Expert advice

How do antifoulings work?

Antifouling is the most common (and arguably the most important) painting job carried out by boat owners. It is vital to protect your boat through antifouling, as once fouling has a hold on your hull it will rapidly colonise the surface, making it difficult to remove. Applying an antifouling paint will prevent the attachment of fouling organisms, such as barnacles, weeds and slime, to the hull of your boat – a fouled hull can cause serious problems, therefore prevention is much better than cure.

Antifouling paints work by delivering a controlled, steady release of biocide (such as copper) from the paint surface into the microscopic layer of water next to the hull. It is this layer of biocide that stops the fouling from settling. Modern antifouling paints are specifically formulated to release just the right amount of biocide to keep the surface clean throughout the season, without the need to scrub your boat. It’s simple to control fouling, yet the process is a complex one! The paint must be formulated to release just enough biocide to stop fouling but no more.


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