Bottom Paint – Fall 2015 Survey & Testing Process

Welcome Aboard

Though we have a great foundation of learning and expertise – we know that with more knowledge, we can bring clarity to the equation. We need to crack the geographical code. By logging growth conditions and paint effectiveness in exact marine locations, we can be more precise in matching boaters with the best antifouling choice. That’s where you come in. (We hope!)

To contribute to developing the most comprehensive antifouling data resource available (and have special access to viewing it), please become part of our Antifouling Discovery Team and take our short Post Season Survey about how your paint performed.

As results are entered in the survey, a LIVE Interactive Map populates, putting each and every result on the map with paint score, comments and boat and user info.  You can read the results of those near you and see which paints are working well for those nearby and which are not! any and all participation is greatly welcome. Then head over to the Bottom Paint Discussion in the JD FORUM and join the ongoing conversation! You can also watch a video about how the test barges were built and another video about how the RWU scientists conducted the bi-weekly site surveys on each of the raft locations.


Our Goal: Create the most comprehensive online resource for antifouling information so that our customers can confidently source cost-effective bottom paint options that will perform BEST based on their specific conditions.

Testing at JD

Over the past 35 years, we’ve assembled a strong network of customer feedback channels that have provided rich information about how bottom paint products perform across a range of conditions and geographical areas. Each season, we also launch a handful of rafts in different locations each containing over 35 different paints. This year, we are teaming up with the Department of Marine Sciences at Roger Williams University to continue our study of antifouling paints and their performances.

READ about the Early Results from the 2015 Bottom Paint Research Project with Roger Williams University.   (So far: Early results from August 2015)

Learn more about the RWU Bottom Paint Barge building and research process

Bottom Paint 101

Bottom paints are applied to combat growth on the bottom of boats. Paints contain different types and amounts of biocides and resins to fight off foul. The options can be overwhelming.
Here’s how we organize our offerings at Jamestown Distributors:

Leaching Type Ablative, Hard or Hybrid
Ablative paints wash away over time, saving you the effort of sanding the previous season’s coating. Hard paints leach out the copper and other biocides but the paint remains on the bottom until sanded off. Hard paints are often used on boats that run at high speeds (over 30kts.) or are left in the water for extended periods of time.

Chemical Base Solvent or Water
Solvent-based bottom paints have been around for many years and have an established proven track record. However, water-based paints also work and make clean up easier. Because they don’t contain solvents, water-based paints are better for the environment.

Biocide type Copper or Copper-Free
Most antifouling paints use copper as the primary biocide. Many also use additional chemical “boosters” or “slime fighters” like Irgarol. Some “copper-free” paints work very well but keep in mind they still are using a biocide (like Econea), it’s just not copper.

Price/Amount of Biocide
Often the price is directly related to the amount of biocide and quality of resins. The more the biocide and better the resins, the higher the price, and the better the antifouling performance.

Common Rules of Thumb

  • Application is very important.  Wet sand whole bottom with a scotchbrite pad or 220 grit to prep surface and apply 2 coats.
  • Motorboats often see less growth than sailboats
  • More use = less growth
  • Warm water / more current often = more growth. Colder water / less current = less growth
  • All areas and levels of foul can be different even if they are just different locations in the same harbor!

Knowledge is Power

  • What did you use last year and did it work?
  • Local recommendations from Marina / Boatyard or neighbors?
  • How does “Bottompaint 101” and “Common Rules of thumb” apply to your boat?
  • Call us!