In­ter­view with Tony Bulpin

Passage Maker - - Contents - BY BRIAN K. LIND

Tony Bulpin has been work­ing in the boat­ing in­dus­try for the past 27 years. He has worked for Sea Hawk Pre­mium Yacht Fin­ishes for over a decade as the West Coast sales rep­re­sen­ta­tive. Tony is also an ac­tive mem­ber in the North­west boat­ing com­mu­nity hav­ing served on mul­ti­ple com­mit­tees as well as on the board of the North­west Marine Trade As­so­ci­a­tion. He was in­volved in the NMTA’s work on leg­is­la­tion in Washington State to help boat­yards meet the EPA Clean Wa­ter Act guide­lines by phas­ing out the use of cop­per in bot­tom paint. As one of the only man­u­fac­tur­ers in­volved in the leg­isla­tive process, Tony helped the Sea Hawk fam­ily to be on the fore­front of de­vel­op­ing cop­per-free paints as well as low-cop­per paints that pro­vide an en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly ap­proach to an­tifoul­ing solutions.

When it comes to bot­tom paint, what do you think sets Sea Hawk Paint apart from your com­peti­tors?

Sea Hawk is a fam­ily-owned and op­er­ated com­pany with a fo­cus both on prod­uct qual­ity as well as the qual­ity of our cus­tomer ser­vice. Our com­peti­tors also have field reps and good prod­ucts but the team at Sea Hawk takes care in all as­pects, from real peo­ple an­swer­ing phones for cus­tomer sup­port, ware­hous­ing and ship­ping of prod­ucts to keep in­ven­tory with min­i­mal gaps in sup­ply, and sales and tech­ni­cal sup­port to add value to ev­ery gal­lon of paint sold.

What ad­vice do you give peo­ple on how to pick the right bot­tom paint?

Con­sult with the pro­fes­sion­als in the boat­yard and use their many years of ex­pe­ri­ence to dis­cuss the con­di­tion of the bot­tom, the prep process, the pre­vi­ous coat­ings ap­plied to the hull, and what can be ap­plied over the ex­ist­ing paint. Also dis­cuss the use of the boat and what you ex­pect of an­tifoul­ing paints. Ex­pe­ri­enced boat­yard pro­fes­sion­als have vast col­lec­tive knowl­edge of all of the dif­fer­ent paints, how they work, and what will work best for your kind of boat­ing.

Sea Hawk has re­leased sev­eral en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly bot­tom paints. What makes them en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly and who should con­sider us­ing these paints?

What is en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly to some is not to oth­ers. The new prod­ucts Sea Hawk has in­tro­duced meet state and fed­eral reg­u­la­tions as reg­is­tered pes­ti­cides. Most of our en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly paints are ei­ther cop­per-free, low-VOC, or both. How­ever, that doesn’t mean our other cop­per paints are not en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly. The newer cop­per paints are lower in cop­per con­tent and per­form as well as high-cop­per paints, plus some states re­al­ize that in­tro­duc­ing new pes­ti­cides may cre­ate a new set of prob­lems. Con­trol­ling the re­lease rate of cop­per in a paint is a vi­able, en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly al­ter­na­tive. Sea Hawk strives to cre­ate the best prod­ucts that meet both na­tional and state reg­u­la­tions while pro­vid­ing the best an­tifoul­ing pro­tec­tion for our clients.

That said, there are no good weed killers. The goal is to elim­i­nate or limit hard and soft growth on boats with the small­est im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment. All of these new cop­per-free prod­ucts are still in the test­ing phase. Some will not con­tain any pes­ti­cides but that means their con­tents will go untested by reg­u­la­tors which means we may not know their ef­fects on the wa­ter column un­til it is too late. If the goal is to re­duce growth on boats with the small­est en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact, hav­ing a reg­u­lated prod­uct that meets fed­eral and state guide­lines is the best way to cre­ate a prod­uct that pro­tects boats to both in­dus­try and en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards.

What is the big­gest mis­take you see peo­ple make when it comes to tak­ing care of the bot­tom of their boats?

Ap­ply­ing paint over an im­prop­erly prepped sur­face. The flak­ing paint doesn’t go away and af­ter many ap­pli­ca­tions over an im­prop­erly pre­pared sur­face, the prob­lem only gets worse, to a point where the en­tire bot­tom coat­ing needs to be re­moved and the process restarted. Proper main­te­nance with reg­u­lar haul-outs will en­sure the bot­tom is in good con­di­tion and min­i­mizes ex­pen­sive re­pairs. The key to good bot­tom paint is all in the prep.

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