What is antifouling and why does your boat need it?

Many boat owners usually don jumpsuits to sand and apply antifouling paint protection to their boats during winter. Yet, what is antifouling and how can your boat benefit from it? How many coat applications do you need to do to protect the hull of your boat?


What is Antifouling?


The process of preventing all types of marine organisms to breed in the hull of your boat is called antifouling. The application of an antifouling paint layer to the boat’s bottom has been proven to protect it from marine invasion.


Why you need to Antifoul


Do you need antifouling? Marine organisms and seawater tend to build-up or grow on the underside of the boat’s hull when it stays afloat all the time. The fuel efficiency and the hull’s performance are significantly compromised with the proliferation of marine algae. It has been seen that an increase of over 30% of fuel consumption as well as a speed decrease of around 5 knots is caused by heavy marine algae growth on the boat’s hull.

How often should Antifouling be done?


The storage and usage of the boat are the determinants of the frequency of using antifouling protection. An annual check is recommended for boats that are used regularly or stay afloat all the time. The yearly check enables you to assess whether you need to reapply antifouling paint to the hull. You can either do the assessment or entrust it to expert boat services.


What are the different types of Antifouling?


The growth rate of marine life is drastically reduced with the water-soluble biocides contained in regular antifouling paints. Biocides are considered pesticides with on-going strict regulations to ensure its safe application on non-target organisms without breaking the natural food chain.

It should be noted that different countries have their regulations when it comes to antifouling. This means that the antifouling paint bought from one country may not be permitted to be used in another country. It is imperative to make sure that the antifouling paint you’re applying to your boat is legally allowed both in your country and the other countries you plan to visit.

Freshwater antifouling

A different species are found in freshwater compared to a saltwater environment. This means that a different type of antifouling is needed for boats kept in a freshwater environment. A common dilemma that confronts boat owners is when they have to move from inland waterways to the sea and vice versa. However, applying freshwater antifouling should be the best option when the boat is frequently docked or used in inland waters. This is because any growth from the saltwater area cannot live when exposed to a freshwater environment.

Hard antifouling

The slow water dissolution of biocides is with the hard antifouling type of paint. As the season progresses, the biocide particles gradually dissolve into a hard finish. The hard finish enables a boat owner to do periodic scrubbing to keep the bottom in tip-top condition.

Hard antifouling is ideally suited for fast powerboats and racing yachts that are always afloat. Skimping on antifouling for these types of boats definitely result in higher fuel bills and significant boat speed.

Antifouling is an important process when you want your boat to stay healthy and efficient at all times.

About the author

Brian Gallagher

View all posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *