Barnacle Wars Page 2
Part 2: In its 30 years of operation, Cathelco claims to have installed more than 7,500 systems.
By Capt. Ken Kreisler — April 2004
To accomplish this, each system applies an electrical current to a copper and aluminum anode immersed in the strainer or seachest, essentially turning the sea water into an electrolyte. Once the system is activated and a light on the control panel is illuminated, current passing through the anode produces copper ions in the water that create an environment inhospitable to the barnacles, much the same as the copper in the cuprous oxide of antifouling paints does. Instead, they are flushed out, die, and become part of the food chain at the bottom of your marina. In addition to its antifouling capabilities, Cathelco also says its systems suppress corrosion. That’s because at the same time that the copper anode is at work, an aluminum anode produces ions that coat the internal surfaces of pipes with an oxide film said to resist corrosion.
Anodes are available with integral cathodes that can be fitted to stainless steel, brass, or plastic strainers, making them suitable for any kind of pipework, save one. Soft-iron anodes are used in place of aluminum ones for cupro-nickel piping, such as that found on many large vessels.
Cathelco systems feature miniaturized components that can be easily installed, either at construction or as part of a refit. Each system can be customized to account for the vessel’s environment and maintenance schedule. Digital displays on the control panel, which can monitor up to four strainers on the Nano System and two sea chests or strainers on the Micro System, show output to the anodes.
In its 30 years of operation, Cathelco claims to have installed more than 7,500 systems aboard boats from Sunseeker, Trinity, Delta, and Christensen, to name a few, so it’s a proven technology. If you’re concerned about internal corrosion and barnacle growth on your vessel, you may want to check out a Nano or Micro system. Cathelco says pricing varies with each application but the level or protection does not.
National Marine Suppliers Phone: (954) 764-0975. www.cathelcoyachting.com.
This article originally appeared in the March 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.