their removal.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Does fresh water kill barnacles?
No, it doesn’t.

2. How big do barnacles grow?

Barnacles are typically small, growing only up to a centimeter or two but there are varieties that can grow up to 7 cm or more.

3. Why are barnacles dangerous?

The major threat that barnacles present is that of harming your boat. They can considerably decrease the durability of the hull, which the boat depends on to float. By attaching themselves to the lower surface of the boat, they can slow you down significantly. 

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