Hull Cleaners Thrown Under The Bus - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 7 Old 11-21-2013 Thread Starter
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Hull Cleaners Thrown Under The Bus

Earlier this year I began a thread entitled "Anti Fouling Paint Manufacturers Taking Aim At Hull Cleaners." Maybe some of you remember it. Anyway, in that thread, I referenced a study of in-water hull cleaning's copper contribution to the water column. Not the first study of its kind, but the first one funded by the paint manufacturer's lobbying group. It was published a couple of weeks ago and as expected, the results show that copper-based anti fouling paint is much less of an issue than every other previous study has shown, and that in-water hull cleaning is much more of a problem. By a factor of 10. Where previous studies show that hull cleaning contributes about 5% of the copper that gets into the water from anti fouling paint, this study shows it to be about 50%. If you were ever in doubt about the meaning of the phrase, "The fox guarding the hen house," this scenario should clear that right up for you.

We don't know how the paint manufacturers will want the state to use this study, but we suspect it could be used to implement mandatory cleaning frequencies in California, and by that I mean much less frequent than the boat owner would like. FYI.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/1...14.2013.841891

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post #2 of 7 Old 11-21-2013
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Re: Hull Cleaners Thrown Under The Bus

As you said, I wonder what the paint manufacturers will do with this. "Don't clean your bottom" is rather naive; even with fresh paint, the bottom gets fouled in a few weeks; it would be pretty bad left uncleaned for a few months. Perhaps they will claim that copper paints aren't so bad (because none of the alternatives work, or are too expensive), so long as it isn't cleaned...thereby avoiding the retooling and expense of finding alternatives.

Regardless, thank you for posting it.

What gets me - which I mentioned when they tried to ban copper-based paints a year or so ago - is the the focus is on recreational craft. I look at those big container ships in SF Bay - each one polluting hundreds of times more that the recreational boats. .
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post #3 of 7 Old 11-21-2013
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Re: Hull Cleaners Thrown Under The Bus

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"The fox guarding the hen house," this scenario should clear that right up for you.

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I believe this phase applies much more to a hull cleaner saying the report is wrong!

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post #4 of 7 Old 11-21-2013
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Re: Hull Cleaners Thrown Under The Bus

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What gets me - which I mentioned when they tried to ban copper-based paints a year or so ago - is the the focus is on recreational craft. I look at those big container ships in SF Bay - each one polluting hundreds of times more that the recreational boats. .
SF makes lots o' money from shipping. Big money will get their way and find a way to get the little guy to pay for it.

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post #5 of 7 Old 11-21-2013
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Re: Hull Cleaners Thrown Under The Bus

I am assuming cleaning the hull would also remove the expensive paint much faster than just leaving it there, requiring re-coating with expensive paint more often. In which case, what would the expensive paint manufacturers have to gain by suggesting that it never gets cleaned (or cleaned less often)?

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post #6 of 7 Old 11-21-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Hull Cleaners Thrown Under The Bus

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I am assuming cleaning the hull would also remove the expensive paint much faster than just leaving it there, requiring re-coating with expensive paint more often. In which case, what would the expensive paint manufacturers have to gain by suggesting that it never gets cleaned (or cleaned less often)?
I don't expect that you would have any experience in this, boating in a region of very low fouling as you do, where hull cleaning is rarely (if ever) performed, but frequent, gentle in-water hull cleaning actually helps an anti fouling paint last much longer than it otherwise would. In regions of moderate to high fouling (such as California) anti fouling paint is going to foul fairly rapidly. Allowing it to become even moderately foul means it is then necessary to use abrasive cleaning media to remove that fouling. This (of course) scrubs paint (and therefore copper) off the hull and into the water. By cleaning frequently, the hull never gets particularly foul and the softest, least abrasive cleaning media can be used to remove fouling growth. This keeps the paint (and copper) on the hull, where it belongs.

The paint companies are up against the wall. They were able to recently defeat proposed legislation (similar to Washington's) that would have banned copper-based anti fouling paints in California. They have much to gain by making their products appear to be less polluting and in-water hull cleaning to be more polluting.

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post #7 of 7 Old 11-21-2013
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Re: Hull Cleaners Thrown Under The Bus

Ah gotcha, yeah, that makes sense. I distrust any report in any situation that is paid for by a party that has in interest in the situation. There was a recent one here around increasing coal shipments and surprise surprise, the environmental impact study commissioned by the coal company stated that there would be impact, flying completely in the face of every other study done.
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