Baked-on Prop Coating Still Repelling Barnacles


Last November, we began field trials of Mussel Buster, a baked-on powder coating that relies on its slick, hard coating to prevent barnacles from adhering. After six months, the prop was surprisingly clean. A few small barnacles had appeared, but they wiped away easily with the sweep of a hand. The coating must be applied at a professional facility, which will require removing and shipping your prop to the patent-holders, Matrix Engineering in West Palm Beach, Fla. The cost is about $175 (including shipping) for a three-bladed, 20-inch prop. There are much cheaper options, such as a quart or spray can of conventional antifouling ($30-$50 plus primer) or Pettit Barnacle Barrier, but we’ve yet to find an inexpensive product that lasts more than a season. Matrix claims its coating is effective for two to three years—we’ll see. For a more detailed report on previous prop-paint tests, see the March 2011 issue.

Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on marine products for serious sailors for more than 45 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising or any form of compensation from manufacturers whose products we test. Testing is carried out by a team of experts from a wide range of fields including marine electronics, marine safety, marine surveying, sailboat rigging, sailmaking, engineering, ocean sailing, sailboat racing, and sailboat construction and design. This diversity of expertise allows us to carry out in-depth, objective evaluation of virtually every product available to serious sailors. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser with more than three decades of experience as a marine writer, photographer, boat captain, and product tester. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.


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