Working principle

Shipshave is a semi-autonomous and tethered hull cleaning robot. A winch sits on the foredeck of the vessel and tethers the robot. The robot harvests propulsion energy to clean the hull underwater. Soft brushes moves up and down the hull under water. It travels with a defined pattern with controlled brush forces.


The Shipshave plug & play system may be installed by the vessels crew. It requires a 10 A socket and 1 m2 on the foredeck for the winch. The crew bolts the winch to the deck and the Shipshave robot is ready to commence operation.


Shipshave removes all types of biofouling. The controlled forces and soft brushes cause minimal wear to antifouling paint, allowing more frequent cleaning. Shipshave also has a modular system that removes barnacles without paint damage.

The picture shows the cleaned and uncleaned hull after 2.5 years since last docking.


The crew deploys the lightweight Shipshave ITCH robot manually into the sea by hand during sailing. One crew member starts the winch, waits till the job is complete and then retrieve the Shipshave ITCH again.

The crew member then changes the setting of the unit between port/starboard and repeats operation on the other side of the hull. This simple process allows a single crew member to clean the hull in hours while the ship is in service.

The integrated video camera records the cleaning process and results. The computer interface is simple. All wear parts are easy to replace. The whole system can be shipped by airfreight.


Shipshave ITCH allows the crew to clean the hull and dispose removed fouling far from shores. Frequent cleaning with video evidence will ease communication with port authorities.

Costs compared to in-port cleaning

  • Easier to do frequently as a tool in the planned maintenance system for saving fuel
  • No downtime sailing to special ports
  • All you need is on board, thus no coordination or scheduling is required
  • Once installed, maintenance and operation costs are very low
  • Video saves hull inspection charges

Risk and limitations

Low weight and hydrodynamic efficiency makes Shipshave easy to handle and safe to deploy by hand. Shipshave cannot reach the propeller by design. But the low weight means even direct impact will not affect a propeller. Shipshave can clean the bow, but not the bulb. It will clean near to the propeller, but not the rudder or propeller. Typically you may cover about 80-90% of the hull area.