What’s so bad about anti fouling paint?


April 08, 2016

AquaMarine Foul Release Coatings

So, whats the problem with antifoul?

If you’re a boat owner and you’ve recently seen more and more changes in anti fouling regulations, then you are ahead of the game if you’re currently looking at alternatives to putting anti fouling paint on your boat.

Bottom paint or antifoul is one of the more traditional ways to keep barnacles and other troublesome marine life away from your boat. However, the trouble with this form of protection, is that as well as killing the unwanted organisms, it’s also destroying more precious marine life. In fact, things are so bad that many ports are now looking at phasing in a ban on copper antifouling coatings on recreational vessels in January 2018.

In the world’s Age of Sail sailing vessels suffered greatly from growth. This impacted speed and profitability on voyages, as all that fouling slowed the boat down.

Originally, to try and counteract the effects, sheets of copper or Muntz metal were nailed to the hull. In fact, you can see a good example of this on the Cutty Sark in Greenwich.

So how does marine growth affect performance?

 

  • A boat’s maximum speed will actually decrease as the hull gets covered in fouling.
  • Fouling hampers a boat’s ability to sail upwind too.
  • Dependent on the type of hull, shipworms can actually bore into a surface and cause considerable damage if left.

So over many years, antifouling paints were created that would impede growth of algae and other marine organisms but not without several downsides, which are more recently being seen.

Hard bottom paints are formulated from copper and other biocides. It is this chemical approach that kills everything.

So what’s so terrible about antifoul then?

If we consider for a second this analogy it may help you determine why it is not the most sensible way to protect your boat. 

Imagine you have a stack of old wood, propped up against the shed in the garden. You want to burn the wood but rather than put it into a separate pile, you set fire to it in situ. Within a few seconds your entire shed has been burned to the ground. Yes, you’ve no longer got the stack of wood to worry about but you’ve also damaged something that’s actually relatively important. 

With antifoul the principle is the same. It’s not necessarily sensible to kill all marine life because you want to get to the fouling on the hull of your boat.

Thankfully, new technologies like AquaMarine foul release are emerging and changing the face of foul release. They are also surprisingly easier to maintain and most importantly, unlike anti foul don’t need to be taken off and replaced every single year.

If you could get more speed in the water without damaging the environment, while saving money, wouldn’t you want to know more?



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