fstbttms

That Look You Get...

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...when a customer tells you eleven weeks after his previous service that he can see growth on his keel and that he thinks you skipped cleaning it last time. 

d3JifE.jpg

:lol:

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You have to email them every 2 weeks to update them on the deteriorating condition of their bottom. Also, take a pic of their bottom when you dive it so you can prove you did the work. 

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22 minutes ago, Sail4beer said:

You have to email them every 2 weeks to update them on the deteriorating condition of their bottom. 

100% unsure if you mean I should incessantly pester the customer or not. In any event, this guy's bottom paint is in good condition.
 

22 minutes ago, Sail4beer said:

Also, take a pic of their bottom when you dive it so you can prove you did the work. 

I'm not gonna lie and say there is never a situation where having pix would be helpful, but we service many hundreds of boats on a regular basis and if I had to deal with processing and editing pix of every job we did, that's ALL I would have time to do. The truth is that while a complaint like this is frustrating and indicative of a boat owner who doesn't understand the reality of the fouling progression, it happens infrequently enough that taking pix of every single boat we dive (in the off-chance that the photos might eventually end up being useful) just isn't worth the time and effort.

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Here’s a question for ya. I’ve always wondered with marine organisms, say you’re cleaning the hull in still water, don’t the organisms just reattach re however their reproductive/survival mechanisms work? Do you reckon we will have cleaner marinas/dockage if we used a suction/filter like what one uses for dredging work? While scraping?

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1 minute ago, Miffy said:

Here’s a question for ya. I’ve always wondered with marine organisms, say you’re cleaning the hull in still water, don’t the organisms just reattach re however their reproductive/survival mechanisms work? Do you reckon we will have cleaner marinas/dockage if we used a suction/filter like what one uses for dredging work? While scraping?

It depends upon the organism but yes, the fouling progression begins within hours of a boat being splashed and never stops. An in-water hull cleaning is merely a temporary respite from it. This is why I can earn a living doing this.

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Just now, fstbttms said:

It depends upon the organism but yes, the fouling progression begins within hours of a boat being splashed and never stops. An in-water hull cleaning is merely a temporary respite from it. This is why I can earn a living doing this.

Say if you had exclusivity to a marina and your efforts was paid for on a fixed basis - would you do things differently?

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1 minute ago, Miffy said:

Say if you had exclusivity to a marina and your efforts was paid for on a fixed basis - would you do things differently?

Not sure what you mean by "differently" but hull cleaning is hull cleaning. And to my knowledge there are no marinas in this country that require their tenants to use a particular dive service.

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9 minutes ago, fstbttms said:

..processing and editing pix...

You mean to photoshop out all the junk you left on the hull?

:D:D

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1 minute ago, fstbttms said:

Not sure what you mean by "differently" but hull cleaning is hull cleaning. And to my knowledge there are no marinas in this country that require their tenants to use a particular dive service.

I meant like if you kept the entire marina/boat/structures clean and could tackle the problem in an big picture ecology way. 

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4 minutes ago, Miffy said:

I meant like if you kept the entire marina/boat/structures clean and could tackle the problem in an big picture ecology way. 

I still don't get what you're driving at. Submerged objects become foul. Nothing stops that. The best you can hope to do is to retard that fouling and remove it when it does occur.

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1 hour ago, Miffy said:

I meant like if you kept the entire marina/boat/structures clean and could tackle the problem in an big picture ecology way. 

Fastbottoms operates in a tidal area, lots of water exchange, so no.

In a swimming pool? Yeah, that's how it's done.

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1 minute ago, Raz'r said:

Fastbottoms operates in a tidal area, lots of water exchange, so no.

In a swimming pool? Yeah, that's how it's done.

ahnUh9.gif

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1 hour ago, fstbttms said:

100% unsure if you mean I should incessantly pester the customer or not. In any event, this guy's bottom paint is in good condition.
 

I'm not gonna lie and say there is never a situation where having pix would be helpful, but we service many hundreds of boats on a regular basis and if I had to deal with processing and editing pix of every job we did, that's ALL I would have time to do. The truth is that while a complaint like this is frustrating and indicative of a boat owner who doesn't understand the reality of the fouling progression, it happens infrequently enough that taking pix of every single boat we dive (in the off-chance that the photos might eventually end up being useful) just isn't worth the time and effort.

