How to Maintain the Underside of Your Houseboat How to Maintain the Underside of Your Houseboat

Maintaining the underside of your houseboat is one of the ongoing chores of being a boat owner.  It is unavoidable that barnacles, algae as well as a myriad of creatures settle on the bottom. To prevent sluggish performance and prolonged corrosion, consider the following methods to clean the underside.

Under-Water Clean

If the houseboat is within the water and needs to be cleaned in this position, you need a hookah or scuba equipment to clean the bottom. Most houseboats are cleaned easily with a scrubber or scraper. You could also use a pressure washer beneath the water surface to clean out copper, fiberglass or wooden houseboat bottoms. It is a much easier and efficient practice to clean the houseboat bottom once it is taken out of the water or propped up during low tide.

Steel or Copper Bottomed Boats

If the houseboat has a copper bottom, pressure washers are a good way to clean it. Make sure to first scrape out most of the growth and then follow it up with the pressure washer. Do not use chemicals as otherwise you will not be able to let the water from the washer flow back to the sea. If the growth has been around for a long time and dried up as a result, you would need to use chemicals or sand blaster equipment for a thorough cleaning.

Wooden Bottom

For wooden bottomed houseboats, the cleaning is more hands-on, challenging and physical. For caulked hulls, you should not use excessive pressure and ideally the wooden bottom of the houseboat needs to be scraped during cleaning.

Fiberglass Bottom

For a houseboat with a fiberglass bottom, you should clean the base as soon as the boat is out from the water. You can use pressure washers but use it at oblique directions while spraying so the water just skims the surface. If you use high pressure while spraying, it could damage the delicate gel coat of the fibreglass.

Difficult Encrustations

If the growth has been around for a while and has become encrusted on the houseboat bottom, you need commercial cleaners to get the dirt out. You could paint or spray these cleaners over the growth followed by a pressure wash after a specific duration. Make sure when using chemicals that you do not allow the water from the pressure wash to flow back to the sea or river. A good remedy to remove stubborn dirt is a mixture of warm water and tri-sodium phosphate with a proportion of 1 gallon per 1 cup respectively. This solution is known to eliminate algae stains and algae from houseboat surfaces. Another eco-friendly alternative is to use a mix of 4 parts of Lysol and 6 parts hydrogen peroxide, which you would need to soak over the algae growth for 2 hours followed by a pressure wash.

Sometimes for ingrained stains, you would need to use Muriatic acid. However, since it is abrasive, be very careful. Make sure to use gloves and wear goggles. Never let it flow into waterways because it would pollute the sea.

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