Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: somewhere south of civilization
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Re: Cleaning bottom DIY in SF Bay?
I began cleaning boat bottoms in Sausalito in the 60's and continue to do so to this day, though in the warmer waters of the Caribbean now.
I've found it requires a variety of brushes and scrapers and a big screwdriver to clean the thruhulls. Some have lanyards to prevent them being dropped and some don't, mostly because they float. Some grasses require very hard bristles and some do better with a soft brush. Barnacles can be scraped off with a metal or a plastic scraper, but on my running gear, I prefer metal. Also, a S/S wire brush is good on running gear. You'll just have to find out what works best in your area by trial and error, or watch the professionals when they clean a boat near yours next time.
Be careful if you have spurs or another line cutter on your shaft as it will cut you every bit as easily as a line. You can also do your own zincs. No need to pay a professional to do such a simple job. Just make sure you have a couple of Allen wrenches of the right size in case you drop one. Make sure the shaft is super clean before installing new zincs.
I have also moved from SCUBA gear to a 12 VDC electric compressor hookah system called a Sea Breathe deck snorkel. I find it much more convenient and easier to use and it does not require tanks or as much weight. In reality, you can easily do a bottom job without tanks or a hookah rig, just freediving it. At any rate, you may find it simpler to do the first foot or so down from the waterline w/o any type of breathing apparatus, even if you do use it for the rest.
It certainly is convenient to have someone clean your boat's bottoms, but if you have the time, it's a complete waste of money to pay someone else to do it.
"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
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