You don't need to photo all the boats just that guy's boat. Or ditch him, sometimes the best way to improve your business is to get rid of bad customers.

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1 minute ago, d'ranger said:

You don't need to photo all the boats just that guy's boat. Or ditch him, sometimes the best way to improve your business is to get rid of bad customers.

So I should've had my diver take pix of this particular customer's boat because I knew three months later he would bitch about the job we did?  :lol:

BTW- this guy is not a "bad customer." He's just a PITA today.

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8 minutes ago, Raz'r said:

Fastbottoms operates in a tidal area, lots of water exchange, so no.

In a swimming pool? Yeah, that's how it's done.

 

6 minutes ago, fstbttms said:

ahnUh9.gif

Ahhh I see - my apologies I was thinking a marina behind a lock or somewhere where you have high growth and stagnant water problems. 

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1 hour ago, fstbttms said:

100% unsure if you mean I should incessantly pester the customer or not. In any event, this guy's bottom paint is in good condition.

I don’t think sending out a bi-weekly reminder would be incessantly pestering. 

I’d call it keeping your customer base aware of the time between cleanings. 

 

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17 minutes ago, Sail4beer said:

I don’t think sending out a bi-weekly reminder would be incessantly pestering. 

I’d call it keeping your customer base aware of the time between cleanings. 

 

If I was a boat owner and my diver sent biweekly reminders of the same information he'd given me in my invoice, I'd consider it "pestering." In any case, I have neither the time or desire to update my 700-800 customers twice a month about their paint condition. 

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18 minutes ago, fstbttms said:

So I should've had my diver take pix of this particular customer's boat because I knew three months later he would bitch about the job we did?  :lol:

BTW- this guy is not a "bad customer." He's just a PITA today.

In that case never mind. Everybody should be able to have a bad day. The divers I know here only complain that everybody wants their done the day before the big race. Regular customers get priority.

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4 minutes ago, d'ranger said:

The divers I know here only complain that everybody wants their done the day before the big race.

Raceboats tend to be easy money. Yes they are time-critical but I will never complain about that.

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2 hours ago, fstbttms said:

if I had to deal with processing and editing pix of every job we did, that's ALL I would have time to do.

 

27 minutes ago, fstbttms said:

I have neither the time or desire to update my 700-800 customers twice a month

 

It sounds like maybe you could use some tech help? For the record, I'm not saying biweekly emails would be useful - it actually seems insanely annoying! - or that you should be taking pictures. But neither one is some feat of technological wizardry.

After all, Amazon texts me a 'delivery evidence' photo of every single package I order (times a few hundred packages per customer, per driver, per day), and my (independently owned) mechanic has figured out how to use MailChimp (or something) to send me a reminder email when I'm due for an oil change....

Biweekly would be insane but actually an automated email two months after their last cleaning might not be a bad idea...

"Hi customer, it's been two months, and by now the very first seeds of hard growth have taken root, and tiny barnacles are sprouting on your beautiful boat...."

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3 minutes ago, Breamerly said:

"Hi customer, it's been two months, and by now the very first seeds of hard growth have taken root, and tiny barnacles are sprouting on your beautiful boat...."

I hear ya, but most of my clients are on regular cleaning schedules already and get a condition report with every invoice. Those that are not also get a condition report with whatever invoices they are sent but to provide periodic condition updates to these customers would require an un-requested (and therefore free) in-water inspection. Not going to happen.

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56 minutes ago, fstbttms said:

I hear ya, but most of my clients are on regular cleaning schedules already and get a condition report with every invoice. Those that are not also get a condition report with whatever invoices they are sent but to provide periodic condition updates to these customers would require an un-requested (and therefore free) in-water inspection. Not going to happen.

so for a regularly serviced non-race boat, what is the period between cleanings?  30 days?   then warranty the work for 30 days or whatever..

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11 minutes ago, Grande Mastere Dreade said:

so for a regularly serviced non-race boat, what is the period between cleanings?  30 days?   then warranty the work for 30 days or whatever..

In the Bay Area, a typical frequency of service is every 60-90 days. But I have no control over how fast a client's bottom will foul. That is 100% dependent upon the condition of their anti fouling paint and how often they have the boat serviced. I'm going to warranty a cleaning on a boat with five year old bottom paint during the height of the fouling season? I don't think so.

