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Which Antifoul Suits Your Vessel?

Which Antifoul Suits Your Vessel?

Antifouling has been a mainstay of vessel owners around the world for a long time. Painted on the hull to combat the build-up of barnacles and other sea life on your boat, antifoul has long been used as a solution to problems skippers have always had to battle beneath the waves. Since its creation, there have been just two types of mariners: those who use antifoul, and those who quickly discover they need it.

Since the first days of copper sheeting and Muntz Metal, antifouling products have come a long way. It is tempting to think about antifouling as paint; but it is more than that. It is actually a very clever piece of chemistry.

Traditionally, every year, you must spend the time and money to lift your vessel, blast away any fouling, then sand back and reapply an antifouling coating. This happens whether you take your boat out every weekend or only three times a year.

With recent years seeing many innovative solutions arriving on the market, the old tried-and-true annual application of antifoul now has some competition. In general, all the paint providers for the marine industry provide a solution, and most of them have a great range to choose from. With some providers claiming systems have lasted up to 11 years before the need for reapplication. The more important questions are: which antifoul product suits your vessel, and most importantly, how you use it.


The Runabout

The good old-fashioned weekend warrior – small, mobile and fun, and taken out of the water after use. If this is your boat type, resist the urge to put antifouling on at all. Antifouling is a product designed to keep marine organisms from settling on the underwater hull of boats. These products perform best when left permanently in the water. If your boat is not stored in the water, then there is no need to apply it to your hull. In fact, most systems are designed to be fully submerged.


The Racer

These guys are passionate about speed. You will see them flying down the Broadwater on a Thursday afternoon one hand on the handrail, the other holding a glass of champagne. In the past, super hard ablative antifouls have been used and sanded back smooth for speed. However, with the innovation of products, many yacht owners are semi-ablative coatings, such as PPG’s ABC3®, EcoFleet 290®, or even International’s MicronExtra®. Rather than sanding, the simple wash-down with a soft cloth prevents excess wear of the coating, as over cleaning can lead to premature failure.


The Pleasure Craft and Superyachts

Here is where we start to see the overnight trips and ‘at-sea’ entertainment. Still, most of these boats are permanently in the water and not always on the move. As much as we would all like to be on the water every weekend, the truth is, we only get out there once or twice a month. This means the antifouling has to work while the boat sits still. Ablative or self-polishing types with high copper content work best here. Check out PPG’s Ecofleet 290® or Jotun SeaGuardian®. Either way, it also pays to keep an eye on your boat and clean off any slime that may occur. The right product selection will keep fouling at bay and provide you with better time at sea!


The Commercial Boat

Used for whale watching or passenger trips, these boats commute like the City Cat in Brisbane. These vessels quite often stay in the water for two years or more, so a semi-ablative antifoul is often used. The frequent movement in conjunction with a reasonable speed is the space for the semi-ablative antifouling. Silicone-based systems, like International’s Intersleek 100SR® or PPG’s Sigmaglide®, not only keep the fuel usage and costs down, they also last. Some silicone systems have been known to last more than 10 years!


Ultimately, whatever approach you consider taking, it is always an advantage to get good consultation on your boat, its circumstances, and your individual needs. With some expert advice, you will be sure to get the solution that is best for you and your boat.

Just remember, the way to get the best out of your antifouling is: Good preparation, the correct application, and the right quantity. Of course, if you use the right maintenance practices, the coating will last longer too.


Our team at Riverside Marine Services are always at the ready to serve you in all your boating needs. Drop by and say ‘Hi’ to us at the Gold Coast City Marina, Coomera. For more information, call Shaun Phelps on 0488 012 337, or email us at



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