There are increasing concerns surrounding crew who lack the necessary understanding of superyacht coatings: not only how to maintain and clean them, but also a lack of awareness as to the damage they are doing to these coatings every single day. To provide crew with a better understanding of the problems and the solutions The Crew Report spoke to coatings consultants Pinmar and Wrede Consulting.

“We find all sorts of damage on the exterior coatings. A lot of things are unavailable like day-to-day wear and tear and small damages from equipment, but then you have things like staining from sun tan lotions and deck acid burn,” explained Remy Millott, managing director of Pinmar’s refinishing division.

The more common damage we see, explained Millott, is result of the use of abrasive or concentrated products used on the coatings to remove staining or exhaust contamination. And as boats are not repainted as regularly as in the past, the result is the need to use more drastic measures on the part of the crew, explained Millott.

A crewmember washes superyacht Midnight. Credit: Stuart Pearce

Kay-Johannes Wrede, director of Wrede Consulting, highlighted the corners and edges of vessels as particularly problematic areas due to their being overly stressed as a result of cleaning or hose pipes. “We come across superyachts that have no more paint at all in some places,” said Wrede.

Scratches as a result of unsuitable cleaning agents and too-hard brushes are a frequent occurrence and are particularly noticeable on dark areas of the yacht, said Wrede. “The sand lying on the surface is moved back and forth with the cleaning equipment,” he added. “Polishing is also performed with abrasive substances. The thin layer of clear lacquer protecting the layer with various paint pigments is thereby destroyed. And once the pigments are free, they soil faster, and with metallic paint the pigments begin to corrode and the colour of the coating alters.”

We then put the question to the two consultants as to whether today’s crew have a sufficient understanding of these problems. Wrede noted that the management crew are often well informed, but all it takes is one person, he said. “There has to be only one member of the crew who happens to clean the ship incorrectly every week. That person can ruin the entire vessel over time. The worst crewmember thus sets the standard for the entire cleaning quality.”

"Painting a yacht is one of the largest expenditures in a yacht’s budget. I do not think enough emphasis is placed upon paint care." - Remy Millott

Taking a financial view on the matter, Millot declared: “As painting a yacht is one of the largest expenditures in a yacht’s budget then no, I do not think enough emphasis is placed upon paint care. We hold twice annually the Pinmar Paint Academy which is a non-profit training school for yacht crew to learn more about the exterior coatings and a big part of the course covers care and maintenance. We are surprise that more people do not take advantage of this course when considering the importance of this subject.”

Wrede Consulting also offers training courses and believes the training of crew is the best way to solve the above-mentioned problems. “The crewmembers should be well trained and corresponding to their deployment attending training sessions, as this also increases their market value,” said Wrede. “The management crew must also be trained and inspect the work. Proper cleaning is a highly qualified activity, the value of which is greatly underestimated. It cannot be left tot a deckhand who has just been told what to do. The risky aspect is that damage frequently becomes noticeable only after some time – and then in most cases it cannot be rectified.”

And the final advice from Millott? “Once a boat has been repainted it is very important to ask the paint contractor when and how to wash and care for the new paint, and it’s very important for the paint contractor to explain the basics of what type of products should and should not be used.”

Kay-Johannes Wrede talks about damage to coatings in issue 141 of
The Superyacht Report in 'Let's talk about the cracks'. To subscribe to The Superyacht Report please click here.