Anyone dive to clean their own bottom? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 86 Old 09-12-2015 Thread Starter
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Anyone dive to clean their own bottom?

As a big DIY type, I'd rather learn how its done than just pay someone to do it. I have most of the equipment needed and was thinking about diving in to scrub the bottom. My concern is stray voltage in the marina. It is a salt water marina, with no leakage problems that I am aware of. Is stray voltage even something to worry about? Any suggestions for reading how to, or safety precautions are appreciated.
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post #2 of 86 Old 09-12-2015
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Re: Anyone dive to clean their own bottom?

Stray current can be a problem. Some dock side divers are whacked every year. However, it's not very common either. If it's your own boat, why not just do it at anchor somewhere. Likely to be better water quality too. Check with your marina first. Ours doesn't permit dockside diving at all. It's a negotiated accommodation to the environmental agency that doesn't like excessive antifoulant heavy metals to be sloughed off in confined harbors.

Some thoughts........

Be sure to use the absolute softest media to scrub, or you're just removing too much antifoulant.

It can be an extremely exhausting process, where you'll quickly learn that paying a pro is worth every penny.

All but impossible to use only a snorkel. Scuba gear is most common (but get properly certified, as it can kill you). Hookah systems are usually used by the pros and some DIYers (still requires scuba training).

A cheat method (only works if all you have is slime) is to snorkel around the waterline and use a long handled, soft bristled brush to clean as far as you can reach. Dive only to do the remainder, which may only be the keel or bottom of rudder, depending on the size of your boat.
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post #3 of 86 Old 09-12-2015
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Re: Anyone dive to clean their own bottom?

Minnewaska nailed it. Especially the "cheat" method which is my standard method. And it is exhausting but worth it for me.

Good luck.

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Re: Anyone dive to clean their own bottom?

I've been cleaning my boats bottom for for over 30 years. I'm on a mooring and use mask, fins and snorkle. I don't find it that exhausting and i will turn 70 next year.
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Re: Anyone dive to clean their own bottom?

We invested in a hookah for our boat and I know it's paid for itself many times over. Since we have been cruising full time for about the last 5 years, we often find ourselves in remote places where there's no one to clean the bottom but me. It's not a chore that I look forward to but it only usually takes a couple of hours every six to eight weeks. However, when we're at home in a slip, I hire a professional to do the job.
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Re: Anyone dive to clean their own bottom?


I clean my own bottom (no jokes!). My boat is on a mooring. The harbor water is pretty clean so I am not too worried about being in the water. I first go around the boat in my dinghy and I scrub the water line and as far down as I can reach. Then it's mast, snorkel, fins time and I go at it. It takes me about an hour to my 36' boat. I admit that I do a poor job on the keel. Its 6' deep and I just can't stay down there like I used to (I'm 51). I get most of the slime off and I never have barnacles or hard growth.

I admit that I do hire a diver before I do an important race. He does a better job and also cleans the water intakes and does the bottom of the keel too. I pay him $95 and it's worth it.

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Re: Anyone dive to clean their own bottom?

I clean my own bottom. I use standard snorkel gear and work from the surface. NO DIVING REQUIRED!

The secret is I have an 8 inch wide flexible stainless steel scraper mounted on an 8 foot pole. It takes me about 1/2 an hour per side to do my 44 ft monohull. If you use a brush or a green scrubber pad you will remove lots of ablative antifouling as evidenced by the colored clouds in the water. With a scraper you don't get the cloud effect.

The next point I make may not apply to all areas. Where I sail you get quantities of tiny shrimp and larvae coating the hull. These will migrate to your person as you scrape them off the hull. It is essential that you have a real good wash down afterwards paying particular attention to any creases and important little places.

BTW I am 68 years young.
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I dive mine myself. Usually we grab a mooring at our marina, as others have posted we also have a no bottom cleaning at the dock policy. Usually me and one of my sons will suit up in SCUBA gear and take our time cleaning and inspecting. If it is mostly slime we are cleaning we find a piece of old carpet is gentle enough to leave most of the anti fouling paint while still sturdy enough to clean. Our 31 foot boat takes the two of us 30/45 minutes working at a leisurely pace. In Florida I frequently find a sandy spot with good vid and a foot or two of water under the keel. I anchor fore and aft and do the job with snorkel and fins.
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post #9 of 86 Old 09-12-2015
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Re: Anyone dive to clean their own bottom?

Yes. Twice a month because the antifoul is gone. Use a hookah. I anchor out somewhere clean, calm, clear and warm....between the tropics. Takes about an hour and a full 80 cf bottle. It's good exercise. It is spotless. Wayyyyy easier to do it regularly rather than let it languish. Use a soft plastic scrub pad when there is no real paint left. Use a soft bath towel rag when there is still paint (micron 66). If a scraper is needed you have not been a good parent.

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Re: Anyone dive to clean their own bottom?

Find a shallow spot and do it at slack before low. I find I use a lot less energy I can plant my feet on the bottom.
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