How important is a barnacle-free prop to you? Propspeed, a product from Oceanmax (available through West Marine), claims to keep the metal below your waterline as clean as a whistle—but at a price many boat owners aren’t likely to pay.
Billed as an environmentally safe antifouling coating free from copper, tin, or any other toxic substances, Propspeed prevents marine growth from attaching to metal surfaces below the waterline (props, shafts, bow thrusters, rudders, etc.) via “low critical surface tension.” In other words, it works by being super slick.
The cost of being environmentally friendly and having a shiny, slick shaft? A whopping $395 for a 34-ounce kit ($170 for an 8.4-ounce kit and $275 for a 17-ounce kit).
Past experiences have left us skeptical of metal anti-foulants—most have a hard time sticking to the surfaces. So we’re going to put Propspeed through its paces on a sailboat and a powerboat to see how well it keeps marine growth at bay. Watch for an update in a future PS issue.
A Propspeed kit includes a catalyzed etching primer and a silicone-based top coat. The primer is a two-part coating (base and hardener) for use on nonferrous metals such as bronze and aluminum, as well as zinc and galvanized iron. Surface prep calls for cleaning off all marine growth, sanding with 60- to 80-grit paper, washing the with water, then wiping with denatured alcohol or acetone.
Oceanmax recommends using two people for application: one to apply the primer, a second to apply the Clear Coat after the base dries (three to five minutes). Re-launch time is a minimum of eight hours after application.
PROPSPEED, propspeedusa.com, 877/987-7333