[FAQ] Why A Ship’s Bottom Is Often Painted Red?


If you go through the pictures of ships, or if you are lucky enough to see one, you might’ve noticed that most of them are painted red below the waterline. But do you know the reason? Let’s find out then

The reason 

The reason is tradition. And worms.

Early sailing ships protected themselves against barnacles and wood-eating worms by covering their hulls in a copper or copper oxide paint that acted as a biocide. 

The copper gave the paint a red tint. By reducing the muck that naturally collects on the hull, ships can maintain their structural integrity and avoid being weighed down by gunk like seaweed that would reduce drag.

These days, biocides can be mixed with virtually any color of paint. But the hulls are often painted red to maintain a nautical tradition. Red also may help observers gauge the load of a ship’s cargo. 

The more weight on board, the lower in the water it will be. That’s why you often see numbers positioned vertically on the side of the hull.

No matter what’s covering the hull, it’s never going to completely eliminate growth. 

Often, ports will prohibit ship owners from scraping hulls while docked, since ships traveling in outside waters might have picked up a non-native species of weed that could prove problematic in a new environment.

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Source: mentalfloss


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