What is Fouling?

BARNACLES

Barnacles and zebra mussles attach to boat bottoms to feed. Barnacles reproduce by releasing millions of larvae into the water. These drift around on currents feeding on water bourne nutrients. However, if the barnacle can attach itself to something stationary, it can feed more efficiently and since most boats remain static for 90% of their time in the water, their hulls provide an excellent feeding platform.

WEEDS

Just like barnacles, weeds also attach themselves to static surfaces. This occurs most frequently near the waterline where sunlight abounds. Many types of seaweed will simply fall off when the boat gets underway but other varieties can withstand relatively high speeds through the water.

SLIME

This mess is created by algae that settle into a gooey, syrup-like medium and happily reproduces (or "bloom"). An algae colony soon attracts other organisms which,combined with the slime, makes for a really ugly and slow boat bottom, and they won’t be removed by motion through water.

FOULING VARIES BASED ON:

Water quality Speed of water flow Temperature Shade Pollution Water PH Inflows from rivers Rain

3 REASONS TO PREVENT FOULING

1) Protect Hull - Prolonged growth of some fouling can damage the fabric of the hull. The natural glues they use to attach themselves to the hull can damage wood and glass fibre.

2) Safety of Craft - A fouled hull will not respond as quickly as a smooth one - at the helm your margin for error becomes very small. Fouling can weigh quite a bit, leaving your boat lower in the water and this has obvious implications for sea worthiness.

3) Speed & Efficiency -With the price of fuel increasing by the day, the cost of pushingyour boat through the water is becoming a major issue.When your boat's bottom and running gear become fouled with marine growth, it's equivalent to putting shag carpeting over the entire bottom surface while still trying to get it to move through the water at a decent speed. Fouling causes drag, reducing the speed of the hull. For motor cruisers, this means more fuel and for yachts racers, less glory.