Q&A with Coatings Manager Michael Yankowski
We talk Propspeed with the guy behind one of Florida’s top bottom-paint crews.
Lauderdale Marine Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is the largest yacht-repair facility in the United States. LMC currently occupies over 60 acres (with plans to expand) and can accommodate more than 300 vessels ranging from 40 feet to 200 feet. Their haul-out capabilities allow them to safely dry-dock more than 110 boats weighing up to 300 tons, and they have an additional 180 in-water berths.
Many of the vessels hauled at LMC receive special attention from coatings manager Michael Yankowsk. Michael began working in the marine industry after college and found an interest in the coatings and fiberglass departments. He was fortunate early in his career that a yard manager he worked for was a master boatbuilder who mentored him and treated him like a son.
What is your role at LMC?
“I oversee the LMC bottom crew. I’m responsible for making sure my jobs stay on time and within budget and, most importantly, delivering first-class work.”
When did you first become familiar with Propspeed?
“I started working with Propspeed around 2005.”
Is Propspeed a product you recommend to your customers?
“Absolutely! Propspeed is a must-have on any vessel that has underwater running gear. There are other running-gear antifouling systems out there, but none can compete with Propspeed.”
Besides propellers and running gear, what other underwater metals have you applied Propspeed to and what kind of results have you experienced?
“If it were up to me, I would coat all underwater metals with Propspeed as long as they’re in a location that will have water movement. This includes all engine intake scoops, through-hull fittings, props, shafts, rudders, struts, IPS drives, bottoms of trim tabs and underwater lights. On transducers and underwater light lenses, we use only the clear topcoat. Doing so gives the boat owner added protection on these hard-to-clean areas.”
What do vessel operators usually say about Propspeed?
“Typically, I hear great reviews but, occasionally, I do hear some bad feedback. But that’s not the product’s fault, in my opinion. Problems typically occur when the prop blades run into sand, the boat has sat too long, or a diver didn’t know how to care for the product. There’s not an antifouling system in the world that will perform great when the vessel just sits in one place with no water movement and zero maintenance.”
How satisfied are you with Propspeed’s performance on the vessels you inspect during haul-out?
“I’m very satisfied with the results. I typically find zero growth on the coated areas, as long as the vessel has been properly maintained.”
You recently applied Propspeed to your own vessel. How did that go?
“My vessel and I are both in love with Propspeed. My only regret is not using the product sooner. A couple of years ago, I would use Propspeed on my shafts and propellers only. On my tabs, struts and rudders, I would use an epoxy primer and an antifoul. I was doing it this way a long time, making sure I applied those products properly. But they do not compare with the results I now receive from using Propspeed on all my running gear.”
Anything else you’d like to add?
“Sure. I just wanted to say thank you to Propspeed for making a product that truly does what it says it will do, and for helping me win the constant battle of marine-growth attachment and making it a lot less of a problem, both for me and boat owners.”