Choosing the best antifouling paint (and applying it correctly) is a really important part of taking care and setting up your boat. This sort of paint helps, of course, to avoid marine fouling, which can affect your boat’s efficiency and, therefor, its speed (no fun if you enjoy races) and even safety. But how can you choose among the several options in the market? Here are some tips.
First of all, you should consider what kind of boat are you using and where do you normally sail. Depending on how much and often you sail and the temperature of the water you will need a kind of paint or another. You must know there are several types of antifouling paints. The most common ones are ablative paints, which works much like soap, wearing traces away easily. This is a a good choice if you make a regular use of your boat, but other options are better for vessels having significant periods of disuse, as cleaning takes place while underway. Another choice is copolymers which are tougher as ablative paints but work similarly, although slower. On the other hand, for larger vessels the best option is hard coatings, which also are the most durable paints that do not come off unless they are removed mechanically. These paints are, however, more expensive and need more maintenance.
Needless to say, price is always a crucial point and choosing the best antifouling shouldn’t be an exception. Always have your budget limitations in mind and be prepared to find price ranges including brands for 50€ and others costing over 300€. Remember to think about tools costs or to compare budgets if you want to have professionals to have the works done for you.
Health is just as important here, both yours and the environment’s one. Luckily, toxic paints are not legal in several countries anymore, but you might still find them in some places. Always read etiquettes and instructions to know what exactly is that antifouling paint made of. Biocides are the toxic elements that make antifouling paints work, but they can be made of different substances. It is those elements that make paint more or less stronger and, also, more or less toxic.
And when the time to apply the paint comes, think twice if you know exactly how to do so or you’d need extra hands. Paint won’t help if you don’t apply it the right way!