Advances in boat antifouling

The problem of biofouling was long known and had several universally accepted solutions in different ages through the history. In the era of wooden sail ships, the popular solution of the day were metal linings made of copper and copper alloys. The 20th century brought forward immense advances in development of antifouling coatings and paints, which remain frequently used even today. But modern solutions offer extra choice to those willing to invest in effectiveness. The other problem is the conservation of the environment and marine life – coatings and paints are made with biocides which can contaminate the sea.

Modern solutions are focused on clean and effective removal of the fouling. A lot can be done with preventive measures, preventing the settling of marine life on the hull. Both prevention and removal of the fouling are the functions of ultrasonic boat antifouling. Ultrasonic technology has many nautical applications, especially in military ships and submarines – in fact, the advances in the development of submarine sonars led to modern ultrasonic antifouling solutions. So, we have the choice between ultrasonic systems and biocide coatings, and frequently both are used together.

Ultrasonic boat antifouling works by emitting ultrasonic sound waves in quick bursts of different frequencies, effectively creating alternating waves of positive and negative pressure. This leads to small bubbles forming on the surface of the hull by the negative pressure, with the positive pressure bursting them into tiny microscopic jets, removing even the single cell organisms on the hull. Ultrasonic boat antifouling is effective in removing even the settled marine life from the surface of the hull, but it’s advisable to use it as a preventive measure before the problem becomes too dire. With modern ultrasonic boat antifouling systems being advanced to the point of complete automation, that’s not hard to do at all.