That said, these ridiculous "You cleaned my boat a couple of months ago and I'm already seeing grass at the waterline" calls come with the territory. Part of my job is to educate the customer about fouling conditions, paint types and longevity etc. and we will always check and make it right if the customer has a legitimate complaint (or even if they don't, in most cases.)

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fast,

I feel for ya....

i had a smallish landscape company,  and the nice thing about grass is that it grows and these always evidence they we visited the site every week.  at a fixed monthly payment for the amortized yearly cuts

but in the winter time when we went two weeks between cuttings and their amortized cutting payments were same as their in the summer time,  the occasional call would come in from the usual clients at the end of December, January,  hey I see my bill is that same in December as it was in July, even though you only came twice. 

had to dig out the contract, show the estimated cuts, and amortized price where were signed off on and agreed to, and then showed them the actual amount cuts over the life of the current contract.  

I always had a hidden PITA charge for some clients....

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The difference between that and what I do is that as a customer's anti fouling paint ages and loses effectiveness, fouling increases even though the cleaning frequency may not. Therefore the job becomes progressively more difficult. This (of course) means the labor rate eventually goes up. 

In this particular instance however, the customer's paint is in good condition overall. But (as he took pains to inform me), he has been boating in the Bay Area for 40 years and therefore knows more about my job than I do. :rolleyes:

 

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Not to defend your customer (he is a royal pain in the rear, for sure) but the waters seem to have been a bit warmer this year and I have noticed a bit more growth than usual, especially considering I have a new bottom. 

Bottom maintenance is ongoing and many neglect it. It is like replacing your sewer line: you spent a ton of money and everything still seems the same, even while it isn't.

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4 hours ago, fstbttms said:

...when a customer tells you eleven weeks after his previous service that he can see growth on his keel and that he thinks you skipped cleaning it last time. 

d3JifE.jpg

:lol:

You have to remind them that it is SUMMER. Sunshine = Growth and Global Warming makes the water warm too.

 

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13 hours ago, fstbttms said:

...when a customer tells you eleven weeks after his previous service that he can see growth on his keel and that he thinks you skipped cleaning it last time. 

d3JifE.jpg

:lol:

I saw the other side of this a few years ago.

The 2 owners were delivering the neglected boat I had just bought from them - because of the condition of the boat I made the delivery to my local yard a condition of the sale.

They hired a diver to clean the bottom beforehand because it had been on a mooring for an extended period.

When it was hauled there were big clumps of mussels all over from about 2' down - it was pretty evident that the diver only cleaned the area near the surface - the water is very murky around here so no way to see the keel or the bottom of the rudder etc.

"That's why she seemed kind of sluggish" said one of the owners. I think a refund was in the cards.

 

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I had a unique experience this week which I believe is relevant to the OP:

A guy told me he was buying a boat and the owner told him it’s last bottom job was done 11 years ago at my shop and that my invoice included some comments about issues I believed should have been addressed in the very near future . ( 11 years ago) 

It took me a while to find the invoice because the work was actually done in 2012.

The  invoice Had a whole page describing things like loose leaking fittings, a sagging mast step, severely eroded teak rails, shredding halyards, questionable hoses, and a boom cover and roller furler Protective leech canvas That needed re-stitching.

     An honest guy selling a boat .... how utterly refreshing 

 

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19 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

... it was pretty evident that the diver only cleaned the area near the surface - the water is very murky around here so no way to see the keel or the bottom of the rudder etc.

"That's why she seemed kind of sluggish" said one of the owners. I think a refund was in the cards.

 

Anybody who has spent any time in the boat maintenance biz knows that the industry is chock full of flakes. Not the case in this particular instance.

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This thread needs music.

 

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^
This.

Who really cares about your bitchy customer or your problems. Just another thread you start about yourself and then question the validity of any of the suggestions offered. 
 

Perhaps you can keep it between you and your cash cow, money man.

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Not the best video I've ever shot but I sent it to the boat owner and (after viewing it) he was contrite and asked to be bumped up to a 2-month cleaning frequency. So fuck the haters! T8UxvM.png

 

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Same boat? 
 

If so, quit bitching, this is a sailing site for shit fights, not for bottom feeders to complain about their money making scheme.

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4 minutes ago, Sail4beer said:

Same boat? 
 

If so, quit bitching, this is a sailing site for shit fights, not for bottom feeders to complain about their money making scheme.

Yeah, it’s the same boat. And when you become the arbiter of what gets posted here, I’ll give a shit what you think about mine.

