Marine fouling consists of micro (small) and large (macro) organisms that attach firmly to underwater marine surfaces such as boat hulls and create a bio mass that is called bio-fouling or just plain “fouling”. It all starts with marine bacteria, diatoms, and algae (micro fouling) attaching to surfaces and creating a slime layer. This is the beginning of the fouling food chain onto which barnacles, tube worms, and plants (macro fouling) can them attach, feed, and grow, creating a full-fledged fouling neighborhood.
It robs boats of speed, range, fuel, and owner’s money, not to mention the continual inconvenience of dealing with boat hull maintenance.
Antifouling is the technology of preventing fouling from accumulating on boat hulls. In history, the Vikings tried using pitch on their hulls and antifouling technologies evolved through the ages to today’s incredible ultrasonic antifouling technology.
Antifouling History & Trends
|Pitch (no copper)||Not very effective|
|Copper sheets||Better and stopped boring worms|
|Copper paint with TBT (tributyltin)||Best, but toxic|
|Copper paints without TBT||Not as good as copper sheets|
|Ablative paint no copper||Not very effective if static|
|Banning of ablative paints||What now…Back to Pitch?|
|Evolving alternative technologies||Ultrasonic Antifouling|
Ultrasonic Antifouling Explained
Ultrasonic antifouling technology is the process of destroying the microbial growth (micro fouling) at the cellular level. Rupturing the cell walls of the micro-fouling organisms prevents the basic elements of the fouling food chain from attaching to your hull. If the beginning of the food chain doesn’t develop, then the macro fouling can’t attach and grow on your hull. With ultrasonic antifouling technology, your hull is turned into an ultrasonic wave generator that protects your hull from fouling.