UK based Silicon Products (SP) Marine has launched a new and innovative means of keeping a boat clean which it says provides a completely new alternative to anti-fouling paint.

Called the Bio Dock, the product apparently eliminates the need for any antifouling paints which can cause harm to individual health and the environment.

Adrian Hudd of SP Marine told Maritime Journal: “Bio Dock saves users both time and effort as well as cost, having been extensively tested over the last three years with exceptional results.”

The main feature of the product is an under-hull membrane that creates a micro environment around the hull and catches any rain water which changes the pH content of the water. This together with the lack of light kills any marine growth.

The membrane is intentionally buoyant and hugs the hull, any rocking movement causes the hull to be continuously "wiped" of growth. This helps to improve performance and for motor boats, fuel economy.

Mr Hudd said: “This hull wiping helps with already dirty hulls but if used on a clean boat, nothing grows. The cover doesn’t weed up, meaning that what is on the outside is not on the inside.”

“I find that after two to three months there are signs of fouling but the cover is reversible so in effect the Bio Dock cleans itself. Once in the water, the Bio Dock can be taken off and on and reversed very easily. There is no need to lift the cover out off the water on any regular basis.”

Although the cover has not been fitted to a planing hull, it has been used on a clinker hull and tests on this and a near bolted on keel have shown that there is no growth or slime.

Mr Hudd added that the cover will have a universal appeal. “The Bio Dock, which relies upon nature to reduce the use of antifouling paints, is lightweight and does not require a tailored fit and so can be easily shipped anywhere in the world.”

Bio Dock is being manufactured by the UK’s C&J Marine which has also been appointed as the sole producer and supplier for the product.

Wayne Strickland, managing director, C&J Marine, added that the company is excited to manufacture and supply such a unique product.

“It is not often that such a simple environmentally-friendly product can reduce costs and outperform the antifouling paints that it was designed to replace.This product will not only help in reducing pollution around the coast, it improves performance and reduces fuel costs for all boat owners, racing and cruising alike,” he said.

By Anne-Marie Causer