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Antifouling Best Practices for Your Boat

To maintain your boat in good condition, some steps are essential, such as the application of antifouling. What is the purpose of antifouling? Which antifouling should you choose? When should you do this? Let us explain!

What is antifouling?

Antifouling is a paint applied to the bottom of a boat, to  protect the hull, and occasionally to the propeller.

Antifouling releases biocide toxins, which discourages the growth of marine life on the bottom of a boat, such as seaweed and barnacles.  The purpose of this is to protect the boat’s gelcoat, but also to improve its performance. When, marine growth adheres to the hull, it damages the gelcoat over the years. It can also reduce the boat’s speed, which may mean greater fuel consumption. So, proper antifouling is essential to prevent the boat suffering from wear prematurely and it should be done regularly.

Antifouling should not be confused with careening, which needs to be done before applying antifouling. Careening involves cleaning the hull in three steps:

  • Lifting: the boat is lifted out of the water with a crane  
  • Cleaning: the hull is cleaned with a high-pressure water jet
  • Scraping: shellfish and molluscs attached to the hull are removed with a stripper or scraper.

The process must be carried out in this order and once the boat hull is clean, the antifouling can be applied on the hull area below the water line.

Which is the right antifouling for your boat? 

There are several types of antifouling, such as self-polishing, hard matrix and, more recently, biocide-free antifouling. When choosing, you should take these four factors into account:

  • Type of boat: Is the boat fast or slow?
  • Boat’s use: Does the boat stay in the harbour all year round or is it wintered?
  • How often it is used: occasionally or frequently?
  • Where do you go boating: warm waters, cold waters, tides, currents, fresh water, seawater, or areas with tough conditions?

Since the boating grounds are the most important of the above, we recommend that you ask your local BENETEAU boat dealer for advice.

These factors will also affect the durability of the antifouling. This is why it is difficult to indicate accurately how long you should wait between antifouling applications. We recommend that you check the condition of the antifouling before the boating season begins.

Some tips on how to apply antifouling 

For BENETEAU boats, the antifouling most frequently applied is self-eroding, designed to wear away over time. 

The best thing to do is to apply several coats of self-eroding antifouling, but in different colours. For example, apply a primary grey coat, then two coats of black and then finish with a red coat. These coats will act as a control and when the primary antifouling coat reappears, you will know that it’s time to renew the paint.

At BENETEAU, our dealers take care of antifouling our new boats. A primary EPOXY coat is applied to the gelcoat and they cover this with a second coat of antifouling.

You will have realized by now that proper antifouling is crucial to keeping your boat in good condition and your passengers safe.If you would like to learn more about antifouling, your local BENETEAU boat dealer will be happy to answer all your questions.