Clean Your Bottom! Three Ways To Avoid Summer Slime

A Clean Hull Means A Faster Boat

...Less fuel consumption, and a bottomside that you can be proud of when the boat heels.

A clean bottom is a point of pride... it helps with speed too! Photo by Will Keyworth
A clean bottom is a point of pride... it helps with speed too! Photo by Will Keyworth

Around the Bay the underside of a sailboat can get pretty hairy by mid-summer if it’s not cleaned regularly, so we’ve pulled together a few tips for cleaning in an environmentally friendly manner. Of course, if you’re not comfortable getting in the water to do this job yourself, there’s no shame in hiring a pro. A reliable diver will put your boat on a regular cleaning schedule, which will help keep the whole process more streamlined for all involved.

1. Pick Your Paint

If you plan to clean your boat’s hull in-water (or hire a diver to do so), start out right by selecting a hard or slick paint, which can be safely cleaned underwater. In contrast, a hull painted with ablative paint (which sloughs), is somewhat self-cleaning as the boat is used, and is best cleaned on the hard (possibly required by law) due to the toxins that would be released into the water. Consider low copper hard paints or non-toxic slick coatings for this reason. For boats with ablative paint, in the water simply clean the running gear and zinc anodes.

2. Consult Product Labels

Before doing any work, consult product labels. Manufacturers often suggest waiting a couple of months after application before cleaning.

3. Use a Soft Scrubby

Clean gently using the softest material that will do the job. In addition to the more common sponges and cloths, we hear pieces of carpet work well for this job. If colored plumes appear in the water, they probably indicate that you’re rubbing off paint rather than just marine growth. Ease up a bit on the elbow grease.


And by the way, there’s no need to clean the entire hull if not all of it is dirty. Focus on the waterline, the place where the most slime and yuck tends to accumulate.

More Resources:

Green Cleaning Tips:

Boat Cleaning Tips: and