Antifouling boat paint can overcome rising fuel costs
Harvey M. Chichester, Durall Manufacturing
Boats with fouled bottoms can use as much as 10% more fuel. This means that now, more than ever, you need to employ the technology that racing sailboats have been using for years: antifouling, non-stick, copper/Teflon boat bottom paint. These easy-to-apply bottom paints, or bottom coatings, can save every boat owner money.
How non-stick, racing-type boat bottom paints work:
1. To produce smooth hulls, racing-type boat bottom paints use the same molecule contained in non-stick cookware, the largest molecule known, with a drag coefficient smoother than ice.
2. Copper is often embedded in these fast Teflon-type coatings, causing barnacles, zebra mussels, algae, and other water growths to reject them and seldom attach themselves to your bottom.
3. These coatings slough off like a bar of soap, taking growth away with them as water passes over the hull, keeping the boat bottoms smooth.
A few negative aspects to using non-stick, racing-boat bottom coatings:
1. The boat bottom requires recoating every few years as the finish wears away.
2. Sanding is needed every few years so the next coating will adhere well.
3. The boat bottom color will darken as the copper oxidizes, turning a dark brown/gray.
Cost may not be a major factor. A 20- to 30-ft. boat can be coated for under $100 in materials. Not a bad price to pay for a 10% savings in fuel costs.Protecting your boat bottom from growths also helps maintain the value of your boat. In years gone by, ship hulls allowed for rusting to wear away 2/3 of the steel over the life of the ship. But today, with urethane Teflon-type bottom coatings, ships can go 11 or 12 years without recoating or loss of steel thickness. In the 70s, the U.S. Navy tested these non-stick coatings on five ships and were impressed that residual growths that had not come off after speeds of 10 to 15 knots were reached could be removed with simple pressure washing. This eliminated grinding and the associated hull wear.
For more information on these types of coatings contact us. Charts are provided which will allow you to identify the amount of material required for your boat.