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Antifouling Today

There have been so many changes to the antifouling technology and legislation that most people are pretty confused. Everyone became very fixated with the existence of tin in paints and quickly came to the conclusion that tin was the magic component. And now that it has been banned/restricted it seems to have got a special aura, a bit like marijuana which has gained much mystique through being illegal.

My testing shows very clearly that although the tin copper combination of the successful antifoulings of the past years were very good for the Caribbean (Micron 44 , Islands 44, Proline , Sigma HB), the new paints with a new technology are at least as good, even though they lack the mystique, aura, and reputation of the tin paints .  The testing also shows that you can only find that out after you have done an effective testing which includes the application of a barrier coat—and if you don’t, you end up with some impressive disasters. I can strongly recommend to use one of the sealer coats if there is any doubt, or to remove the antifouling entirely, which you will have to do one day in any event as old build up is eventually going to chalk and let go from the hull.

The trouble is, of course, that the prices of the good antifoulings have gone up substantially.  Some years ago the cheaper products had a relatively good performance given the price and even then, the interest in them was limited. Now their price has gone up, with the substantial increase in copper prices, with the result that they have become even less interesting.  This explains why paint companies are experimenting with copper-free antifoulings and other solutions that avoid the high price components—but the Caribbean anti fouling market does not quickly switch from the tried and tested products.

One of the solutions is called “Foul Release Paint.” As distinct from Anti Fouling which carries biocides which prevent adhesion, the “Foul Release” carries no biocides but is dependent on the slipperiness of its surface to shake off the fouling. This type of product does not stop growth…it just allows it to come off easily.  For certain types of boats and certain patterns of usage, it makes a great deal of sense. The story goes that the slipperiness of the surface causes greater risks in hauling and travel lift positioning—but I have not heard of any accidents that happened like this.

Robbie Ferron is Group Manager of Budget Marine.

Tips for a successful Bottom Paint Application

J. Summer Westman spent the last several months interviewing and researching the different companies with Marine Bottom Painting products to offer you a step-by-step independent application guide based upon our research. Please note... Our research is geared towards the Caribbean region which is considered one of the harshest regions for bottom growth.

Participating companies include: Interlux, Sea Hawk and Pettit Paint

NEW Biocide Free Bottom Paint Launched by Interlux

Additional Insights into Anti-fouling in the Caribbean by Robbie Ferron

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