The subject of antifouling has been a bone of contention for many years. Synthetic solutions invariably have to be toxic to be effective, and the traditional application of copper to a vessel’s underside is known to be harmful to the environment. As for sonic devices, these are yet to be clearly understood in terms of their true impact on wildlife and the environment.
But the good news is that there is now another alternative being brought to market, which, though similar in thinking to the principles of a floating drive-on/drive-off dock, is actually different again. Indeed, what the UK company Happy Hull are proposing is a clever mechanical system that wraps itself around a hull’s wetted surface area. This non-invasive mooring system pushes against the hull so effectively and thoroughly that it has the effect of starving the barnacles and other marine organisms of the oxygen they need to proliferate.
While the basic premise of the product’s ‘patent pending’ custom design is relatively simple, i.e. comprehensively surrounding the boat’s hull to prevent oxygenated water from allowing marine growth to occur on the hull’s surface, the tricky part is achieving this while ensuring user-friendly attributes, minimal maintenance and a system strong enough to withstand the corrosive effects of seawater and the outdoor environment. But with all pre-production tests and evaluations having now been completed, Happy Hull say they are fully confident that they’ve achieved all their design and manufacturing aims.
An additional benefit of the product is that it acts as a mooring aid, guiding the boat into its dock in a calm, measured fashion even in strong crosswinds. Entering down a channel of water created by Happy Hull’s all-important wrap-around cover component, once at rest, the rear of the cover is lifted, thereby effectively sealing the boat off from seawater. The water is then drained from the cover and the boat becomes effectively ‘dry-docked’. The whole operation apparently only takes a few minutes.
To complement the wrap-around dry dock, Happy Hull have also developed a stand-alone auto-pump system that drains the docking system’s covers of any sea or rainwater that may have collected. Both products employ heavy-duty, high-quality materials that are resistant to both UV light and damaging chemicals. All components are fully recyclable too and come with an expected lifespan of at least 20 years.
‘Responsible boating’ is very much the driving force behind Happy Hull’s product initiatives. This is underscored by a desire to help boat owners reduce not only their maintenance costs but also their fuel costs. After all, a clean hull reduces drag and enhances a boat’s overall performance. Most importantly, the Happy Hull system helps to alleviate the need for traditional antifouling products that pollute our precious waters.
Happy Hull will accommodate craft from jet skis to 40ft+ boats. Prices start at £1,875 (plus VAT).
For further information see www.happyhull.co.uk