Bottom Paint Care

Modern anti-fouling paints promise a hull free of marine growth for one to several seasons. But in nutrient-rich water and as the paint becomes expended, barnacles and green stuff take hold, slowing us down, increasing fuel consumption under power, and degrading handling.

Cleaning Your Hull

Before diving into a hull cleaning project, check first what the rules are in your marina. Marinas are regulated under the Clean Water Act and they often have their own policies regarding DIY hull-cleaning.

What About GlowFast Tethers?

In response to your request regarding safety tether knowledge or suggestions (see Safety Tether Warning, Inside Practical Sailor) please test and include information about Glowfasts HLR Safety Line system.

Which Bottom Paint for a Watertender?

I have a West Marine Watertender 9.4 with a polyethylene hull (versus polypropylene for the Walker Bays) and am wondering if there is an anti-fouling paint that is suitable. Looking through the product info for both, the manufacturers both claim that the plastics are slippery enough to not need paint, however, the plastic wrap (unknown material) on the wooden pilings on my own docks in Florida have marine growth on them, so I suspect the same will happen with my Watertender (currently stored on the dock).There are conflicting reports/opinions on various forums as to if there is a paint that would actually stick to the hull, as well as potentially damage the plastic.

Propeller Paints that Last

A cheap, effective antifouling paint for a propeller is as rare as a good pun. The coating must not only ward off all marine growth, it must present a smooth slick surface that can stand up to the constant water friction when the boat is under power. And in the case of a folding prop, the coating must also adhere in nooks and crannies and, in some cases, even withstand metal-to-metal contact. These demands are well beyond the reach of any run-of-the-mill marine coating. Thus, our search for-wait for it-a prop(er) paint.

Durabak Nonskid Coating Long-term Test Update

In the January 2012 issue, we evaluated the application ease and traction performance of do-it-yourself nonskid options. A few months prior to the report, a Practical Sailor tester applied the tests Best Choice pick, Durabak, to the coachroof of his Chesapeake Bay-based 1978 Union 36; this served as a real-world test of the coating systems application ease and coating longevity. That field test has reached the five-year mark, so we wanted to offer an update on the coatings long-term performance.

Dustless Sanding

Responsible boatyard work requires dust collection. Whether its toxic bottom paint or ordinary sanding dust, it still makes a mess and can ruin a neighbors paint job-in-progress. Dustless sanders have hose connections leading to vacuum cleaners, but unless it is a sophisticated vacuum with multi-stage dust separation, those filters clog and dust flies.

Bottom Paint Checkup 2016

A fairly significant change has taken place in the world of antifouling paint for recreational boaters in the United States. Last year, multi-national chemical company BASF decided it would not renew its U.S. license for the pesticide Irgarol. A common additive to copper-based paints, Irgarol helps prevent the growth of algae and other soft growth. Our tests have shown that although Irgarol doesnt lengthen the duration of antifouling protection, it can noticeably help prevent slime growth during the first few months after immersion. As a result of BASFs decision, most manufacturers have a limited supply of Irgarol paints and have been phasing out products that contain it. Paints containing Irgarol are still on store shelves, but these inventories are expected to run out as early as this spring.

Respect for the Mighty Barnacle

While gathering data for this months bottom paint report I took comfort in the notion that Im not the first to have barnacles on the brain. For seven years, Charles Darwin immersed himself in the study of barnacles, and with each passing year, he seemed to become more and more confounded. Darwins consternation-and later, an almost maniacal obsession with the barnacle-is well documented in Rebecca Stotts compelling book Darwin and the Barnacle.

Do-It-Yourself: Seeing Neon Blue

There are simply too many white lights in and around a municipal anchorage. A required white anchor light must have 360-degree visibility. But a white light at the tip of a mast can get lost in the stars or a background of city lights, making it a poor marker for a sailboat 60 feet below. Also, a light in the sky is not in the normal plane of view of other small vessels maneuvering in an anchorage. An additional white light on a stern arch is a better marker, but it also can become camouflaged by city lights onshore and will be obscured, by a small degree, by the mast. But Inland and International Rules state in part no other lights shall be exhibited, except such lights as cannot be mistaken for the lights specified in the Rules, which makes the growing use of LED flashing blue or white lights and non-flashing red, green, and pink lights illegal to use as anchor or on-deck lights. Such lights are easily confused for lighted buoys, channel markers, lighthouses, or police boats.

Hot Water Heater Installation Tips

To keep pipe joints from leaking, use Teflon tape or pipe joint compound, and remember that hose barb-to-hose connections are much easier to make drip-proof with a hose clamp than the same connection made on a threaded pipe stub.