What’s antifouling paint?

Print anything with Printful

Antifouling paint prevents biological growth on underwater surfaces of boats and ships. It can last up to 12 years and contains copper or Teflon. The hull must be cleaned before application.

Antifouling paint is used to paint the underwater area of ​​a boat, buoy, or ship. Typically made with a specific toxin embedded in the paint, antifouling paint prevents barnacles, slime and other matter from growing on the underwater surface. The length of time that antifouling paint is functional depends on many things, including the quality and price of the paint, with more expensive paints typically lasting much longer than lower priced paint.

Fouling is the act of biological matter growing on the bottom of a ship or boat, as well as other underwater surfaces. If allowed to grow unchecked, the growths could destroy a fiberglass boat hull. Other effects of this biological growth are reduced fuel economy, poor handling, and excess weight, which causes the vessel to have a lower rest position in the water.

By coating the hull with antifouling paint, growth can be deterred for up to 12 years. To adequately protect a ship’s hull with antifouling paint, the ship must be dry-docked and cleaned of any existing biological growth. Barnacles, crustaceans, and herbaceous growth must be scraped, ground, and chiseled to loosen the hull. The hull is then allowed to dry before being covered with paint.

While earlier antifouling paint contained chemicals in the form of tributyltin (TBT) and copper, TBT was banned and later mixes contained only copper. Copper has been used for decades to cover the bottom of ships. In the warm waters of the tropics, the copper-clad bottom of wooden sailing ships was used to prevent the growth of tropical grasses from covering the bottom of the ships. The growth would make the ships very slow and less responsive to the helm. This could cause problems when the ship encounters rough seas, as the lack of response makes emergency maneuvers from the bridge difficult.

Modern antifouling paint contains Teflon. Teflon is a slippery material and helps prevent any organic growth from clinging to the hull long enough to take root. Of all the types of paint and restoration processes, antifouling paint is the most common type of paint and is regularly repeated on most vessels. The buoys are also covered with this type of paint in an effort to prevent excess weight from biological growth from weighing down the buoy and ultimately dragging it underwater.

Protect your devices with Threat Protection by NordVPN

Skip to content