AquaMarine: Fouling in general - part 4

December 20, 2016

AquaMarine: Fouling in general - part 4:

We conclude our four-part series on fouling in general discussing why is antifouling is so expensive, some details on DIY antifouling paint mixes and a conclusion to all the topics that have been covered.  

Why is antifouling so expensive?

Stocking up to defend your boat from fouling isn’t a cheap investment. For a standard market available anti-foul paint of a generous 2.5 litre tin size, you’re looking at around £70 - £100.

Consider the multiple layers of coating you will need to apply, and the paid rigorous full servicing people usually opt for in order to get the stuff on properly, the figure for arming your boat begins to rack up quite the bill. And with antifioul paints, this whole process needs to be refreshed at best every couple of years.

The main reason antifoul agents costs so much is simply due to the expensive raw materials which don’t tend to differ from brand to brand, aside from a few varying co-biocide boosters which can be thrown in the mix. Additionally, a long type-approval and testing procedure must be carried out, which is not polite to the pocket of the developers.

Is it worth paying a lot of money for premium paint?

The factors that dictate the varying price of antifoul paints relates to the different ratios of boosters and additives. Chopping and changing these ratios will change variables like flow rate, viscosity, erosion and coverage.

The bigger brands who charge a greater price simply invest more into the research and development of their paints, constantly tweaking the formula for a longer lasting more potent fouling detergent effect.

That said, together with the fact that a supposed ban for anti-foul paints may take place, the comparative tests results between the paints do not show a huge amount of discrepancy between performance for paying top dollar. And so, the option of a foul release coating that is highly effective, longer lasting and significantly cheaper over time is a rather eye-opening prospect.

DIY antifouling concoctions?

Of course, there is always the option to suit up with your own lab gear and brew your own antifouling potion to save money. Unfortunately for the user, but beneficial for the environment, antifouling products not approved by the health and safety executives is illegal, as well as being much less effective.

In the past, boat owners have opted to simply up the copper concentration in their purchased brand name antifoul paints by adding copper granules. But again, having a higher copper content which can exceed the legal leaching limits of copper for boat paints is harmful to marine life and illegal.

In more dubious attempts, chilli powder made the rounds as a supposed enhancer of fouling detergent due to a distaste from fouling species. However, it is the overall consensus from experts that this ingredient has minimal effect.


All in all, this 4-part series on fouling in general has aimed to educate the reader on the basics of fouling; what it is, the different types, the impact it has on boats and also illuminate the options there are for protecting against fouling. Sailing off into the distance, the pros and cons of anti-fouling paint treatments should give you some food for thought the next time you lather up your boat ready for the season. Methods for deterring fouling species are continually developing, and with the world becoming more environmentally aware as well as some very beneficial aspects concerning boat performance, it is hard to neglect the more logical choice of employing a foul release coating such as AquaMarine FRC.



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