Detoxify Your Boat©
Marine pollution originates from many sources, but in the public view, the most visible source of pollution comes from boats. Pollution from boating can be considered direct and indirect. Direct pollution can be attributed to; combustion exhaust, sewerage discharge, and toxic bottom paint. Indirect pollution can be attributed to; fuel spills, boatyard runoff, and illegal discharge of wastes. This paper addresses ways to eliminate pollution sources from toxic antifouling bottom paint. Fuel spills and engine exhaust are beyond the scope of this paper. Although most boaters are more ecologically aware than the rest of society, more can be done to minimize the impact on the environment from marine activities
Traditional antifouling paint relies upon copper suspended in a paint coating to prevent attachment of marine organisms. This coating is toxic for all living organisms; therefore marine growth will not attach itself to a bottom coated with traditional antifouling paint. Tin has been used in place of copper to provide an alternative toxin, but is much more toxic than copper based paint. The U.S. government has banned the use of tin-based antifouling paint for use by recreational boaters because of the toxicity of the product.
Copper based antifouling paint will loose its toxicity while in the water! Proof of this statement comes every spring when a new coat or two of antifouling paint is applied to every boat before launching for the boating season. Where does this toxicity go? The toxicity is dissolved into the water where marine organisms eat it and die. These organisms, along with particles of poison, eventually settle to the bottom and kill off other marine life in the food chain.
Some antifouling paint is ablative, meaning it wears off in the water. The idea behind this is to provide a fresh coating of toxic copper to the water surface which doesn't give the marine organisms something durable to hold onto. Once again the toxic copper is entering the environment. Divers are often employed to scrub the bottom of boat hulls to remove algae type slime which then releases paint toxins into the water environment
Every spring is the annual ritual of sanding the old paint to put on new paint. This process releases toxic dust onto the boatyard pavement or gravel, then rainstorms and melting snow wash this dust into the marine environment further damaging the ecosystem. Boatyards in the most fragile marine areas have been forced to shut down operations or pave the entire boatyard with asphalt and collect the runoff for HAZMAT disposal. Soon all boatyards will be required to implement this change. Many will go out of business due to the cost of these upgrades. Many already have.
Step 1: Remove all of the old copper antifouling paint.
Step 2: Prepare and seal the hull.
Step 3: Apply the antifouling paint.
e paint® product offerings are:
EP2000 is a water-based antifouling paint offering an exceptionally smooth, hard and flexible finish.
EP2000 is perfect for the racer who desires the fastest, cleanest, and whitest bottom, and is available in white and gray.
E Paint ZO (EPA Registration #64684-4) is a high performance antifouling paint providing a hard, smooth finish and is recommended for use on commercial and recreational vessels. Hauling and relaunching should not affect coating performance. It is available in white, blue, green, gray, black, and red.
EP21 is a soft ablative photoactive paint recommended for use on aluminum substrates including aluminum hulls, outboards, out drives, and trim tabs. It may be applied over traditional antifouling paints and will not promote electrolysis. It is easily applied by traditional painting techniques with no maximum dry-to-launch times.
Friday Day 1: Strip paint. Sand and apply first coat of CPES or barrier coat epoxy.
Saturday Day 2: Apply second and third epoxy coat or first or second coat of e paint.
Sunday Day 3: Finish applying e paint
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The author, Steve Ray, is President of Star Distributing and has over 20 years of experience in classic boat restoration.
This article written by Steve Ray ©2004, All rights reserved.
e paint®, CPES™, High Build Epoxy Paint™, After Strip™, and Back to Nature® Marine products listed in this restoration guide are available from:
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