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Hull cleaners- post your gadgets!

Discussion in 'Commercial Divers' started by fstbttms, Mar 24, 2010.

  1. RoyalTouchDiving

    RoyalTouchDiving Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Charleston, SC
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    Well, I am new here to the site...brief history, just retired a year ago from the Navy (nuclear engineer). Started my hull cleaning business here in Charleston, SC and things are going well. Most of my business I get is from people who were getting charged for work, then unknowingly (to the diver) pulled the boat out of the water and it being totally fouled. The current here moves at nearly 7 knots with the water temp getting to 90 (87 currently today), so it makes for some of the largest growth in the US. In fact most paint companies test their paints here. If your boat has no paint on it, it will be a reef in 2 weeks.

    I charge $2 / ft for less than 70 ft, $2.50 70 - 80, $3 80 - 90, $3.50 90 - 100, >100 is $4 / ft.

    I like laguna diver use: a 5 in one paint scraper from Lowe's for props, rudders, shafts and trim tabs. I use a 12 in taping blade to clean the hull (paint manufacturers actually recommend this vice a brush, as a properly used blade you will take off no paint, and just the growth), while using my hands on the strakes so I don't scrape the edges and thus remove the paint. I use the softest brush I can find on the waterline, as this is where the paint will go bad the quickest, due to using the brush, and clean very lightly.

    From April thru October, cleanings are twice per month (in the months of may thru sep 10 days after cleaning and your boat will not plane), and once per month Nov thru March.

    It is very cutthroat here, with several companies having less than ideal morals and ethics if you will.

    One last note...it got down to 41 degrees here last winter...normally gets to around 48. I wore my Body Glove 5 mm suit with a 3 / 6 mm hooded vest the whole winter. I could do about 2 hrs in the water at 41, and about 3 hrs in water easily below 50. This year, I will be getting a 6.5 mm semi dry and using my hooded vest again....and should be fine.

    I dive about 7 hrs a day in summer, and 3 in winter, and leave myself about a day for calls from brokers / companies needing emergent dives, and other items such as zinc installs, and prop removals, etc.


    Later fella's!
     
  2. fstbttms

    fstbttms Manta Ray

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    Ummm... no offense, but I'm gonna call bullsh*t on this claim and ask you to provide proof. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY who knows anything about anti fouling paint recommends using a metal blade to clean it. Scraping hulls with serviceable anti fouling paint is a big no-no and you are doing your customers a real disservice by doing it.

    From the South Carolina Clean Marina Program:

    "Disallow in-water hull scraping or any process that
    occurs underwater which removes paint from the boat hull"

    http://www.scdhec.gov/environment/ocrm/docs/Clean_Marina/Clean_Marina_Checklist.pdf
     
  3. RoyalTouchDiving

    RoyalTouchDiving Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Charleston, SC
    24
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    Come join me in the water some time...not here to make waves, just telling you what I use...

    If you watch the water when you use a brush, if the paint is good, will see a small cloud of black go off with every stroke of the brush, use your blade, and you will only see the debris go away not the paint. You have to properly use it though.....and that is the key...

    My house is an open invitation if you want to come and we can compare ways.

    I know about the rule which disallows removing paint in water....

    How else can a persons paint last for 2 years with me doing what I am doing? It surely is not from removing it with a scraper, when I dive it every 2 weeks.

    Call BS all you want, you obviously don't live here, and don't start raising flags if you have no idea what you are dealing with here.....
     
  4. fstbttms

    fstbttms Manta Ray

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    You said that the paint manufacturers recommend using metal scrapers to clean hulls. Either your claim is true or it's not. I'm simply asking you to back up your bold statement with some proof.

    Look, I've been in this business a long time and have performed tens of thousands of in-water hull cleanings. I know which implements damage anti fouling paint and which don't. Scrapers are not an appropriate tool to clean hulls with. If you cannot clean a boat bottom with a relatively soft scrubber or brush, you are letting the bottom get too foul and need to increase your cleaning frequencies. That is true regardless of where you work or the fouling conditions you encounter. And even if your cleaning techniques were not damaging to the paint, the agencies that regulate water quality across the country look at that and think, "Hmm... hull cleaners are scraping anti fouling paint off into the water. We need to come down on them!" And if you think that isn't true, you'd better think again. At the very least you are certainly violating the Clean Marina Program rules in the marinas you work in that participate in that program.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010
  5. RoyalTouchDiving

    RoyalTouchDiving Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Charleston, SC
    24
    0
    1
    Well, seems as though I have ran into the token A-hole for the site....seems every site has one..are you the one here?

    Just for your information, spoke with my Sea Hawk representative today, there was only one tool that he strongly recommended against.......

