Boat Bottom Painting in Pensacola, FL

A boat is often a source of pride and joy to its owner. It not only allows for treasured memories to be made, but is also a reflection of hard work and success. Naturally, you want your boat to look sharp at all times because its appearance reflects how well it is maintained. In fact, ensuring your boat’s aesthetic appeal and protecting it from damage can go hand in hand. And while the area below the surface may not always be visible, it is extremely important in terms of maintenance. Your boat’s bottom paint is the first line of defense from marine microorganisms. Applying a boat bottom paint, also known as antifouling, helps keep barnacles, plants and other types of organisms from attaching to and damaging the hull, affecting its performance, durability and appearance.

What Type of Bottom Paint is Best?

The hull of a boat is a vital structural component. It must keep water out to keep the vessel seaworthy. Barnacles, muscles, sea plants, etc. can attach themselves and compromise the hull. Applying antifouling paint helps slow the growth, making it easier to detach them. If your boat spends little time sitting in the water and is dry or trailer stored, bottom paint is not required. If you choose to bottom paint, then a Copolymer ablative is the best option. It is a softer, self-polishing paint that contains biocides. The movement of the boat through the water causes the outer layer to wear away, allowing for the exposure of fresh, unoxidized paint. Once the boat is back on dry land, the paint will begin to oxidize within 72 hours. When you place the vessel back in the water, the process begins again. The constant wearing away of the outer layer prevents flora, barnacles and other sea life from attaching to the hull. Ablative paints are not suitable for speedier boats as the process would be expedited resulting in too much paint removal.

For an aluminum boat, paints containing cuprous oxide should never be used. Aluminum safe paints include ones that are copper-free or made with cuprous thiocyanate.

For boats that are kept in the water year-round, a hard modified epoxy paint is your best option. This type of bottom paint does not easily wear off. It is very durable and abrasion-resistant. Hard modified epoxy paint does have a high copper content. Some boat owners choose a compost copper technology (which has a reduced copper content), for environmental reasons.

If your boat currently has vinyl paint on the bottom, then your choice is already made. Vinyl paint can only be applied over previous vinyl paint. Vinyl paints produce a lower friction surface making them popular with boat speed boat and sailboat owners. The speed at which vinyl paint dries is another desirable trait.

Does Your Boat's Paint Need a Refresh?

What Is Involved in Boat Bottom Painting?

There are many steps in the process of bottom painting your boat. First, check the manufacturer’s instructions. Newer boats will require dewaxing, but older boats do not. Before starting, make sure that you have the proper protective gear. This includes a respirator, eye protection, gloves and clothing that keeps your skin safe.

  • Begin a thorough de-waxing with a good solvent
  • Sand down the hull. If old paint is present, it must be sanded down to reveal a smooth surface.
  • Apply a barrier coating to prevent water absorption
  • While the barrier coating is still tacky, begin the application of the anti-fouling paint

If your boat is older but the hull is in fair condition, you will just need to sand/scrape any loose paint prior to recoating.

When is the Best Time to Bottom Paint?

Again, it is always a good practice to read and follow the manufacturer's suggestions on your paint container. Other than the obvious task of checking the forecast for rain, there are other factors to be considered in deciding when to start the project. Most will agree the ideal time to paint is after the morning dew has evaporated. The relative humidity is another consideration. Temperatures between 50-90 degrees are preferable as well. You should also avoid painting in direct sunlight. Doing so can cause the paint to dry too quickly making it more difficult to apply.

Pensacola Shipyard has Your Bottom Boat Painting Options

Keeping your boat clean and maintained under the waterline is important to keep it performing at its top level. Marine microorganisms left unaddressed can also affect your boat’s durability. Successful boat bottom painting has many variables to be considered. If you are not sure of where to begin, Pensacola Shipyard has on-site independent contractors with years of experience. Choose from one of the many industry experts and leave the hard work in their capable hands. If you prefer to do the job yourself, we are the perfect facility.

Our ample workspace, tool rentals and security make Pensacola Shipyard the ideal place for you to tackle all of your boat’s maintenance needs.