Ask anyone involved in the medical industry how to ensure surgical tools are properly cleaned and they will tell you, ultrasonic cleaning. Ask anyone involved in classic vehicles how to clean a carburetor and they will tell you, ultrasonic cleaning. In fact, for everything from fine jewellery through to heavy industrial applications ultrasonic cleaning is a globally adopted and well proven technique.

However, the marine sector has been far more reluctant to make use of this technology. Mention ultra-sonic cleaning to any group of boat owners and you will likely get everything from die-hard converts singing its praises to naysayers telling you it’s all “snake oil”.

So; what are the facts? does it work? is it dangerous and is it cost effective? We spoke to the experts at Aquamare Marine who have been installing and maintaining Electronic Bottom Paint (EBP) systems throughout the world for over a decade now to help us find out.

The Myths

To start with we trawled the forums and asked Mike Sommerfeld, Aquamare Director, to respond to some of the most common myths and mis-conceptions:

Myth 1. There’s no science supporting it, it really is salesman selling you snake oil.

Mike says “We hear this a lot; the reality is searching online for studies of ultrasound on controlling algae will bring up countless scientific studies which all conclude that ultrasonic signals can and do stop the localised growth of algae and microorganisms. The bottom line is we are passionate about boats and we wouldn’t sell it if it didn’t work.”

Myths 2 &3. You have to be careful as an EBP system can electrocute you and anyway how can the same sound waves used to knock barnacles off also knock mussels off?

We’ve grouped these two together as they both come from a misunderstanding of the technology involved. Mike explains “Firstly there is no risk of electrocution the system uses ultrasonic sound waves the same as you would find used in hospitals for pregnancy sonograms, so they are perfectly safe.“

For more information on our EBP products click here.