August 2012 Issue
Mailport: August 2012
In response to your article on your Ultrasonic Antifouling test (PS, June 2012): Is there any data concerning how ultrasonic noise might affect other marine life? Active sonar has had a huge, and detrimental, effect on marine mammals and possibly other animals. I am skeptical of its actual performance—sonic bug and rodent repellents didn’t work either. I am also wary of the eco-friendly label without some testing and data.
Good questions. According to the maker of the SmartAntifouling M20 that we’re testing, the ultrasonic spectrum that the product uses is beyond that of marine mammals. Of course, we have not tested this as it’s outside the scope of our evaluations, but we would assume that it is no more harmful to marine life than copper paints. None of our testers have noted any change in animal behavior of marine mammals that have been around the boat (manatees, dolphins, etc.) SmartAntifouling Chief Operating Officer Bob Habib added, “The effect of our equipment is for a 12- to 15-foot radius per transducer… The military sonar range can be in the hundreds of kilometers.” He also explained that using ultrasonic waves is a more eco-friendly than traditional antifouling paints as it does not leach copper or other pollutants into the waters.