I'm planning on having it done every 3 months, does that seem right?
In the San Francisco Bay Area, a 2-month cleaning frequency is optimal. You paid a lot of money for your bottom job and you want it cleaned it in the gentlest possible way. A 2-month cleaning frequency ensures that the diver can always use the softest pad when cleaning your boat. A less frequent regimen means he will have to use a more abrasive pad, which not only shortens the lifespan of your anti fouling paint but releases more copper into the water than otherwise would be. Further, with the 2-month cleaning cycle, your hull is clean more of the time, thereby improving performance both under power and sail and reducing your fuel consumption and carbon emissions. By gently cleaning your hull just 6 times per year (as opposed to 4 times) your bottom paint should last three years or more, potentially saving you thousands of dollars.
Here’s the math for 10 years of ownership:
3-month schedule (painted every 2 years)
$2000 bottom job X 5 = $10,000
$67.50 hull cleaning (4 times/year X10) = $2700
Total expenditure (10 years) = $12,700
2-month schedule (painted every 3 years)
$2000 bottom job X 3 = $6000
$67.50 hull cleaning (6 times/year X10) = $4050
Total expenditure (10 years) = $10,050
You save over $2600. Other, less calculable savings to you will be realized in reduced fuel costs and future haulout/bottom painting expenditures, as the cost of that particular maintenance item is only going to rise, going forward.
So, my point is; more frequent, gentle cleanings are better for the boat, better for the environment and better for your wallet as opposed to less frequent, more abrasive cleanings.