'Martin Broom’ launch leads Broads Authority’s eco-friendly fleet

Hull-cleaning-the-Martin-Broom Two Broads Authority ranger launches now have super clean hulls, thanks to an innovative coating that protects the boat and the environment.  

Traditional and commonly used antifoulant paints applied to boat hulls contain copper, zinc and other pesticidal chemicals.  These chemicals prevent growth of algae on submerged boat surfaces, but in the Broads, the likely level of this natural growth is relatively low compared to marine situations.

To help protect against contamination of the sensitive Broads freshwater ecosystem, several different types of hull coating have been developed that don’t rely on toxic chemicals.

The Broads Authority’s new launch, the ‘Martin Broom’, named after its longest serving member, has a silicon based hull coating that feels slippery to the touch which prevents any mussels or dense growths of algae attaching themselves to the boat underwater. It also helps the vessel glide through the water and keep fuel consumption down.  All that is needed for annual maintenance is a quick spray with a pressure washer, or wipe with a wet rag. Removing the thin layer of silt and slime is a lot less hassle and expense than reapplying another coat of normal antifoul paint that can leave a legacy of chemicals in the waterways.  

Another launch with a silicon-coated hull has been in the water for four seasons near Breydon Water, with only minor touch ups where impacts have damaged the silicon surface. The initial outlay is certainly worth four years of minimal maintenance costs. The remainder of the Authority’s vessels are coated with an annually applied non-toxic antifoul paint, which relies on the action of hydrogen peroxide to deter plant and animal growth on the hull. When the peroxide breaks down underwater, all that remains is water and oxygen!  

Sunday 6 April 2014