Maintenance

Alternative Antifouls - Commercial and Navy Paint

This paint might have fallen off the back of a lorry or been obtained through a friend of a friend that works in a boat yard or in the navy. It will always come in a stupidly large 10 or 20 litres tin. Very awkward to handle – it might be half price compared to a cheap yachting antifouling paint but you will be buying twice the quantity you need…

It will be nearly impossible to mix properly without an electric paint agitator and will be difficult to apply. Once on, like it’s cousin the fisherman’s antifoul, it will be very difficult to remove. Unlike you the navy will be never be short of “volunteers” willing to scrape paint nor will it shy away from sandblasting a battleship…

To add to its mystique the large tin will usually not have a good description of the potent product inside – next to the obligatory chemical hazards signs: a harmful cross and toxic skull – it will bear only the inscription “Antifouling Paint - For Navy Use Only” in large letters. If this inscription is in a foreign language such as Arabic or Thai – your reverence for the product inside will increase but so will your apprehension about it’s potentially lethal toxicity when you begin the toilsome task of removing it.

It is far from guaranteed that the friend of a friend will be able to supply you with the same stuff next year and you can forget about phoning the manufacturer’s helpline to ask about compatibility with the paint available at your local chandler’s…

If the paint came from a commercial boat yard it will in fact not contain any magic ingredients compared to regular antifoul because the use of the real nasty stuff such as TBT as been banned on all ships irrespective of size since 2008 by the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships and many countries have banned their use in the manufacture of paint. Commercial ships that use paints that are in violation of this convention are banned from sailing in US, EU and Japanese waters… Reading the literature of a company like Transocean Coatings you will discover that the main biocide in their products is Cuprousoxide just like in the antifoul at your local chandler. It’s release from the paint resin will however be optimised for a supertanker not a sailing yacht…