Selecting the Best Boat Bottom Paint
Bottom Paint or otherwise referred to as antifouling paint is a necessary evil for anyone who tends to keep their boat in the water for any amount of time, whether it be fresh or salt water. Antifouling paints are not made to seal or waterproof the bottom of the boat and must not be confused with specialty paints, sealers and barrier coats that are formulated for the underside of a boat. Bottom paint is a sacrificial coating that deteriorates rapidly and therefore requires renewal. The renewal rate is dependent on the vessel usage and the type of bottom paint. Not all types of bottom paints are the same and some will fair better in warmer climates as opposed to those in colder climes.
Ablative and Non-Ablative Bottom Paint
There are numerous types of antifouling coating with the most basic bottom paint for boats being an ablative, and non-ablative coating. Ablative bottom paint for boats is also called fluffing and that is because the coating softens in the water and the outer layer is slowly eroded away by the movement of the vessel through the water or by the currents whilst tied to the dock. Non-ablative is a harder coating where the active ingredients leach out of the substrate and are better suited for faster vessels. There are also additional technologies being implemented from manufacturers such as Pettit
and it is worth the while to visit their website to learn more about emerging products.
Boats regularly kept on a trailer tend to go fast and are dry stored for lengthy periods, therefore, it stands to reason the best bottom paint for trailered boats would be a hard type antifouling paint
that has a long drydock time from coating manufacturers such as ePaint. Pretty much the longest lasting hard paint is Trinidad Pro Bottom Paint
, with one of the highest copper load of 65%.
Aluminum Boat Bottom Paint
An aluminum boat bottom paint
would be a coating without any heavy metals such as Cupreous oxide. Cuprous oxide and Zink oxide are common ingredients in antifouling coating but come with laws prohibiting their use therefore copper-free alternative bottom paints
are constantly being developed.
Fiberglass Boat Bottom Paint
A fiberglass boat bottom paint
is a coating that does not contain ingredients that would react negatively with the underwater fittings and with that in mind many of the newer sailboats have sail drives that are constructed out of aluminum. With the prohibiting of heavy metals in antifouling coatings the newer generation of bottom paints should be safe to use on all types of vessels although it is always important to read the manufactures information to make sure the antifouling coating is suitable. Painting the bottom of the boat is a nasty endeavor and personal and environmental protective gear
and equipment must be considered and worn if possible.
Applying bottom paint generally requires no special equipment, it is applied either by spray, roller or paintbrush
along with basic consumables such as tarps, foam rollers, and tape
, etc. For thinning bottom paint
or cleaning equipment, each manufacturer specifies specific thinners and cleaning agents to use and it is good practice to follow that guidance to ensure predictable results.