Marine Applications

Many boat owners let the marina/shipyard decide on cleaning and repainting boat bottoms simply because there haven't been many options to choose from. Owners are clueless as to what conventional methods of bottom cleaning do by way of damage to the hull.




Basically, the conventional process of cleaning and prepping boat bottoms would include the following:

When the boat is hauled out, the first task if necessary, is to scrape off the heavy marine growth with flat blades. Excessive scraping may very well gouge into the gel coat if not careful.

The next step might be pressure-washing the bottom prior to mechanical sanding which does little except clean off surface scum. Sanding the hull is the most destructive process in hull cleaning and occurs simply because it is a very difficult manual task and virtually impossible to keep from sanding into the gelcoat. Once the gel coat is damaged, water can get between it and the fiberglass. The hydraulic pressure from the water then begins to cause blisters, fractures, and delamination of the gelcoat. The original gel coat is smooth in texture and serves as a protective barrier of the underlying fiberglass. A quick coat of bottom paint and the owner is totally unaware of the condition of his hull because of the cosmetic effect of the fresh paint.

Most boat bottoms have never been completely stripped simply because it is costly and very labor-intensive using conventional methods. So in reality one coat of paint is applied over another and another and so on. After a point in time all that is left is layered coats of peeling paint and gelcoat failure, not such a pretty sight, but most important the hull integrity is diminished not to mention the loss of boat operating performance due to a rough bottom surface and the added weight of water that has been wicked into the fiberglass.

New boat owners should always be present at the time of the first haul out, especially if the boat is still under warranty. It is not uncommon for blisters to form on newer hulls, especially on the bottoms. A quick visual inspection can determine the presence of blisters. In some cases there may be hundreds of blisters on new hulls. Each blister must be located, removed, and repaired lest the risk of catastrophic failure. Most warranty's will cover blister repairs but if not determined while the boat is still under warranty the owner may have to pay a fortune in hull repair at some later time. Traditionally, blister repairs are expensive and time consuming. Boat manufacturers are becoming aware of SodaBlasting blisters because of speed and quality. A nickel-sized blister can be removed along with a one inch to four inch feathered edge in only two to five seconds!

So what is SodaBlasting? This is a high pressure, air driven, and non-destructive method of cleaning and paint stripping on fiberglass, wood, aluminum and other substrates. SodaBlasting is fast, cost effective, and flexible as it relates to the specific task: For instance, a boat that has been out of the water for several months or so usually has oxidation to some degree on the bottom paint. By "sweep" blasting with SodaClean the coating is rejuvenated and ready to be put into service. In other cases there is considerable good bottom paint on the hull but a fresh coat is needed. SodaBlasting is then performed without removing all of the bottom paint. SodaBlasting removes all surface contamination including oil, chlorides, bilge and marine growth scum or what ever may be on the surface that pressure washing just can't handle. The next most common scenario are boats that have layers upon layers of bottom paint with moderate to severe damage to the gelcoat. SodaBlasting will remove the layers of old paint and damaged gelcoat without harming the remaining gelcoat that is without spider cracks and intact. In this tough case scenario a moderate level of SodaBlasting effort will thoroughly prepare the surface for gelcoat repair and/or an application of barrier coating that will ensure years of coating life service and better operating performance because of less drag from rough and water saturated bottoms. In summary, SodaBlasting will support and sustain good hull integrity while improving performance in speed for sailing and motor craft with lower fuel cost.