Getting to the bottom of eco friendly paints
As boat owners, there are some simple decisions we can make, that make a big difference to the environment. One of the biggies is choosing a more environmentally friendly type of antifouling paint, and being careful when you apply it.
Ron Brown of Altex Coatings explains that new restrictions on antifouling paints came into effect last year, which removes the most damaging materials from antifouls. He says that while there is no antifoul paint that is 100% safe, big steps are being made in the development of better, safer formulations, and as these technologies are introduced, the most damaging materials can be removed.
Recently Altex introduced to the local market a new water-based copper based antifouling called Hydrocoat.
This product represents the early steps in water borne marine paint technologies that we can expect to come to the market over the next 8-12 years, for both above the water coatings and antifouling paints.
At present, the most environmentally friendly antifouling paints available in New Zealand are the single pack synthetic, copper-based antifouls, which are suitable for application to most types of boats including aluminium, and sail drives, outboard motors and stern legs. This is a hard scrubable product, available in bright clean colours, and performs as well as traditional soft and hard copper-based products.
Interestingly, Ron says that in 2007, up to 80% of boat owners would employ a tradesperson to paint their boat’s bottom, but since the recession, this has dropped to 35%. That means that most boat owners are using a DIY approach to applying their own antifoul. Hence it is recommended they seek an update on the latest antifouling surface preparation and application requirements under the new EPA regulations. One way to do this is to ring the Altex Coatings helpline on 0800 429 527.
When you are cleaning up, rather than trying to wash your brushes and roller sleeve with aromatic solvents which are expensive and hazardous both to the environment and to your environment, Ron suggests simply throwing the brushes and sleeves away, and buying a new one next time.