do mega-yachts use diff (better) paint on steel than navies?

Discussion in 'Materials' started by Squidly-Diddly, Apr 30, 2022.

  1. Squidly-Diddly
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    IIRC at least some big power yachts are steel, at least hulls, and I've never seen spec of rust on any of them, and most are blazing white so it would show up real good.

    In contrast, even big money navy ships most expensive new ships seem to grow rust, and fast. I guess maybe navy ship is doing lots of stupid stuff that has heavy metal scraping on heavy metal and opening up fresh wounds on bare steel, but also seems like they have lots of extra idiots to re-paint. (ex boss was ex USN "hull technician" which was considered almost punishment duty).

    Do super yachts have patchwork paint job but I can't tell because I'm not allowed too close? I've heard white is best (non) color to patch paint. Is THAT why they are almost all white? Is that the dirty secret?
  2. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    How many are steel?
  3. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    You can get closer to a megayacht than a Navy ship. The Navy will shoot you.
  4. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    You have to consider the difference in use and paint. Yachts typically have what is called a yacht finish, very glossy, almost a mirror finish. Usually achieved with very high tech painting systems. They aren't cheap, but when you have a gazillion dollars you don't care. If it's fiberglass it's gel coat. Mega yachts and super yachts don't spend much time at sea, especially when the weather is really bad. Weather is death on paint finishes.

    Navy ships on the other hand (I'm including the Coast Guard here, and by the way the Army, they have a huge fleet of ships) , are almost always at sea in all kinds of weather, especially Coast Guard ships. You can put a brand new shipyard coat of paint on them and one storm will have them looking like they are a rust bucket. I'm speaking from experience here. I spent a lot of time painting. Almost as much as the time I spent fixing electronic gear (which also breaks down in foul weather). And the paint is different. They typically don't use high tech painting systems because of the expense. Good old red lead (primer) on steel, or blue wash on aluminum, and enamel paint. In ship yards the metal is sand blasted and paint is sprayed on, but that doesn't work well at sea so it's back to brushes and rollers. But first you have to get down to bare metal. That's what your ex boss was really complaining about, the chipping and grinding. The prep work takes far longer than the painting, but it has to be done right or in a few days or weeks it will look like sh** again. And of course no Captain wants to come back to homeport with his ship looking like it is corroding out from under them. So all E-4 and below, break out the chippers. Of course when underway it's hard to do the hull, so the ship will come in with the topsides looking spanking new and rust running down the sides of the hull.
    hoytedow and jehardiman like this.
  5. jehardiman
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    jehardiman Senior Member

    Superyachts are not underway for 18 months at a time. You can't paint the hull while underway. Navy ships do not have "lots of extra idiots to re-paint", that is the prevue of the superyacht. Superyachts spend much more, percentage wise, on maintenance than Navy ships. Many "glossy" coatings available to yachts are not suitable for military ships; indeed many spaces/fittings on are warship are not painted for obvious reasons. I could go on.

    EDIT: X-post with Ike.
  6. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    A friend \told me about the paint/coating he was using on historic cannons at a national park in a salt air environment. My recollection is the paint/coating formed a coating of micro-platelets and was expensive. The primary customer for the paint/coating was the US Navy.
  7. Ad Hoc
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    In addition to the comments above, when a super/mega yacht is being a floating gin palace in the marina, it heats up, a lot!
    These vessel don't hang around cold climes, only the warm/tropical regions.


    The temp gradient can go from at water line of 24c up to 55c on the superstructures.
    Thus, white is a more obvious choice of colour.

  8. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    I might add that the Navy ships usually are replaced after 30 years of service. Some like the LCS after 20. But Navy ships see hard service (especially during combat) sometimes spending months at sea without a port call. The Coast Guard frequently extends the life of their ships to 50 or more years. One (the Buckthorn) is 57 years old. Both ships I served on were built in the late 1930's and served in three wars. Ships don't last that long unless you take care of them and that means paint. Like an oil change on your car, it's cheap insurance. Yes most of the underway painting is done by the most junior sailors, but I have seen plenty of 3rd class(E-4) and 2nd class(E-5) petty officers wielding a chipping hammer and paint brushes. It's your ship and you have to keep it going. BTW how many superyachts have you seen breaking ice in the Arctic, Antarctic, or the Great Lakes? When you compare maintenance on warships to that on Yachts you're talking apples and oranges.
    hoytedow likes this.
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