Bottom Paint – Do I need it on my Boat?
Typically when people discuss bottom paint on a boat they are referring to Antifouling paint. It prevents growth of organisms that attach to the hull and can affect a vessels speed, performance, and durability when boat is kept in the water for extended periods of time. If you don have that problem, you may not need bottom paint. Antifouling paint typically has a flat, dull finish that is used below the waterline. If you don’t have a growth problem or would like a nice shine to your boat’s bottom look to other items like gelcoat or Super Marine paint. Gelcoat adheres to most gelcoats or fiberglass/resins. A boat bottom with antifouling will need to have it removed via sanding or sandblasting before a different type of paint will adhere.
There are generally two types of bottom paint both of which have several variations that create a multitude of products in the market place. The two different types or categories of bottom paint include hard bottom paint and ablative bottom paint.
Hard Bottom Paint vs. Ablative Bottom Paint
Hard bottom paint is bottom paint that is a hard modified epoxy. It is very durable and does not wear off. Hard bottom paints typically have a higher ratio of pesticides (usually copper) in them that are exposed in the outer surface of the coating. As time goes by, the coating oxidizes and becomes less effective in combating marine growth. Hard bottom paint is generally used on boats when the boat sits for long periods of time without moving at all, or there is little movement of water (current/ tide) around the boat. You should not use a hard paint if you boat comes out of the water such as on a trailer or a lift. After 72 hours, it will oxidize on the outer surface from the air and becomes ineffective. If you trailer your boat, or keep it on a lift you should always use ablative bottom paint. Also known as self- polishing bottom paint, is softer and allows the coating to wear off at a controlled rate. Much like a bar of soap, once the boat moves in the water or there is a current and or tide, the outer fayer slowly wears away. The wearing away of the self-polishing bottom paint allows for new, un-oxidized paint to be exposed. However, once placed back in service, that oxidized ablative paint wears away and exposes a new fresh outer coating with active protection. Ablative bottom paint is a newer technology than hard paint. It is the preferred bottom paint of most users since it typically lasts longer and continuously exposes a new active outer coating that protects against marine growth.
Full Service Boatyard
Pitman Yacht Services is located at Florida’s newest boatyard, Tarpon Springs Yacht Services, on the Anclote River opposite the historic Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks. We can provide everything necessary to keep your investment in top shape.
Mobile Boat Repair and Maintenance
Allen’s customized repair vehicles enable him to bring his 25 years of experience to your boat. Allen will complete all repairs that can be done at your dock or help make arrangements to bring your boat to our boatyard facility if a haul-out is required.
Whether you have just purchased a new boat or are trying to revamp your old one a good bottom paint job is always a solid investment. Bottom painting not only makes your boat look it's best, but it also helps keep barnacles from attaching to it.