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Antifouling Paint 101

A clean hull is safe, fast and efficient! A fouled bottom cuts your top speed, damages maneuverability and lowers your fuel economy.

Antifouling paint slow marine organisms from, taking the forms of shell (animal fouling from barnacles and zebra mussels), weed (plant growth) and slime (single-celled algae) from attaching themselves to your boat.

Most antifouling paints use the dissipation of metal as a toxic biocide to slow down the attachment these nasty critters. Today, boaters apply underwater antifouling paint that is up to 70% copper; and cuprous oxide is the most popular active bottom paint biocide.

Choosing an antifouling paint is typically a regional thing, as boaters tend to choose similarly to their neighbors in the local marina. Your choice should also depend on how you use your boat and the type of paint you applied in the past (since there can be compatibility problems between some types and others).

In general, softer paints can be applied over harder paints but not vice-versa. There are exceptions however, so it’s always best to consult a compatibility chart.

  • Regardless of which coating you use regular cleanings of your hull will lengthen the life and effectiveness of your bottom paint.

  • The type of paint you have and the location of your vessel will dictate how often you should have your hull cleaned.

  • The type of paint will also dictate the correct method for cleaning your hull.

  • Antifouling agents are also available for your running gear but typically will not last as long as the hull coating.

Here is a link to an interesting article regarding one owners observations on the unseen difference between Hard vs. Ablative (soft) Paints. http://www.saltwatersportsman.com/techniques/choose-right-bottom-paint


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