How to Clean the Bottom of a Sailboat Underwater! (Tips from the Pros #4 /Patrick Childress #55)
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How to Clean the Bottom of a Sailboat Underwater! (Tips from the Pros #4 /Patrick Childress #55)

January 13, 2020


your boat doesn’t have to come out of
the water looking like this on sailboat ‘Brick House’ we’ll show you how we clean
our bottom and then we’ll go to Hank Schmitt from Offshore Passage Opportunities to give his tips from the pros number four how to keep your bottom
clean. Hello I’m Patrick Childress in over twelve years of living on our
sailboat Brick house Rebecca and I have never found a bottom paint that does
what it’s supposed to do what the advertising says that it will do
we’ve always ended up having to scrub the bottom much sooner than ever expected so we
normally use a hookah and up here we’ll put a link to video number 12 which
shows how we use the hookah for scrubbing the bottom especially after
we’ve been sitting for several months in one harbor and the marine growth really
does accumulate and at the end of this video will show you some underwater
scenes from that video but Hank Schmitt from offshore passage opportunities has
a very good system for using a scuba tank which you don’t have to strap to
your back and be so encumbered under the water so he’s going to show us how to
start with scrubbing the waterline and then go deeper using the scuba tank and
not wear it into the water okay so we’re getting set up to go ahead and clean the
bottom of the boat I’ve been cleaning bottoms for about the last 25 or 30 years
and at first we’d set up like most divers with a BC jacket and and
regulator and all the weight belts and everything but I found it was much
easier just to have a tank and a long 25-30 foot hose which I’ll set up right
here in the middle of the boat and if you have a dinghy you could also put it
in your dinghy but this keeps you from having to get a BC jacket and the weight
belt when it’s time to clean your bottom and you’ll see how we can actually clean
most of the bottom and we’ll demonstrate that in a little bit just by
having the tank set up in the middle of the boat. we open it up so it’s
ready for us we all the way open and back a little bit and I’ll just leave it
right here in the middle I’ll go ahead and get set up to enter the water and as
you’ll see I can clean most of the boat without having to use the tank and I
just have that ready for me when I need it so I’ll go in the water and it’s all
set to go when I need that for cleaning the prop for the bottom of the keel
maybe the bottom of the rudder we’re gonna go ahead and get in the water now
and we’ll show you how you can clean your boat pretty much about as big as
forty forty five feet without using a tank if you didn’t have a tank if you
weren’t certified but of course having a tank makes it certainly easier for
cleaning off your prop or the bottom of your keel but really to clean the bottom of your boat
the water isn’t that cold you don’t need a wetsuit or anything you just need a
few things so we’re gonna go in with our swim fins
a scraper of course for getting any barnacles or anything if you have
barnacles on the bottom of your boat or anything then you really should you just
be hauling the boat out and painting it a diver is not to keep from having to
paint your boat once a year or once every two years for scrubbies they’re
actually three different grades of scrubby’s one is like a sponge almost
and that’s when you’re racing or you keep it clean a lot then the red want a
little bit more abrasive and then you might be familiar with the black ones
which are really for cleaning your barbeque grill and if you have to use a
black one again I would usually just tell the owner of the boat save the
money that I would charge you for diving and putting it towards a short haul so
you shouldn’t have to be taking barnacles off the bottom of your boat if
you have barnacles on the bottom you vote you need to paint but I know our
bottom is not that bad so I’ll be able to use the lightest grade scrubby you
can you don’t want to use anything more abrasive because then you’re taking the
bottom paint off and again bottom paint as you know is very expensive 250 to 400
dollars a gallon so the idea isn’t to put it on and then scrape it all off so
again you want to use the the lightest scrub you can also very important are
the suction cups because again imagine you’re in the water and as you’re
cleaning the boat you’re pushing yourself away so they sell these at your
marine supply stores also any glazier windows they also have suction cups for
moving big pieces of glass so you want suction cups I put a line on there so I
don’t lose that and then I’ll just have the scrubby on the other side I do use
gloves again for barnacles you don’t want to scrape your hands if it’s really
cold water you’d want to use a wetsuit but it’s not too cold today so just swim
fins again if you want you can use booties my booties are more worn out
than my gloves so I don’t use booties anymore and up here where the water’s
dirtier I do like to put on a hoodie as well with a mask just any any mask I
don’t use the snorkel at all because again I’m gonna be holding my breath
cleaning the bottom of the boat and coming back up and you’ll see that
demonstration in a little bit so again you don’t need a lot of a lot of tooling
a minute ago you saw we set up our tank so we don’t have to worry about a BC a
buoyancy control jacket or a weight belt even you’ll have enough with the suction
cups to be able to take care of that so you’ll eliminate a lot of gear a lot of
maintenance without the BC jacket so just a tank, a tank and long hose in the middle of
the boat or you keep it your dinghy in the middle of the boat and I’ll just
need that really for cleaning anything off the prop or the bottom of the keel
so with that we’ll get suited up and see you in the water
okay so I’m all suited up with my stickems – my suction cups…and hopefully I’ll get
away with just my sponge type and I leave my other scrubby and my my putty
knife near me so I could reach it when I’m in the water so just go in make sure
you hold your mask okay we are in the water I generally
like to start at the bow you see just okay so you could see the contrast where
it was already cleaned and where it’s not and basically it’s my suction cups
in one hand and I’m right-handed so I have this scrubby in the other and I’m
just doing wipe wipe I hold my breath as I go down get to the middle of the
bottom of the boat then work my way up the other side and I just continue that
and that way I can do probably 90% of the boat without the having to use the
tank or the regulator so it saves you from using a lot of air so when I was
commercial diving I could do eight or ten bottoms with one tank so I wouldn’t have
to make as many runs to do it and again if you’re out cruising around you don’t
have to go and get your bottle filled as often. They do sell smaller pony bottles
which you could probably do the whole boat bottom with just a small five or
ten-minute pony bottle because again you only need it for your keel and for
your your running gear your prop and your shaft if you have any barnacles
there so it’s really just hold my breath wipe wipe….. and i come up again…work on down, more wipe wipe I don’t even have to hold my breath on
the top. And I head back down. And i just keep going, all the way around. Probably once every 2 month if you’re not racing if you are racing then you
might want to do it before each race. Very simple.
okay so I’ve cleaned 80% – 90% of the bottom I have my regulator set up
25-foot hose connected to the tank on deck. It could be on your Dinghy I just pull the
hose down now because I’m ready to clean the bottom of the keel then I’ll get the
putty knife and I’ll go ahead and clean the the strut, the prop, and the
shaft and then we’re all done so I only need this for the last part of the last
part of the cleaning the bottom. Thank You Hank I hope this video was
worthwhile for you if it was please give it a thumbs up and also click on the
subscribe button if you haven’t already also there is a link to the tip jar in
the video description if you don’t mind helping out in that
direction now here’s some of those scenes from when we were anchored for
three months in Sri Lanka (cleaning the hull, cleaning the chain, cleaning the prop on the bottom of our sailboat Brick House) Propspeed from Oceanmax worked great for 2 years, so it made cleaning our bottom a lot easier than before. After 2 years, we are applying it again (hauled out now for Coppercoat, Propspeed and more)

