Severn Marine Technologies, founded by Hank Lobe, are the developers of the ClearSignal permanent biofouling protection for marine equipment. RS Aqua are a representative of this protect and are the EU application centre for ClearSignal – a passive, non-toxic polymer providing a foul release coating.

ClearSignal is a multi-layer, silicon-based coating which acts as a biofouling inhibitor and is acoustically invisible, resulting in no impact to the performance of ADCP’s and other acoustic equipment.

The advanced material technologies used to achieve non-stick properties and performance enables this coating to protect an instrument for a lifetime, remaining 100% effective with no diminishing performance.

This product was designed for offshore seismic exploration, therefore it is robust and withstanding of harsh offshore environments – it has since been adapted for a larger oceanographic community. ClearSignal is non-toxic, safe for all environments, and results in a significantly reduced service times due to much reduced biofouling and improved ease of cleaning.

A short test was ran throughout the summer of 2019 by RS Aqua to highlight the beneficial properties of ClearSignal application. The aim was to demonstrate a vast difference in cleaning time between two Vemco fish tracking receivers (VR2Ws) – one with the coating applied and one without.

The receivers were deployed between 25th July and the 21st October in a marine environment, inclusive of warm water temperatures to ensure ideal parameters for biofoul accumulation.

After the trial, the receivers were inspected and several marine organisms were observed such as copepods, benthic worms, bryozoans and golden star tunicate.

After initial inspection of the receivers, the instrument coated with ClearSignal was visually less covered in biofoul than the uncoated.

Regarding cleaning time, the uncoated receiver took 8 minutes and 26 seconds to clean, whilst requiring heavy duty scrapers to remove barnacles. This is a direct contrast to the mere 1 minute and 49 seconds and no need for heavy duty cleaning on the coated receiver!

This short test indicated the benefits of coating the equipment with ClearSignal, improving the ease of use and reducing the downtime between deployments. This product is advantageous in any long-term deployment ofequipment and could even improve data collection – a result of minimal biofouling interference.