Using Abrasive Blasting to Prepare for a Marine Coating

Australian Enviroblast specialises in protective coatings for all types of marine vessels and structures. Our long experience and the wide variety of marine abrasive blasting and coating work that we have undertaken across Australia means that we understand the importance of getting a marine coating right, and that the key to providing long-lasting protection is effective surface preparation along with the proper application of the right type of coating.

The importance of marine coatings

Ships and boats of all sizes face a number of unique challenges over the course of their working lives, not least of which is the demanding environment in which they are required to operate. Corrosion and fouling pose an ongoing risk to the structural integrity of all types of marine vessels and infrastructure, and protecting against these and other forms of degradation is a constant challenge.

Marine coatings are required to safeguard vessels and marine infrastructure like offshore platforms and wharves against a variety of corrosion risks, brought about by the extremes in temperatures in which they operate, as well as other environmental factors such as humidity and the high degree of salt spray and chloride in the air.

At the same time, a marine coating on ships and boats also needs to help minimise drag and fouling, while the coating also needs to be resilient and long-lasting, as most working vessels have a very limited amount of time that they can spend ashore and during which maintenance and repairs can be carried out.

All of these factors combined not only emphasise the importance of marine coatings, but also how crucial it is that their application is done in the most effective and timely way.

Surface preparation for marine coatings with wet abrasive blasting

Effective surface preparation prior to the application of a protective coating is even more important in a marine environment than just about anywhere else. A marine coating is constantly being put to the test and its success or otherwise has a huge impact on the operational effectiveness of both vessels and infrastructure.

Wet abrasive blasting (also known as vapour blasting, dustless blasting or simply wet blasting) is the key to the effective preparation of all types of surfaces. Wet abrasive blasting is ideally suited to use in the marine environment because it is able to remove rust and blisters, as well as old marine coatings, spot blasting and feathering edges of existing coatings from ships, boats and infrastructure, while at the same time washing and creating a surface profile of surfaces more than conventional sandblasting methods.

In order for a marine coating to be effective, the surface needs to be prepared in such a way that the coating is able to adhere properly. As well as removing contaminants from the body of the vessel like oil, grease, algae and barnacles, dustless blasting is also highly effective in creating the right profile on metal, steel and other surfaces for the type of marine coating that is to be applied.

When you use wet abrasive blasting to blast a surface, the blast media is encased in water so there is no risk of contaminants or the media itself becoming embedded in the substrate, and this means there is nothing left on the surface that may compromise the integrity of the marine coating.

Another significant advantage of using wet blasting to prepare a surface for a marine coating is that it is a flexible system that can create the precise profile specifications required, depending on the type of coating that is to be applied. A variety of different blast media can be used in our Quill Falcon dustless blasting machines, and this means that the precise anchor profile can be achieved, while potential problems like pinpoint rusting can be avoided.

Furthermore, flash rusting can be an issue when blasting metal and steel surfaces prior to applying a marine coating, particularly in environments where there is a high likelihood of salt deposits forming on newly blasted surfaces. With wet abrasive blasting, however, the water used to encase the blast media dissolves any soluble salts on the substrate and flushes them away, minimising the chances of flash rusting occurring.

Contact Australian Enviroblast for marine coatings

Australian Enviroblast undertakes marine coating for all types of ships, boats and marine vessels, as well as onshore and offshore infrastructure. We use Quill Falcon dustless blasting machines because they are unrivalled when it comes to surface preparation, and the combination of high pressure blasting that can be used with a variety of water-encased media makes it ideal for use in marine environments.

To find out more, contact AEB on 0458 455 668, email us, or call in and see us at our blast workshop Wingfield.

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