They’re Back and They’re Worse Than Ever! What To Do About Polyestermites?

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Russ
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They’re Back and They’re Worse Than Ever! What To Do About Polyestermites?

Post by Russ » Thu Apr 01, 2021 6:24 am

They’re Back and They’re Worse Than Ever!
What To Do About Polyestermites?


Many years ago the entire boating industry and every boater learned about a then-new problem with fiberglass boats, namely osmotic blisters. A walk through a boatyard will reveal that the problem is still with us, but boatyards have learned to deal with this expensive problem. At least, a cure was found, and boat builders have developed resins and application methods that have substantially, although not completely, eliminated the problem in new boats.

And then several years ago the Environmental Protection Agency alerted boaters to a new and equally expensive problem with the gelcoat on fiberglass boats. Like the Zebra Mussels that first invaded the Great Lakes and killed off oysters and clams and completely fouled water intakes on boats, we were alerted to the problem of polyester mites. They were first noted in the Bahamas, and then a few were detected in Florida. It was assumed that they were transported to Florida by boats spending the winter in the Bahamas and then returning to Florida in the spring.

Now marine experts are reporting a resurgence of this damaging parasite. Like the Zebra Mussels, they are not native to U.S. waters, but with today’s mobile society, critters in one part of the world are easily transported to another. If the environment is hostile the transported species soon die off. The EPA has been tracking the spread of Zebra Mussels for the past several years to see just how far the infestation will spread. There is not much they can do about them at this time, but ocean scientists are still searching for a method to control them.

Nothing has been written in the boating press at this point about Polyestermites. However, this spring their infestation was noted as far north as Rhode Island. Scientists had thought that Polyestermites could not survive in the colder northern waters, but the United States Department of Environmental Protection has now issued an alert for coastal boaters. An obscure article in the Federal Register has not received much attention by the press, but you can be certain that the pages of our boating magazines will soon carry large, bold headlines about this resurgent problem for boaters.

So what the heck are Polyestermites, and what is the problem? They are small barnacle-size snail-like creatures that attach themselves to bottoms of boats, pilings and bulkheads. They seem to have an affinity for boats, however, because most are now made of fiberglass. Other than their slimy appearance, they do no damage to pilings and bulkheads. Fiberglass boats, however, are another matter. Polyestermites are not deterred by anti-fouling paints, and, in fact, they seem to thrive on them. They eat their way through bottom paint and then have gelcoat for dessert. They seem to secrete a substance that dissolves gelcoat into a paste that is then consumed. What is left are areas about the size of a dime where the gelcoat is completely gone leaving the fiberglass and resin exposed to salt water. Interestingly, Polyestermites can not survive in fresh water.

Once the gelcoat is consumed and the fiberglass and resin exposed to the water, the water begins to degrade the fiberglass resulting in expensive repair. Repair is similar to that for osmotic blisters. The gelcoat has to be taken down to the fiberglass, and several coats of special resin that these pests seem to abhor has to be applied, and the bottom then painted with anti-fouling paint. Whereas the anti-fouling paint itself still will be attacked by Polyestermites, they can not penetrate into the fiberglass. And since most of us haul our boats during winter, other than pockmarks in the paint, no further damage is done.

The Federal EPA is preparing a twenty-page booklet fully explaining Polyester mites, and the procedure for their detection and repair of their damage. It also discusses preventive measures we can take to prevent their damage. Whereas coastal waters are just now being invaded by Polyestermites, it is something with which we boaters will have to deal. The EPA says this booklet will be placed on its website, but that probably will not occur until this summer. In the meantime, we can obtain copies from the EPA in Washington.
--Russ

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Starscream
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Re: They’re Back and They’re Worse Than Ever! What To Do About Polyestermites?

Post by Starscream » Thu Apr 01, 2021 6:31 am

Holy %#!#

Man, I just read that info and decided that there was nothing I could do but sell my 26X so that I would not contribute to the problem. I put it on Craigslist this morning at a huge discount, and someone just came by to pick it up!

Whew. I feel better now.

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Brian
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Re: They’re Back and They’re Worse Than Ever! What To Do About Polyestermites?

Post by Brian » Thu Apr 01, 2021 7:48 am

Invasive species have become a real problem. We have a Chupacabra infestation here in Central Texas.
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Re: They’re Back and They’re Worse Than Ever! What To Do About Polyestermites?

Post by C Buchs » Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:00 am

I read the whole thing, all the time thinking how glad I am that I'm in freshwater. Then I scrolled up to see if this was something old that someone had replied to. When I saw the date :)

Jeff

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Re: They’re Back and They’re Worse Than Ever! What To Do About Polyestermites?

Post by NiceAft » Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:34 am

Today is April Fools Day isn't it :?: :)
Ray ~~_/)~~

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Russ
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Re: They’re Back and They’re Worse Than Ever! What To Do About Polyestermites?

Post by Russ » Thu Apr 01, 2021 11:00 am

Starscream wrote:
Thu Apr 01, 2021 6:31 am
Holy %#!#

Man, I just read that info and decided that there was nothing I could do but sell my 26X so that I would not contribute to the problem. I put it on Craigslist this morning at a huge discount, and someone just came by to pick it up!

Whew. I feel better now.
LOL. I hope you didn't warn them of the polyester mite problem.
--Russ

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Re: They’re Back and They’re Worse Than Ever! What To Do About Polyestermites?

Post by Sea Shadow » Fri Apr 02, 2021 5:11 pm

NiceAft wrote:
Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:34 am
Today is April Fools Day isn't it :?: :)
What is the rule for April Fools joke. Doesn't the prank reverse if done after midday? In my part of the world the prank was posted on 2 April so the prank is on the poster (from my position). 8)
:macm: Extraordinary times expose (extra)ordinary people.

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Re: They’re Back and They’re Worse Than Ever! What To Do About Polyestermites?

Post by NiceAft » Fri Apr 02, 2021 5:20 pm

Take that up with the boss; he posted it. :evil:
Ray ~~_/)~~

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Re: They’re Back and They’re Worse Than Ever! What To Do About Polyestermites?

Post by OverEasy » Fri Apr 02, 2021 9:47 pm

:D :D :D :D :D
🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪

That waS GREAT!

8) 8)

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