antifouling paint foul the environment

‘Anti-foul’ is not another word for ‘paint’

Low Tech to High Tech

High tech to low tech, sailors have used invented and used all kinds of antifouling methods.

Generations of sailors & boat owners have been performing the same ritual lift and repaint of their boat hulls each year with toxic antifoul paints. Ironically these ‘antifoul’ paints are fouling our marine life through the food chains which we ultimately consume. It’s time to look again at this issue.

There are many other antifouling options and many are sustainable, so let’s review them one by one and see if we can’t find something better for our boats, our budgets, and the environment!

At the end of this article, we summarised the options and scores, jump there. If you know of other options, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

The topic of this article is antifouling, there are also considerations of simply protecting the hull from impact, and waterproofing which is an independant topic.

Pleasure Craft

In describing the options below it was considered the boat to be antifouled/ cleaned is a 40 foot sailing yacht with fixed keel, a propeller, rudder, and installed electronics e.g. sonar sensor, perhaps a bow thruster, and generally moored in a marina with usage mostly in the summer. A very typical pleasure boat.

Commercial Vessels

The options and ideas here are scalable to commercial vessels and we will probably write an article focussed on such vessels. Some key points about commercial vessels compared to pleasure craft is their greater size, and that they spend less time stationary. It is mostly during stationary times that boifouling occurs.

Such vessels also have sea chest, water coolers to protect from biofouling, and many of the options here are used such as ICAF, and USAF, as well as biocide paints.

bio organisms everywhere in the sea

The sea contains a massive number of marine organisms ready to adher to any underwater surface.

biofouling becomes hardened

The biofouling hardens like rock.

biofouling is difficult to remove from boat hulls

Removing biofouling is a tough job requiring mechanical force, and chemicals. Such maintenance, to remove the fouling, easily causes damage.

In our scoring bars below, longer bars are always better
i.e. a long bar on Hazards does not mean a high number of hazards, it means hazards were low.

‘Anti-foul’ paints foul the environment (ironically).

Overall Antifouling Options

So, what a fantastic range of antifouling options from low to high tech, sustainable to toxic. We’d love to continue this discussion and hear from you. Especially feel free to provide any extra information and experiences of these and any other options you know of.

What do you think of our rating for effectiveness, sustainability, and cost over 5-years?

Below, we’ve summarised our scoring. Which do you think is the ‘best’?

Longer bars are better, in the table below.

Sorted by most effective first

What Do You Think?

One thought on “12 Different Antifouling Options!

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