Environmentally friendly bottom paint - Sailors for the Sea

Environmentally friendly bottom paint

 April 27, 2012  | By: Oceana

Getting ready to put a fresh coat of bottom paint on? Have you considered using environmentally friendly bottom paint?  While this might seem like a study in contradictions, there are many companies that offer environmentally friendly bottom paints that keep the fish alive and the bottom of your boat clean.

Traditional antifouling paints use copper as the biocide to control fouling. The Port of San Diego has done extensive research into copper bottom paints, and have found that the copper in the paint is a biocide that leaches into the water, causing contamination that is harmful to marine life, including fish and sea lions.

In the world of environmentally friendly bottom paints you essentially have two options. Alternative biocide hull paints that use zinc or other chemicals to act as the biocide instead of copper, and Non-biocide hull paints that contain no polluting chemicals. They protect the boat hull by creating a slick surface or hard protective layer.

From Port of San Diego: Jerry Jerome, salesman for HullSpped High Performance Coatings, paints a Hornblower hull at Knight & Carver for the paint testing. (Courtesy: Dale Frost)

The EPA provided funding for the Port of San Diego to conduct a study, which evaluated a variety of alternative hull paints. The study concluded that alternative hull paints are environmentally friendly, work well and can save money over the long-term because they last longer than copper hull paints. See the results here. They also created a great document to help you decide which type of bottom paint is best for you entitled How to Select an Alternative Hull Paint, which includes consideration for racing sailboats.

For more information on the different brands that offer environmentally friendly options, click here for an article from Windcheck magazine.

As part of our Clean Regattas program we encourage sailing organizations to switch over to environmentally friendly bottom paints. Tell us: Do you use an environmentally friendly bottom paint?