Mailport October 2012 Issue

Mailport: October 2012

Bottom Paint Empathy

As a retiree who worked in the paint business on three continents for most of my life, my sympathies go out to Jack Valdouw for his “Bottom Paint Woes” (Mailport, September 2012). Valdouw’s problems are a perfect example of how insane government regulations have pushed marine paint makers to an impossible technical position in coating formulations. (I should state that I have never worked for West Marine or its supplier.)

Attacks on antifouling ingredients within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have pushed most commercial ocean-going dry-docking to China and the Far East, where no such bans exist, and the planet remains no less polluted. One “bright” non-sailing California environmentalist, recently suggested that yacht owners dry-dock every six weeks for high-pressure water washing and vacuum up any contaminated slime.

What part of “antifouling” do they not understand? Following the law of unintended consequences, our government regulations of reduced or no copper, no biocides, and even no zinc compounds will eventually slow the U.S. recreational yachting community to drifting at 2 knots in a 15-knot wind because of barnacles and fouling, unless someone stops the madness of this well-meaning but ignorant bureaucratic nonsense.

Michael R. Bingham.

Houston, Texas.

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