Boat Talk No Harm, No Foul

Achiev­ing op­ti­mum per­for­mance from your boat de­pends on sev­eral fac­tors, in­clud­ing hull de­sign, horse­power, propellers, weight and wet­ted sur­face area. CHOOSE THE RIGHT ANTI-FOUL­ING PAINT AND AP­PLI­CA­TION TO KEEP HULLS THAT STAY IN THE WA­TER FREE OF MARINE

Saltwater Sportsman - - Table Of Contents / Departments - CAPT. DAVE LEAR

Any­thing that adds more fric­tion im­pacts speed, han­dling and fuel econ­omy. That’s why keep­ing hulls that re­main in the wa­ter for ex­tended pe­ri­ods free of marine growth is so crit­i­cal. The salt­wa­ter en­vi­ron­ment is an in­cu­ba­tor for al­gae, slime and bar­na­cles, and all neg­a­tively af­fect per­for­mance. For­tu­nately, the right bot­tom paint, prop­erly ap­plied, will sig­nif­i­cantly al­le­vi­ate this prob­lem.

“It’s im­por­tant to match prod­ucts to the en­vi­ron­ment. Bot­tom paints are for­mu­lated to meet dif­fer­ent con­di­tions and salin­ity lev­els,” says Tom Mael­laro, a tech­ni­cal ex­pert with Pet­tit Paint. “For ex­am­ple, a Flor­ida or South­east boater who doesn’t pull the boat an­nu­ally needs a paint with a higher bio­cide con­tent. With the right paint, they can prob­a­bly get 18 to 24 months of ser­vice life from a paint job.”

Anti-foul­ing or bot­tom paint is made from four in­gre­di­ents. The resin holds the coat­ing film and con­trols the re­lease of the bio­cide. Pig­ments pro­vide the color and thick­ness, while sol­vents (or wa­ter) help with the ap­pli­ca­tion, flow and dry­ing time. Bio­cides are the ac­tive com­pounds that re­pel foul­ing. Cuprous ox­ide, which con­tains cop­per, is the most com­mon. Cop­per thio­cyanate con­tains less con­tin­ued

cop­per con­tent but pro­duces brighter col­ors. Ir­garol is an or­ganic al­gae­cide with a slow leach rate, and Econea is a metal-free biodegrad­able bio­cide. The En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency reg­u­lates the use of bio­cides in the paint in­dus­try.

Bio­cides are de­signed to leach out over time so weed and an­i­mal growth won’t ad­here to the sub­merged sur­face. Abla­tive anti-foul­ing for­mu­las, the most com­mon and typ­i­cally with the high­est cop­per con­tent, re­quire boat move­ment to work, like a bar of soap. As the paint and bio­cides wear off over time, new lay­ers are ex­posed. Hard anti-foul­ing paints leach bio­cides while the paint mainly re­mains. Move­ment isn’t re­quired, but this type needs to be reap­plied af­ter dry stor­age. Hy­brid for­mu­las are an­other type of hard paint best suited for trail­er­a­ble and dryrack stored boats. As the bio­cides leach away, the paint film breaks down to ex­pose an­other layer.

“It’s cheap in­sur­ance to buy bet­ter bot­tom paint to match your en­vi­ron­ment,” Mael­laro says. “The big­gest ex­pense is the prep and ap­pli­ca­tion. If you keep a boat in a slip year-round in high salin­ity and warm wa­ter that’s con­ducive to soft growth, pick a paint with a larger amount of Ir­garol. If you want bright col­ors, go with cop­per thio­cyanate. Eighty per­cent of painted hulls are black, 10 per­cent are blue, and ev­ery­thing else is other col­ors.”

Proper prep and ap­ply­ing mul­ti­ple thin lay­ers are the keys to longer-last­ing paint jobs, Mael­laro says. He rec­om­mends leav­ing spray ap­pli­ca­tion to the pro­fes­sion­als. Do-it-your­self rollers can de­ter­mine the square footage of the boat by mul­ti­ply­ing the hull length by beam width by 0.85. Two coats of paint are nor­mally rec­om­mended. Paint­ing can take a few days, de­pend­ing on weather, prepa­ra­tion and hull de­sign. Stepped hulls or nu­mer­ous lift­ing strakes may re­quire hand-sanding, which in­creases man-hours.

Linda Mcdon­ald with Dog River Ma­rina in Mo­bile, Alabama, says she’s see­ing more cus­tomers choos­ing to bot­tom-paint them­selves. The ma­rina will haul the boat out and do the ad­vance prep work.

“We start by pres­sure wash­ing the hull in the wet slip area,” Mcdon­ald says. “That re­ally re­moves a lot of the growth. We then soda-blast the en­tire bot­tom to scour it and re­move any old, loose paint. We don’t sand at all any­more be­cause of the en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns. The soda blast­ing is very ef­fec­tive.” Costs run $45 per foot for larger craft, or $1,500 to $2,000 for smaller boats. Those fees do not in­clude the haul-outs.

The next step in the process is the ap­pli­ca­tion of a bar­rier coat of primer, fol­lowed by two coats of the se­lected bot­tom paint.

Whether done pro­fes­sion­ally or by your­self, there’s a trend of adding a fishy wrin­kle when­ever the bot­tom is painted. Com­pa­nies such as Sea Hawk Paints, Fishrazr and Sten­cil Ease of­fer sten­cils or ad­he­sive bait­fish stick­ers to cre­ate op­ti­cal il­lu­sions on hull bot­toms. Sin­gle fish or schools of squid, fly­ing fish, bal­ly­hoo, mack­erel and tuna are avail­able. The jury is still out as far as ef­fec­tive­ness. But since the boat is a gi­ant teaser and the bot­tom needs at­ten­tion any­way, it can’t hurt, es­pe­cially if a few more fish pop into the spread.

1CRITICAL 3ALMOSTPREP: The bot­tom is first cleaned of all old growth and resid­ual paint.DONE: The ini­tial coat of paint pro­vides a backup be­neath the fin­ish coat. 2FIRST BAR­RIER: 4WRAP ITUP: A sec­ond coat of paint adds to bio­cide longevity and ef­fec­tive­ness. Primer seals the hull and pro­vides a sta­ble base for anti-foul­ing paint. 4 3 2 1

By Capt. Dave Lear

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