Your Marine Parts Depot Specialists Understand That Maintenance Is Going to Need Some Elbow Grease

Raritan Engineering Company your marine parts depot analysts would like to share with you this information regarding the secrets of dealing with pesky waterline stains.

Summer is here, and our routine maintenance chores now require some serious elbow grease. Our first impulse is to go for the super-strength acids that will take care of the hard growth as well as the stains.

Over the years, Practical Sailor has reviewed several eco-friendly products that do a good job of descaling heat exchangers and removing barnacles.

Other products like Star brite Zebra Mussel and Barnacle Remover or MaryKate On & Off deal with shell and scale well, but they contain stronger concentrations of hydrochloric acid that give off toxic fumes and are beastly to work with.

Green Cleaners

The trouble with brown-yellow waterline stains is that they’re often made up of more than one problem—a combination, for instance, of algae stain, pollen, and tannic-acid stains, plus oil stain, all in a matrix of salt and strange oxides.

Most waterline stain removers use harsh acids to banish the brown funk. If the stain isn’t too bad, try cleaning it with concentrated lemon juice first. The most eco-friendly product tested was Captain John’s Boat Brite Algae and Waterline Stain Remover, which earned a “Good” rating for appearance with just a little rubbing.

Your Marine Parts Depot Professionals Exercise Caution When Deciding to Use Acids Cleaners

Your marine parts depot experts know that acids can eat the copper right out of the bottom paint if not used carefully. This could potentially make the one or two inches above the waterline basically useless at repelling growth if you cleaned your boat in-water then loaded it for cruising.
The hull of my own boat is always well waxed and I really don’t get to much if any waterline staining. A good coat of wax, or a polymer sealer such as Awlcare, can go a long way to minimizing these brown stains.

For Gelcoat, Not Painted Hulls:

This task is easy and is also safe for gelcoated hulls. While I have personally used mild acid formulations on LPU paints such as Awlgrip or Alexseal and Acrylic urethane products such as Awlcraft 2000 or Imron I don’t suggest it, nor do the paint manufacturers.

If you must use an acid on paint please be really, really, really, really careful and rinse it off immediately after the stain disappears DO NOT LET IT DRY. Do small 3-4′ sections before moving on and rinse, rinse rinse once the stain is gone.

The Products:

To clean waterline stains I use MaryKate On & Off Gel pictured here. This is a huge improvement over the regular non-gel On & Off or basic Oxalic crystals from the hardware store. It’s also a lot cheaper and stronger than products like Davis FSR stain remover, but works similarly.
Always wear rubber gloves & eye protection! Remember this stuff is acid. I use cheap chip brushesto apply it and toss them when I am done.

Learn more from Raritan Engineering about marine products from your marine parts depot.