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Dive service rant - the last service I used did the boat say May 1. On May 4 the "floating" dinghy line wrapped around the prop, so over I went to unwrap it. While doing that I got some nice cuts on my back from barnacles on the rudder :angry: They don't grow THAT fast!

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7 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Dive service rant - the last service I used did the boat say May 1. On May 4 the "floating" dinghy line wrapped around the prop, so over I went to unwrap it. While doing that I got some nice cuts on my back from barnacles on the rudder :angry: They don't grow THAT fast!

Unfortunately, it's an easy business in which to be a flake and provide crappy service. My guess is that on Kent Island your dive service options are somewhat limited but if you were serious about looking elsewhere, I admin a Facebook group for hull cleaners and there are multiple divers working in the San Juans who are members. DM me if you want me to put you in touch.

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Bit of travel time from the San Juans to the Chesapeake.

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3 minutes ago, See Level said:

Bit of travel time from the San Juans to the Chesapeake.

Oh, my mistake. I thought he was on the REAL Kent Island. :lol:

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On 7/27/2020 at 10:16 PM, Gouvernail said:

 

     An honest guy selling a boat .... how utterly refreshing 

 

:lol:

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3 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

 

??? How many are there?

Well certainly one other, at least.

 

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On 7/27/2020 at 2:48 PM, fstbttms said:

In the Bay Area, a typical frequency of service is every 60-90 days. But I have no control over how fast a client's bottom will foul. That is 100% dependent upon the condition of their anti fouling paint and how often they have the boat serviced. I'm going to warranty a cleaning on a boat with five year old bottom paint during the height of the fouling season? I don't think so.

That said, these ridiculous "You cleaned my boat a couple of months ago and I'm already seeing grass at the waterline" calls come with the territory. Part of my job is to educate the customer about fouling conditions, paint types and longevity etc. and we will always check and make it right if the customer has a legitimate complaint (or even if they don't, in most cases.)

60-90? wow. if I go 30 days around here (Mid Ches Bay) I need to get it hauled and pressure washed.  when i'm actively racing, I need to get the bottom wiped down weekly from July - Sept. Barnacles set up very fast here. algae(slime) is noticeable the next day or two after a cleaning. little crawly thing start living in the speedo paddle if I leave it in overnight!!!

 

you've probably already answered this question somewhere, but what sort of bottom paints would  racing boats tpically use in SF?

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Bump-n-Grind said:

60-90? wow. if I go 30 days around here (Mid Ches Bay) I need to get it hauled and pressure washed.  when i'm actively racing, I need to get the bottom wiped down weekly from July - Sept. Barnacles set up very fast here. algae(slime) is noticeable the next day or two after a cleaning. little crawly thing start living in the speedo paddle if I leave it in overnight!!!

Fouling rates vary widely from region to region. 

 

22 minutes ago, Bump-n-Grind said:

you've probably already answered this question somewhere, but what sort of bottom paints would  racing boats tpically use in SF?

Micron 66 is an effective and popular choice for racers. Baltoplate (unfortunately) still sees some use here too.

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2 minutes ago, fstbttms said:

Fouling rates vary widely from region to region. 

Apparently!!!!

 

Micron 66 is an effective and popular choice for racers. Baltoplate (unfortunately) still sees some use here too.

thanks

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18 minutes ago, markwbird said:

11 weeks?

Yes, he was on a 3-month schedule (now a 2-month schedule) and 11 weeks in during the middle of summer decided that the growth he could see from the dock meant that his boat had been improperly cleaned almost three moths previous.

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7 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

One year I had baby barnacles 3 weeks after launch with fresh bottom paint :o

Well if this guy had come to me complaining of heavy heavy growth on his keel three weeks after the boat had been cleaned, he'd have a valid issue. But this was three months after the boat had been cleaned. That's the whole point.

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Ignorant question. Does the frequency of boat use have any impact on fouling rates? 

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13 minutes ago, B dock said:

Ignorant question. Does the frequency of boat use have any impact on fouling rates? 

Using the boat a lot doesn't hurt for sure but the reality is that nobody uses their boat so much that it has a significant impact on fouling.

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On 7/29/2020 at 10:22 AM, fstbttms said:

it's an easy business in which to be a flake and provide crappy service.

