Antifouling the environmental way


Antifouling the environmental way

Let’s face it antifouling is annoying and expensive. You either have to have your boat regularly lifted cleaned and treated or risk ever decreasing performance and ever-increasing fuel bills as the fouling gets worse.  

Then even if you do have your boat religiously maintained there is still the guilt and worry about the environmental effects of traditional antifouling treatments even as they are held to ever tightening regulations.

But what about a system which never needs renewing and has no negative impact to the environment. It might sound too good to be true, but this is exactly what ultrasonic antifouling systems promise.

There are several different systems available on the market but generally they consist of an electronic module connected to one or more transducers which are connected to the inside of the boats hull. The transducers transmit ultrasonic frequencies throughout the hull causing a process within the water known as cavitation – like millions of microscopic bubbles. This cavitation prevents micro-organisms from attaching to the hull. It is these micro-organisms that are the food source for larger creatures like barnacle and mussels, therefore cutting off the food source stops the fouling.

There has been plenty of tests that have shown that these systems, when correctly installed, can prove very effective in preventing fouling. What is more the ultrasonic waves are transmitted at a specific frequency to deter micro-organisms and can only be detected in very close proximity to the hull. All the research shows that there is no detrimental effect to any marine biology and obviously no chemical contamination of the water risked by traditional antifouling treatments.

The best systems available can be powered directly from the boats battery and even offer intelligent power monitoring to reduce load and even switch off to prevent excessive draining of your battery. As if to further improve the environmental case there are some systems that can even be supplied with optional solar power charging kits, in effectively giving zero running costs for your antifouling.

Indeed, the only limitations of these systems appear to be that they can only be installed on metal of GRP and not wooden hulls. Apparently because wood absorbs rather than transmits ultrasonic waves. Otherwise they are suitable for any boat can be installed without any drilling of the hull required and can be specified for boats of all sizes.

We would like to thank Aquamare Marine for their technical assistance in preparing this article and would recommend their newly launched website for anyone interested in finding out more;

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