    Drum roll please......

    It just happens to be the tool you are using...any form of scotch pads, or greenies, or the likes of those. He said, and I quote, "It removes too much paint."

    There you have it, just because you have done "tens of thousands" doesn't mean you are doing it right.

    Once again, you have no idea what growth really is. Your growth you have is negligent compared to here. The growth you get there, happens here over the weekend.

    You can't increase the frequency, because no one is going to pay for a cleaning once per week. 10 days here, and your boat will not plane due to growth.

    I know you are the end all to be all, have done it all, and do it better and faster than anyone else....you asked the question, "what tools are you using" and then rag on everyone because they don't use what you use.

    It is people like you that turn so many good people away from everything because you're a freaking A-hole that thinks it's my way or the highway.

    Sorry, I am sure I am not the best, but there is one thing I do know. I have never lost a customer because they were unhappy with my service that I am providing.

    You may post here if you like, but I will no longer be coming back to this thread, possibly even the site.
     
  6. fstbttms

    fstbttms Manta Ray

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    I see what you did here. Instead of getting the rep to back up your claim, you got him to say instead that what I was doing was wrong. Very clever. But it still doesn't support your previous statement. You stated quite plainly that paint manufacturers recommend using a metal scraper to clean anti fouling paint. You have yet to back up that claim. I will repeat for those who may not know any better, a metal scraper is an inappropriate tool to use for cleaning serviceable anti fouling paint. And no paint manufacturer or his sales rep will ever tell you that it is. It does not matter what your fouling conditions are. The anti fouling products you are cleaning are the same ones I'm cleaning. The Best Management Practice for in-water hull cleaning (supported by dozens of documents from across the nation that I will happily post here if you like) is to clean anti fouling paint in the gentlest manner possible. And a metal scraper is nobody's definition of "the gentlest manner possible" (except maybe yours). What you are doing is in violation of the Clean Marina Program that your own state advocates, and that certainly some, (if not all) of the marinas you work in are members of. What you are doing is bad for the hull cleaning industry, bad for the environment and frankly, bad for the client. I'm sorry it upsets you to hear that, but it's true.

    For somebody who claims to have been in the Navy, you have a pretty thin skin. The minute someone challenges your claims, you start calling names and run home with your ball. "Whaaaa! The bad man said I wasn't cleaning boat bottoms right! Whaaaa!" :shakehead:
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2010
  7. vshearer

    vshearer Solo Diver

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    I go with the taping blade too. Not just 'cause I am in SC. It is thin and flexible and will slide across the bottom removing the growth far better than a pad. Almost all bottom paints here are ablative, and using a scotch pad will definitly remove more paint than using the blade. Many boats here will have a layer of two to four inches of growth before cleaning. I have seen boats pull away from the dock and be unable to make headway against the current because the bottom is so fouled.
     
  8. fstbttms

    fstbttms Manta Ray

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    Hey, let's face it. There are always gonna be boats that need scraping. But if you are telling me that boats with paint in good condition get so foul on your regular, 2-week cleaning frequency that a pad will not clean it and that a metal scraper must be used (something I do not believe to be true), then again I say, you need to increase your cleaning frequency. We do plenty of ablatives out here as well, and we get 2 years out of them cleaning them with pads, even in Southern California where boats are cleaned a minimum of 15 times per year. RoyalTouch's assertion that pads are too abrasive and more damaging than a scraper is ludicous to the point of being funny. That simply isn't true.

    Part of our job as hull cleaners (at least as I see it) is to educate the customer about the benefits of cleaning the boat relatively frequently and gently. And metal scrapers just are not a gentle method of cleaning. I can't believe that your customers sit still for you using them. That would never fly out here.
     
  9. laguna230diver

    laguna230diver Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: myrtle beach sc
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    fstbttms ive respected every post you've made until now. The growth here in SC really is that b ad. in addition the hull cleaners established here have created a low ball market and the "boat owners" are not boaters. hull cleanings are needed every 2 weeks here in the ICW (brackish) and in the saltmarsh every week or 2. I have a client that only gets 1 a month in the saltwater and his 43ft boat is a 3 hr + job. Its rediculous.
    The SS taping knife is the BEST tool I have found yet. When they get damaged or bent throw them out, but if they are straight and have a lazer straight edge, they remove much less paint than a brush. With the brush, each bristle attacks perpindicularly to the paint. The painters tools can make an approach almost parallel to the hull.
     
  10. fstbttms

    fstbttms Manta Ray

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    I think we may be arguing at cross purposes here. So that I can completely understand your position, please answer this question:

    Are you saying that boats in your region with paint in good or better condition CAN NOT be cleaned with a white pad on a 2-week cleaning schedule?
     

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