When I was younger and cleaned bottoms weekly here on the East coast, it was too easy to do a proper job with no dive gear and a couple of rags and maybe a scraper. Shallow depth and not much tide, mostly barnacles and slime. Recently(last ten years or so) reef like coral growth. 
 

Out there, it’s more labor intensive even if less frequent and the water temp makes it less intense for accumulation. 

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Plus, I dove our boat every morning before a race and every morning during a regional or national regatta regardless of fresh or saltwater. Didn’t clean my wooden cutter all season last year to see what would grow on cuprous oxide ablative and barnacles don’t mind it at all. At 26,000lbs And 46’, I would still pull 10 knots on a reach. A clean hull would have done 11...maybe. 

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My typical customer returns about every seven years fir fresh antifoulant 

With  zebra mussels the frequency may increase. 
 

On the other hand, our lake is a puddle and sailing here  is nothing like even a decent sized bay. 
 

but it sure heats not sailing 

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On 7/27/2020 at 9:14 AM, fstbttms said:

I'm not gonna lie and say there is never a situation where having pix would be helpful, but we service many hundreds of boats on a regular basis and if I had to deal with processing and editing pix of every job we did, that's ALL I would have time to do.

Many of the divers in Seattle post a 2-3 minute private video on YouTube showing the results after each dive.  Swim down starboard and show the hull, then back along port, with stops at the keel, speed transducer, rudder and prop. No edits, nothing fancy.  It might cost them 5 extra minutes (3 of which are shooting the video).

As a customer it makes me feel a little better, and I don’t have to guess on zinc condition.  For them it would eliminate any disputes about what was done.

Here is a recent example from my boat: 

 

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23 minutes ago, Alex W said:

Many of the divers in Seattle post a 2-3 minute private video on YouTube showing the results after each dive.  Swim down starboard and show the hull, then back along port, with stops at the keel, speed transducer, rudder and prop. No edits, nothing fancy.  It might cost them 5 extra minutes (3 of which are shooting the video).

As a customer it makes me feel a little better, and I don’t have to guess on zinc condition.  For them it would eliminate any disputes about what was done.

Here is a recent example from my boat: 

 

If you think creating and uploading customer-usable videos to YouTube  is merely a 3-5 minute process, then you have never done it. And again, we have 700-800 clients being cleaned on 1, 2 or 3 month schedules and I don't have an office staff to do this kind of stuff. While we happily do provide pix or video on request, I simply do not have the desire or capability to produce several thousand short videos every year.


 

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5 hours ago, Alex W said:

Many of the divers in Seattle post a 2-3 minute private video on YouTube showing the results after each dive.  Swim down starboard and show the hull, then back along port, with stops at the keel, speed transducer, rudder and prop. No edits, nothing fancy.  It might cost them 5 extra minutes (3 of which are shooting the video).

As a customer it makes me feel a little better, and I don’t have to guess on zinc condition.  For them it would eliminate any disputes about what was done.

Here is a recent example from my boat: 

 

is it me or is the clearance between the propeller tip and the hull bottom kinda tight?

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On 8/1/2020 at 2:32 PM, fstbttms said:

Using the boat a lot doesn't hurt for sure but the reality is that nobody uses their boat so much that it has a significant impact on fouling.

How about powerboats? Do you see any difference in growths with use patterns?

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7 minutes ago, woodpecker said:

How about powerboats? Do you see any difference in growths with use patterns?

Again, most powerboats don’t get enough use to make a difference but those that do get a lot of use and can achieve a decent speed can keep fouling at a minimum. I once had a client with a 45-foot sport fisher painted with Micron 66. He used it a lot and it rarely got dirty enough to where it truly needed cleaning. But where I am, boats like that are few and far in between.

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2 hours ago, Trovão said:

is it me or is the clearance between the propeller tip and the hull bottom kinda tight?

Go-Pro cameras add a lot of distortion. Here is the same boat out of the water, though the prop isn’t facing up-down.  I think it’s fine?

 

DF575F3E-F535-424A-B3F8-72EAEC49BDA0.jpeg

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32 minutes ago, Alex W said:

Go-Pro cameras add a lot of distortion. Here is the same boat out of the water, though the prop isn’t facing up-down.  I think it’s fine?

 

DF575F3E-F535-424A-B3F8-72EAEC49BDA0.jpeg

true about the distortion caused by the so-called "fish-eye" lenses. the gap is more than fine, definately. thanks.

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