The Block Island Times

The Constant Barnacle Scraper

By J. V. Houlihan, Jr. | Jul 15, 2013
Photo by: Pat Houlihan

Ask any boat owner what their feelings are about painting the bottom of their boat, and you'll surely get a series of pauses, grunts, and downcast eyes. But if you asked me yesterday, I would've sat back and smiled. The reason for this is, I didn't don the paper suit, face mask, latex gloves. No paint trays and rollers for me; nada, nope, not on your life. This year my brother Pat agreed to do this mind twisting chore(for a certain amount of clams, grease, cash, beans.) My brother is a man of his word, and made short work of the nasty task. It was about 90 degrees when the job was done. He worked like a pack mule to be done with this very tough job as quickly as possible. I was at the ferry dock all weekend, so Pat jumped into the breach. He made a beautiful dollar for his effort, as he should have.

     Most boat guys try to minimize expense and maintenance. One way is to use good bottom paint, and only paint the bottom every other year. Avoiding a yearly haul out is another way to save money. I've dove under my boats with all kinds of home made tools(Yankee ingenuity) to clean the slime and barnacles from the hull and prop. I actually used a garden hoe to scrape the weed from the hull; nasty gig, kids. I've got two words for you, Brine Shrimp!!! They are nasty and plentiful little pests in Newport Harbor. As Geezers-in-training like me get on in years, hopefully we get a bit wiser, and find the most efficient way to maintain our boats. Some guys go smaller to make life easier, others simply get rid of their boats. My brother and I are still tossing money into these fiberglass holes in the water. Get rid of our boats? Fahgetaboutit. Ain't happening.

     So, the latest plan to keep my boat looking somewhat respectable, was deciding to raise the waterline about 7 inches. Pat masked off a line, and rolled. What is the benefit of this one may ask? Well, the slime visual is minimized on the boot stripe when you paint over it. I gave Pat some 60 grit paper and he roughed it up, then he rolled it out. Bang, done. No more rowing out to the boat and looking at slime on the waterline. This condition was becoming increasingly vexing over the past few years. The slime visual was getting old. I don't care what others think,the public be damned, about this funky aesthetic; I do!  I  can't wait to splash my sled on Thursday, and get back to our mooring.  With the new paint, Reverie will pick up at least a knot of hull speed. Finally, with this new paint, I'll be scraping the bottom of the boat less, and watering my wife's beautiful gardens instead. The whole garden watering drill has been fun, In fact, I'm going to water the flowers now, along with our dog Sailor, then hose myself down. It's 85 bloody degrees outside, and it's midnight!




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