Polyurea Coatings are coming into wider use across many industries and the marine industry is no exception. Polyurea and the shipping industry go extremely well together. Above and below the waterline, these coatings can be very effective in protecting steel, aluminum, and fiberglass. Polyurea is excellent at providing protection from the elements and anything that qualifies as maritime, offshore, or nautic can be protected by these coatings. Because seawater contains a significant concentration of dissolved salts and is very corrosive to steel, infrastructure and assets in or near marine conditions are particularly susceptible to corrosion. Efforts to mitigate corrosion in marine conditions persist as industries develop and implement solutions to prevent asset degradation.

The shipping industry is one that continuously faces corrosion challenges stemming from marine environments, specifically seawater. The worldwide fleet is all vulnerable to corrosion-related degradation of cargo tanks, ballast tanks, decks, and hulls, which can lead to higher maintenance costs, reduced service life, and potential failures.

What kind of corrosion issues can be found in tankers?

The prevalent types of corrosion that we see in chemical tankers include uniform corrosion pitting corrosion and crevice corrosion as well as galvanic corrosion and microbiologically influenced corrosion. There is every kind of corrosion on board a vessel that you'd find in the city. Anything you can imagine that would corrode in the city can corrode on board a ship--just considerably faster and vastly worse. 

No other industry deals with the same group of factors that the shipping and maritime industries do—extreme temperature changes, expansion, and contraction of materials, moisture problems, saltwater corrosion, water pressures and many many more factors. As a result, these industries set high standards for paint and coating systems. Polyurea can be applied to increase the longevity and reduce the maintenance required of decks, hulls, ballast tanks, filling floats, freezing and cooling rooms, water tanks, holding tanks, fish hold liners, bilge liners, etc.

Why Use Polyurea in the Marine Industry

Polyurea is an incredibly versatile and durable protective coating that can be utilized for a number of applications across a variety of industries. If you’re looking for an extremely long-lasting waterproof and protective solution, then polyurea coatings are a suitable choice. These ultra-high-strength, elastomeric coatings surpass other coatings that have been traditionally used such as polyurethanes, epoxies, and other hybrid products. Here are a few reasons why polyurea is so widely used in the marine industry.

Protection Of Interior Compartments

Ships transport a lot of goods such as grains, aggregates, liquids, and even military and marine equipment. These items must be protected from the elements, most notably water, at all costs to maintain their freshness and prevent them from sustaining damages.

Polyurea can be used to protect the hull of the boat where these items are stored from exposure to external elements and water leaks. It will also protect the containment area from abrasive goods such as aggregates. Polyurea makes it easier to keep the hulls clean and free of contaminants that can spoil goods during the transportation process.

Protection Of Body from Corrosion and Damage

No other part of the boat gets more direct water exposure than the external body and therefore, it needs the most protection. In addition to water, the exterior of the boat also comes into contact with strong winds, large and small projectile objects, and even rogue birds and other animals.

There are areas on boats where, during normal fishing and offload activities, a standard coating would be destroyed by the repeated impact of hard, heavy objects. Once the coating is destroyed, it is hard to stop rust from spreading. Additionally, polyureas provide a chemical-resistant lining for storage tanks, pipes, and cargo areas. Polyurea coatings will last for years without failure, preventing rust and corrosion that can damage the exterior and interior of a water vessel.

Quick Turn Around Time

Polyurea coatings are perfect for marine applications for many reasons, one of them being the demandfor fast job turnaround in dry dock to keep repairs and upgrades on schedule. Polyurea’s fast cure times play a big role here and polyurea will hold up where other systems will fail.

The fact that polyurea coatings are not sensitive to humidity and moisture during curing means they can be applied within a wider window of weather conditions and temperatures than other coating options. Polyureas also are an excellent choice when fast curing applications are applied in high humidity or low temperature conditions and where high film build and extreme abrasion resistance are required.

Protects Against UV Damage

Many water vessels log countless hours at open sea and that typically means a lot of exposure to UV rays from the sun. Damage from UV rays can strip away the exterior paint, exposing the mechanisms and materials beneath the surface to potential corrosion and rust. Aliphatic versions of polyurea coatings are UV stable and provide a cost-effective solution to preventing UV damages by forming a strong, cohesive, and impenetrable barrier.

Decreases Maintenance Frequency

The more precautions you take to protect your vessel against water damage, the longer it can go without necessary maintenance such as part replacements and repairs. Boat maintenance can be extremely expensive, and the frequency depends on how many hours the vessel spends on the water. As a general rule of thumb, boats should be serviced after every 100-hour interval to guarantee optimal performance and that all safety standards are up to date.

Polyurea protective coatings for boats and ships can help keep maintenance requirements to a minimum by limiting direct exposure to damaging elements.

Reduces Environmental Impact

Unlike other waterproof protective coatings such as polystyrene foam that’s typically used to safeguard marine vessels, polyurea is completely eco-friendly. Designed with marine life and other environmental elements in mind, polyurea is a sustainable coating that doesn’t release harmful gasses such as CO2 into the environment during its production. Polyurea can be constructed to be climate-neutral through the use of raw materials and renewable energies. Marine life and species that come into contact with watercraft that are sprayed with polyurea coatings won’t be disrupted or harmed by its existence.

Increases Value of Water Vessel 

Maritime customs dictate that vessels should be named in succession of one another. Modern ships are typically named after older vessels that have been retired, which is why you’ll see multiple generations of ships with the same name passed down.

The average lifespan of a watercraft that’s well cared for and maintained is about 25-30 years before it’s relinquished for scrap metal. Ships are commonly built with welded steel and their plans include all of the modern fixtures required to perform detailed tasks. Proper maintenance and polyurea applications can help maintain and prolong the lifespan of a maritime ship.

Protects Equipment from the Elements

Ships contain equipment such as large cranes, floating docks, navigation devices, and more. All of these pieces of equipment will inevitably be exposed to seawater at some point during the journey. External components of the boat that are made of metal can develop rust and corrosion over time. Polyurea protective coatings prevent this from happening.

Where to Get Polyurea

ArmorThane's polyurea products can be used for a wide range of marine applications to protect onshore and offshore infrastructure, vessels, and equipment. We provide state-of-the-art protective waterproofing solutions that are guaranteed to increase the efficiency, functionality, safety standards, and lifespan of whatever they coat. Contact us today to learn more about our line of products and how you can become an applicator.