Technology Transfer SSC Pacific
In-Water Hull Cleaning Sampling Device

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A device and method for measuring contaminants likely to be released during in-water hull cleanings

The U.S. Navy seeks to commercialize U.S. Patents 7,437,959 (In-water hull cleaning sampling device), and 7,444,891 (In-water hull cleaning sampling method).


Watercraft hulls are covered with chemical anti-fouling coatings to reduce biological growth on their surfaces, which increase drag and raise fuel consumption. Typical cleaning methods use abrasive materials to rub against toxic hull coatings, releasing copper, zinc, and other toxins into coastal waterways. Some environmental regulations do not allow in-water cleanings and others restrict cleanings based on types and levels of materials released during the cleaning operation. If in-water cleanings are prohibited, cleanings must be conducted in dry docks, which are expensive and not widely available. Measuring potential contamination prior to conducting in-water cleanings is necessary to determine whether the procedure meets environmental guidelines. Sampling the types and levels of contaminants prior to cleaning can reduce costs by determining if the use of expensive dry dock cleaning procedures are unnecessary. 

The Technology

SSC Pacific has developed a sampling method and device that attaches to a watercraft’s hull and creates a watertight seal. It then simulates in-water hull cleaning with variable pressure, rotation, and cleaning pad material to accurately simulate different cleaning procedures. Contaminants that are removed from the hull during simulated cleaning are contained in the device’s sample chamber for measurement and testing. This provides valuable information about amount and types of materials that would be released into waterways to determine whether the procedure meets environmental regulations.

Key Benefits

  • Ability to seal chamber and remove contaminated water sample after use to avoid releasing contaminants into water
  • Variable test pressure and cleaning pad material to accurately simulate different cleaning procedures
  • Ability to test water inside chamber and display results on external LCD or
    LED display or store data on a hard drive
  • Many power options including electric, gas, battery, and hand or foot crank
  • Development Status

  • U.S. patents issued: 7,437,959, 7,444,891
  • For more information on technology transfer, please contact us at (619) 5535118 or email
    SD 825, March 2009. SSC Pacific, San Diego, CA 921525001. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. 

    SSC Pacific
    Updated: 10/25/2011 11:10 AM EST   Published