Which Antifouling Paint?
There are over
100 different antifouling products available on the market, produced
by up to a dozen different manufacturers, and as a poor innocent
sailor your problem is to determine which one is best for your boat.
the combinations and permutations of the different styles and types
of antifouling available make an informed selection almost impossible
for the average boat owner.
So let’s see
if we can make a little sense out of the whole thing.
are basically two types of antifouling, hard and soft. And just
to confuse you a little, soft can be very soft, soft, or not so
paints usually have a hard, smooth finish that reduces water resistance
and can be scrubbed by hand without sloughing off any paint into
the water. Hard antifoul is a good choice for racing boats and trailer
sailers where a hard finish that can take a few knocks and can be
scrubbed is needed.
hard antifoul is also more eco-friendly than soft antifoul as very
little of the active antifoul ingredient (usually copper in some
form) gets into the water to poison the aquatic wildlife.
with hard antifoul is that because the paint film does not slough
off the layers of paint build up each year until you need to remove
all the antifoul coats and start again from scratch. And removing
several coats of hard antifoul is something you should leave to
someone you don’t really like - if you can.
paints, called ablative copolymers, slowly slough off the paint
film thereby exposing a new layers of antifoul material to repel
is a good choice for cruising boats that are used regularly, as
the boat needs to move through the water to slough off the paint
of this sloughing, the paint film slowly disappears over time. When
recoating comes around, a pressure wash and rub down will probably
be enough preparation for the new coat.
antifoul paints can be quite hard, and the hardest types can be
scrubbed and polished almost as well as the hard antifouls. “Soft“
soft antifouls are becoming less popular due to the amount of copper
and biocides they release both during normal operations and each
time they are scrubbed.
what antifouling paint is right for you?
Luckily our old friends at Practical Sailor have done extensive
2 year research on the matter and analysis of their findings can
be summarized as follows:
best hard antifouls
hard antifoul are VC offshore by
Interlux and Trinidad SR by Pettit
The best budget hard antifouls are Epoxycop
by Interlux and Sea Bowld Coastal 45
by Blue Water
Other hard paints
to perform well were:
Pettit’s Super Premium,
Unepoxy Plus and Vivid
West Marine’s Bottomshield
Sea Hawk’s Sharkskin
best soft antifouls
ablative/copolymers are Micron 66
by Interlux and Biocop TF by Sea
best budget ablative is Marpro Super-B Ablative
by Blue Water
to perform well were:
Water's Coppershield 45
's Ultima SR
Blue Water's Kolor
West Marine's PCA Gold
Blue Water's Sea Bowld Ablative 67 Pro
hulls, Epaint's ZO and Pettit's Alumacoat
Prices can range
from $65 per gallon to $230 per gallon, so check prices locally
and with West Marine before you buy.
wait a minute ...
it was as easy as getting the old paint ready for recoat and buying
your new antifoul and slapping it on didn’t you?
won’t play with others. You need to know what antifoul is on your
boat already, and then check to see if your new antifoul is compatible.
most of the manufacturers have done their own tests and have this
information available. To check, go to the manufacturer of your
new antifoul (link below) and check if your old antifoul needs to
be completely removed or whether a light sand will suffice.
Blue Water paints
does not appear to have a compatibility chart..
A few antifoul
paints are water based, and the jury is still out on their effectiveness
over time. Most other antifoul paints have strong solvents and harmful
biocides in them and they need to be handled and used with caution.
You will need to cover all exposed skin, wear gloves and especially
good eye protection before you play with these. A cartridge type
filter mask is also a very good idea.
protection rules have changed dramatically over the last few years,
so if you intend to apply antifoul at your local marina or yacht
club, talk to them first. Most facilities now have fairly stringent
rules on how antifouling can be removed from the boat and how new
coats can be applied.
You may find they no longer allow DIY antifoul work