Rating Paint Panels

New panels are prepared for launching on Sarasota Bay


The paint samples were applied to 6-foot-by-2-foot fiberglass panels for testing. Testers follow the makers’ instructions for preparation and application. There were 11 samples per test panel. All but four samples had two coats of paint.

Prior to rating the paints, testers sluice the panels with a bucket of salt water. Paints were rated Excellent (no growth), Good (light soft growth), Fair (moderate to heavy soft growth), and Poor (hard growth). Any paint rated Fair or better is continuing to meet its designed purpose.

A Recommended paint performed best overall or rated best among its specialized peers (best aluminum-safe paint, best water-based paint, best racing paint, etc.). The Budget Buy paints are the least expensive among Recommended paints.

Any antifouling test is subject to a number of variables, and we recommend supplementing our data with local knowledge from independent sources. How and where you use your boat, as well as the maintenance regimen, can have an effect on longevity and performance.

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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