6 Comments

  • Reply Hugh Smith December 27, 2019 at 4:56 am

    What is your opinion of the best bottom paint??

  • Reply Lydia Johnson December 27, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    Only a sailor will walk around in the rain as though it were a dry day. Smile

  • Reply Hans Posselt December 27, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    What paint do you use on your propeller? Happy New year 2020

  • Reply Andrew Taylor December 28, 2019 at 5:03 am

    Thanks. good work.

  • Reply Twisted Race December 28, 2019 at 9:51 am

    Hey Patrick,
    Very Nice job on the video and cleaning your bottom in an organized way . Also How long you can expect to get out of … Prop Speed … I just used that on my prop on my Pacific Seacraft and did not know how long of life I would get form it's use. As we all know.. Prop Speed is very expensive but seems to work very well and worth the money if you get two years out of one application.

    Robert
    North Star

  • Reply Rick Gillis December 30, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    I have to ask this question …As someone who dove commercially years ago, who has cleaned hulls then and often since then as family know ' you can dive' .
    Why are you not using a snorkel for the surface areas? 
    Many times working a snorkel would be useless, but being basically on the surface cleaning that hull, a snorkel would be way better than holding your breath for a minute then lifting your head out of the water to breathe. I remember way back to teachings of proper equipment to do a job & working near the surface a snorkel would be perfect.

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