Keel Crab hull cleaning drone - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 9 Old 03-22-2019 Thread Starter
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Keel Crab hull cleaning drone

Has anyone heard any reports? It seems it was just launched recently, but I can't find it for sale. I checked a few of their dealer's websites, but they seemed like service companies that might be using it, rather than selling it. It looks like a swimming pool cleaning drone, with a remote display screen. Only good for slime, not hard growth.

http://www.keelcrab.com/en/

I can't help but note that their videos never show the hull, after the drone cleaned it. Hmm.

I found some dated online discussion that it cost in the $2500 range, but that may have been kickstarter pricing. The concept has been tried and failed before, but I recall costs being over 10 grand. While $2500 is not very economical, it probably pays off, if a couple of boaters split one. Hull cleaning for us is about $300 a pop.

Intuitively, it can't possibly do as good a job as a diver. It can't do the prop at all, I'm sure. However, in some areas, divers are hard to schedule. They are not permitted in our marina. We used to have a guy that would meet us at anchor, in the Bay, but he stopped scheduling weekends. It's been a pain ever since. I've even resorted to a short haul ($540). Ouch.

It's probably too good to be true. However, the idea that I can play at anchor somewhere, while the crew is ashore, is intriguing. If it worked, I would clean the hull more frequently, for sure. Diving to hand scrape the prop, or change a zinc, is the easy part.


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post #2 of 9 Old 03-22-2019
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Re: Keel Crab hull cleaning drone

What's the rationale for this marina reg? Sounds like a place I wouldn't want to keep my boat, and they probably wouldn't want me either.

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post #3 of 9 Old 03-22-2019
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Re: Keel Crab hull cleaning drone

If you watch the Keelcrab videos, you will notice that the boats that are being cleaned are so lightly fouled that they almost don't need to be cleaned. And even then the Keelcrab does a poor job of it. Heavier soft or any hard growth at all? Seems like this device would be pretty ineffective. And of course it's not going to clean any running gear, thru-hulls or transducers. All in all- an expensive way to do a half-assed job of hull cleaning.
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post #4 of 9 Old 03-22-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Keel Crab hull cleaning drone

I agree it would be useless on hard growth. In my case, I never get any hard growth on the bottom, only heavy slime. Keeping that to a minimum would be value, especially if I could do it on my own schedule several times per season. I'll answer Capta's question, in a reply to him, but remember divers aren't allowed here.

However, I didn't see anything in the videos that actually showed what was just cleaned, which does make me suspicious. Indeed, one would still need to dive their prop, strainers and thruster tunnels, but I find each of those pretty easy compared to wiping the entire bottom.


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post #5 of 9 Old 03-22-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Keel Crab hull cleaning drone

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Originally Posted by capta View Post
What's the rationale for this marina reg? Sounds like a place I wouldn't want to keep my boat, and they probably wouldn't want me either.
It can't be a State-wide rule, as my prior marina did permit divers. I understand there are many pressures put upon marinas by the Department of Environmental Management. I think each marina negotiates what they can and can't get done by when. If you throw them the bone of voluntarily forbidding the scrubbing of toxic chemicals in the harbor, that may buy you some time to have to reclaim hull washing water ashore.

Painfully, I rarely see these regulations and negotiations based upon scientific fact. There are some very well funded and influence environmental groups around the Bay that insist on all sorts of draconian things and the DEM wants to point to having done something. Cost-benefit, efficacy and science have nearly nothing to do with half the regulations. I'm a true conservationist at heart, but not to the exclusion of humankind, rather for the benefit of humankind.
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post #6 of 9 Old 03-22-2019
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Re: Keel Crab hull cleaning drone

Doesn't look like it would do much but removed slime and not on all places such as hell to keel interface.

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post #7 of 9 Old 03-22-2019
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Re: Keel Crab hull cleaning drone

Don't the marina rules have something to do with electrocution?
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post #8 of 9 Old 03-22-2019
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Re: Keel Crab hull cleaning drone

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
It can't be a State-wide rule, as my prior marina did permit divers. I understand there are many pressures put upon marinas by the Department of Environmental Management. I think each marina negotiates what they can and can't get done by when.
It is likely a knee-jerk reaction to an issue the marina management do not understand. For instance- your anti fouling paint is pumping its copper or zinc biocide into the water 24/7/365 whether or not the hull is being cleaned. Further, multiple studies have shown that the amount of copper contributed to the water column by in-water hull cleaning activities is very small, just a fraction of what comes off the hull through passive leaching. And nobody seems to consider the increase in fuel consumption and hydrocarbon emissions that occur when boaters motor with a dirty hull.

Usually in instances like this, the marina is attempting to comply with the 100% voluntary Clean Marina program, which is used in many states, including Rhode Island.
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Re: Keel Crab hull cleaning drone

I take the negative review, but some of these objections seem easily overcome. I’m sure I could find a place under my Bimini to see a screen. If there is hard or heavy growth, it would seem the thing needs to be used more often.

Not saying it works, just observations. Where did you buy it?


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