Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Removing Stickiness from Vinyl and Rubber

John Wright asked:
The rubber around my rear view mirror and the vinyl on a side panel along the driver’s seat have become sticky. I assume it is some kind of UV breakdown. The boat is a 2000 Ski Nautique. Will one of your products, perhaps speed clean, remove the stickiness?


Once vinyl and rubber becomes sticky it’s usually a sign that the damage is irreparable, however if the materials are not too badly damaged, Speed Clean may remove the sticky surface. It’s worth a try before you replace these items, but no guarantees. If it works, you have saved yourself the expense of replacing these items. If you do get it off, be sure to protect the surfaces with Vinyl Guard to reduce the chance of reoccurrence. Vinyl Guard will restore some of the lost plasticizers which will help protect the vinyl and rubber.

From your description it sounds like something was applied to the surface which caused a migration of the plasticizers out of the material which in turn led to degradation from UV rays from the sun. Some of the causes of this type of damage are using the wrong cleaners or protectors, suntan oil and insect repellents. If the driver used sun blocker or suntan oil on his arm and rubbed it on the vinyl, this would explain why the side panel was damaged. In future clean the vinyl with Boat Clean Plus and apply several coats of Vinyl Guard to all of the vinyl and rubber to prevent this from happening again. Vinyl Guard is different than other protectors. It uses new polymer technology instead of solvents. It’s not greasy or slippery and will protect against suntan oil and sun blocker damage as well as UV, food and beverage spills etc.

Thanks for your question,

Captain Aurora

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Protecting Boat Bottom in Brackish Water

Simon Williams asked:

Can VS721 be used to protect an unpainted fiberglass boat bottom that I plan to store in brackish water for the summer season? I'm trying to avoid bottom painting my Mastercraft ski boat. It's stored approximately 5 miles up a river inland from the southern NJ shore.


Boat owners have had mixed results with VS721 in your part of the country. Brackish water will still support algae and barnacles so these can attach to boat bottoms and in some cases stain the gelcoat as well. VS721 will keep your bottom clean if you use your boat on a regular basis or if you wipe the slime off as it begins to appear. In this instance, bacterial slime is at the bottom of the food chain so if you can keep it off you will not be providing a host for algae and barnacles.

If you plan to leave your boat stationary in the slip for weeks at a time or if you allow slime to accumulate, growth will eventually attach. The benefit of VS721 is that it will seal the pores in the gelcoat against osmosis blisters and make marine growth much more difficult to attach and easier to remove. Even toxic bottom paint has limited effect at stopping growth on stationary boats in your area.

Those are your options. The reality is that as boat owners realize the damage they are causing to the environment, by polluting the water with bottom paints that leach heavy metals and neurotoxins into the water, they will seek alternatives before it’s too late and we completely destroy our planet. The oil leak catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico is a stark reminder of what can happen when we try to take shortcuts and things go horribly wrong. Environment friendly alternatives, in some cases, will require more maintenance on our part. VS721 is one of those alternatives. The heavier the natural growth in an area, the more maintenance will be required.

If you can wipe the bottom from time to time, I would recommend using VS721 on your boat. If not, you can use bottom paint for the short term but understand that in the near future, it may be banned as it already is in parts of Europe and California.

Thanks for you question

Captain Aurora