Find out why you may need or want to scrub or burnish and the best ways to complete these tasks.
What is scrubbing: This is the act of using a brush to vigorously clean the paint.
Why do you need to scrub? Many boaters may want to clean away fouling from their boat's hull during the lifetime of its antifouling paint. There are many do’s and don’ts associated with this activity however.
Wipe down with a soft sponge if slime is building up and take care if your antifouling is an ablative or self-polishing type, as you will more easily remove good paint, which will reduce the lifetime of the system.
If you have a rather heavy build up that is resistant to being removed with a sponge, try using a green or grey Scotch-Brite pad - but go lightly as otherwise you will remove good paint.
When cleaning at the waterline, a light pressure wash with fresh water can be all that is required.
If you need something more, brushing maybe required; start with a very soft bristle brush in a horizontal or downwards motion. Brushing upwards will only transfer wet antifouling paint onto your topsides.
With hard types of antifouling paint, the active materials leach from within the paint outwards. Therefore the top layer of paint is likely to have a reduced biocide content towards the latter part, plus it could be partially clogged with sea debris such as mud and highly resistant diatoms. A gentle scrub at around 6 – 9 months may help to remove this layer and assist in retaining performance if the product appears to be building up a level of fouling growth. Again, scrub only as hard as is required in order to remove as little paint as possible.
What is Burnishing: Burnishing, in its true sense, means to polish, using for example very fine cutting compounds, as might be used to cut and polish auto paints.
Why Burnish? With burnishing, you can obtain a glossy/shiny polished surface and a smoother finish. A smoother finish will decrease drag, reduce fuel burn in the case of powered vessels, increase boat speed and aid maneuverability.
Cautions: Antifoulings that can truly be burnished tend to have some limitations with antifouling performance, and so the trend these days is towards slightly softer products so genuine burnishing is less a practical option.
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