Eco-boat. Eco-paint. An overview of environmentally-friendly paints


Stringent government regulations are increasingly being imposed on the toxic substances allowed in boat bottom coatings, forcing yacht owners to change the way they both paint and maintain boat bottoms. On the other hand, boat bottom coatings need to have some level of “toxicity” (specifically, they create a zone of toxicity around the hull) in order to keep marine organisms at bay. After all, if barnacles, seaweed and algae are allowed to gain a foothold on the bottom of a boat, the resulting drag can decrease a boat’s ability to manoeuvre and its speed while increasing fuel consumption by as much as 30%. Worst, they will eventually penetrate and damage the hull.

Hence, a lengthy article about eco-friendly boat coatings and paint in WindCheck is well worth reading as the representatives of leading eco-friendly boat coating products were asked about their paint products. Specifically, the WindCheck article covered the following products intended for boats kept in the waters of the North-eastern USA:

  • Interlux. Interlux has paint products and paint system choices for most boaters and boatyards with its newest product being Pacifica Plus – a copper-free antifouling that uses a biocide called Econea to control barnacles and zinc pyrithione to control slime. Pacifica Plus pain will wear down with use. Hence, the longevity of the coating will depend upon the amount applied.

  • Pettit. Hydrocoat and Vivid are two popular eco-friendly boat bottom paints used by Pettit. Hydrocoat’s water-dispersion formula means that it comes with the lowest VOC (volatile organic compound) levels available – making it an attractive paint for boatyards and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). Moreover, Hydrocoat’s low solvent content allows the paint to be applied inside without the accompanied harsh paint fumes. Meanwhile, Pettit Vivid contains only 25% Copper Thiocyanate and its small environmental footprint is a major reason why the company has been promoting it heavily for several years now and its considered to be fastest growing eco-friendly boat bottom paint on the market.
  • Coppercoat. Coppercat is compliant with current International Maritime Organization (IMO) and US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. However and like other good antifouling products, it cannot be applied over existing bottom coatings.
  • EPaint. The ePaint Company is currently the only firm solely focused on developing and marketing environmentally preferred copper-free marine bottom paints which use a proprietary photo-active technology to keep boat hulls clean using sunlight. Moreover, ePaint’s products can be applied directly over existing boat coatings.
  • Aquaguard. Aquaguard’s paints still use cuprous oxide as its biocide but its paints also require less copper, contain no harsh solvents and can be applied indoors. Hence, Aquaguard’s water-based paint reduces the risk of toxic solvent exposure plus its approved by both the US and Canadian EPA.

Given that antifouling hull coatings with large amounts of oxide have been illegal for recreational boats in some northern European countries for several years while the USA’s EPA is recommending that boatyards and boat owners use non-toxic boat bottom paints, its definitely time to consider eco-friendly boat bottom coatings and paint. Hence, the entire (and very lengthy) article about eco-friendly boat coatings in WindCheck magazine is well worth reading.