Dirty boat bottoms can be a challenge. But now there’s a solution, whether you’re a cruiser, pontoon owner or a sailor. The trouble is that most boat owners don’t really want to spend the time or energy to keep the bottoms of their boats clean of deposits and algae build-up.
“Keeping a boat bottom clean is about more than aesthetics,” said Vic Hudson, founder of Blue Cord Diving Services, a mobile boat cleaning business that serves North Georgia. “If you keep the bottom cleaned regularly, you will improve boat performance, fuel efficiency and the life of your bottom paint. That’s why we started Blue Cord Diving. We come to our customers and we clean the boat in the water.”
Hudson started the business on Allatoona Lake several years ago. Since then, demand for services has taken off, expanding to other lakes in North Georgia north of I-20. They began working on Lake Lanier in 2019. Last spring, he added business partner Justin Holtz in response to demand. They have also hired two part-time associates to help with the workload.
“We have customers who have us clean their boat bottoms every month and some who only use us once a year, but the more the word gets around, the busier we’re getting,” said Hudson.
Blue Cord uses no chemicals in their processes. “Many of our customers are either in marinas or on private docks on Corps of Engineers lakes,” Holtz said. “We are very aware of the environmental concerns and know that cleaning with products is not allowed on the Corps’ lakes.”
Hudson explained that the cleaning process removes algae that has formed over time. “There’s already algae and other microorganisms in the water, so we are not adding anything to the water,” he said.
The company cleans from the waterline down. and works on aluminum, gelcoat and painted bottoms.
Blue Cord Diving Services also provides detailed hull and propeller inspections, plus in-water propeller and anode changes.
“Our services also include boat salvages and we can bring up a vessel from as deep as 130 feet,” Holtz said.
Both Hudson and Holtz are retired Army. Hudson, an avid SCUBA diver for many years, tried several more conventional jobs after he retired in 2016.
“Other employment just didn’t seem to fit, but it wasn’t until my wife Marion suggested that I look at doing something that involved my love of SCUBA,” Hudson said. “So I started cleaning boat bottoms and doing inspections at Allatoona Lake back in 2018. We found out that there was a real market for our services.”
Hudson met Holtz and his wife Kara in 2017 and the two couples became friends. When Hudson needed a partner, he invited Holtz to join the business.
“I hadn’t dived but I jumped at the chance to get certified, which I did in 2020,” said Holtz. “It’s amazing to work using something that I now enjoy so much with SCUBA.”
Hudson first began recreationally diving while in the military. “It was never part of my military service to dive, but I was able to experience some amazing places underwater when I was off duty,” he said. “One of the most memorable was being able to dive at Guantanamo Bay, which is only open to active military and their families.
“Because the diving is so limited, the reefs are pristine and the fish are abundant. The coral is amazing.”
Holtz has dived with great white sharks; however, he was caged for protection, but he has also swum with other types of sharks.
Hudson admits that lake diving isn’t nearly as fun as open-ocean dives.
“I guess when you’re working, cleaning boat bottoms, you don’t need the distractions,” he said with a laugh. “By the way, we’re looking for more divers. Even in the off-season, we’ve been really busy. And I’m sure once people start thinking about their boats for the summer, we’ll have plenty of calls.”
For information about Blue Cord Diving Services, visit www.bluecorddiving.com.
Photos: courtesy Blue Cord Diving