Summer is a water season, many people are going out to the water with their portable inflatable boats, kayaks or canoes. Some of the inflatable boat owners are tired of having to constantly assemble and disassemble the boat, so they left their boats in the water over the entire season. This is convenient for the user, but not so good for your boat. Leaving your inflatable boat in the water for extended periods will result in biofouling, which is known as the barnacles.
Although these marine growth on your boat are small and seem harmless, but they have an outsized effect on the hydrodynamics of boats. Tests show that on planing powerboats, the protruding barnacles on the smooth bottom can create hull-dray and then reduce the boat's speed by 5 knots. Even if you don't care about the reduction in speed, the sharp barnacles can cut your feet under water while swimming. After the water season, you can not be able to deflate and store your boat with barnacles on it. That's why you need to learn how to remove the barnacles from your inflatable boat completely.
Steps to get rid of barnacles from inflatable boat:
1. Take your inflatable boat out of the water, and then turn it over to expose the bottom to the sun. The bottom is where most marine growth occurs. You can leave the bottom in the sun for a day. The sun will kill the marine ecosystem by then.
2. If you don't have time or don't want your PVC boat to be exposed to the sun for so long, you can use a pressure washer to remove the slime and loose barnacles or debris. The pressure washer needs to be set to the low position because a strong power washer may puncture the rubber of your boat.
3. Scrap the remaining barnacles off your boat. You may want to put on heavy work gloves to protect your heads from cuts, and use plastics tools like windscreen scrapers, plastic kitchen spatula or old credit cards. Be careful, excessive gouging and scraping can damage the hull.
After you finish the above steps, there should be no barnacles on your inflatable boat, but there may be calcium rings left from barnacles. These small white thin calcium disks are sort of like limescale, they are not removable if you don't know the correct method.
So how to remove the calcium rings?
Many people damage their inflatable boat by using the wrong ways to clean the calcium disks, such as use sanders or scrubbing agents. The only way to remove these calcium disks is by using an acidic solution. Here are 3 recommended solutions for you.
Vinegar is a common acid solution in the kitchen that can be used to remove limescale, is can also be used to remove the calcium disks left by barnacles. Mix a splash dishwashing soap with highly acetic vinegar, the dishwashing soap suspends the vinegar and helps break up the calcium. This may take you a few hours or even a day for the acidity of vinegar to loosen the calcium. After that, you can easily wash off the calcium deposits with a hose. This method is suitable for a few barnacle rings on the boat.
2. Citric acid powder
Citric acid is a more concentrated carboxylic acid than vinegar, so it can remove the calcium rings quicker than vinegar. And its power form is easier to store, so it's more convenient than vinegar if you have a persistent barnacle problem, or just have lots of barnacle rings. The usage method is the same as with vinegar. Dilute the citric acid powder in water, and leave it on the boat. Wash it off when the calcium rings have loosened.
3. Hydrochloric acid
Using hydrochloric acid is the quickest way to get rid of barnacle rings. And be careful, the dilute hydrochloric acid solution won't burn through your boat, but it will your hand if it comes into contact with your skin. Buy 35% muriatic acid (non-technical grade of hydrochloric acid) and sodium bicarbonate solution to neutralize the acid in case you splash it on yourself. Dilute the acid into the water at 5 parts water, 1 part acid. You should pour the acid into the water instead of pouring the water into the acid because it will boil and splatter. And then spray the dilute acid solution onto the calcium rings area and wait 10-20 minutes, maybe 30 minutes with Hypalon boats, and then wash the acid and goo off with a hose.
No matter which solution you use, you must put on latex gloves to protect your hands from the acidic chemicals. The best way to prevent barnacles from forming on your inflatable boat is do not leave your boat in the water for extended periods. Sunjoy Inflatables high quality inflatable kayaks or dinghies
are very lightweight and convenient for daily use, so you don't have to leave your boat in the water overnight. Any questions about how to clean and maintain your inflatable boats please contact us.