Getting to the Bottom of Paint – Report 1 – August Results

Last winter we approached the Roger Williams University Marine & Natural Sciences Department asking them if they would be interested in supporting an Anti-Fouling Bottom Paint test.  Together we developed a plan to test 20+ bottom paints in 5 locations.  Now, halfway through the data collection, we are fascinated by the early results. As expected, the different locations have yielded very different results – and while there is not a stand-out leader, there are some early conclusions to recognize, as certain formulas of paint seem to be out-performing others. The big takeaway at this midpoint is: no one antifouling paint is at the top of the results in all testing locations. And location matters.

What we’ve learned so far:  

  • The control samples came in last!  (which makes good sense)
  • Fouling growth varies greatly from harbor to harbor. (See the control panel comparison)
  • None of the paints worked well in every location
  • Many paints worked well in some locations, but not all.  (We’ll share the results from each harbor when the testing is finished and the dust clears later this season)
  • These are results after 3 months in New England.  Some antifouling paints are designed to work for 6-12 months and their worth may not show after 3.

Key findings so far:

  • Harbors with the most current had the most growth.
  • Copper-free paints can work as well or better than those with copper
  • Water based paints can work as well or better than solvent based paints.

We’re investing in building the biggest database of marine geo-conditions in order to make the best line of bottom paints as well as be able to make accurate recommendations to customers about the type of bottom paint that will truly perform best for them. We’d love YOUR contribution to this effort in order to build the most comprehensive resource for boaters available. Get involved by taking the Post Season Survey and tell us how your choice of bottom paint performed this year.  Continue reading

Bottom Paint Research – Mid Season Update

This spring we told you about the RWU marine science students who had been busy building barges and painting panels with bottom paints to test. That was quite a process, but it’s nothing compared to their current and most recently quite busy process, with biweekly visits to each of the 5 barge locations. Every other week they check on every single panel, recording each panel’s growth, and any and all changes with notes and photos. They then swipe them clean and back into the water they go.

Jamestown Distributors will learn a lot from these scientist’s findings once all the data has been collected. We will receive a report on their findings and use the results to help us better advise our customers on which paint will perform better based on location, use and other factors. We like to think we are the experts on bottom paint, from our customer service advisors, to actually manufacturing our own TotalBoat bottom paints.  With this insight we will do a much better job as our knowledge base increases. Early results point – as expected – to the great differences in growth according to boat location. What works in one harbor might not work in your own area.

In case you thought we’re giving it all away before you’ve even watched the video, don’t worry! The students have taken this study to a whole new level and we are thrilled to have been able to film them as they build and check the barges. But the real carrot at the end here will be the results. And just like you, we can’t wait to learn about what the RWU students learned.

in the meantime, please become a part of the study and enter your own pre-season info into our short survey. Plugging in these customers survey results alongside the RWU research will present a very powerful picture at the end of the season. Be a part of it! Take the survey now and when you haul your boat later this season – circle back and fill in your own results. It’s all science and it all helps us help you find the most effective bottom paint for your boat.

The Science of Bottom Paint: Get Involved!

 

Jamestown Distributors has been selling bottom paint for nearly 40 years and as a top seller of most major brands, we are excited to be teaming up with the Roger Williams University bio-science and marine science department to study a wide range of bottom paints and evaluate their performance. Jamestown has been collecting bottom paint data for years from our customers to learn which paints work in what harbors and on what boats. Your input to this data collection is so important and we hope you will take the time to enter the info about your own bottom paint choice for this season by participating in our Bottom Paint Survey.

Your data will augment the work being done by the RWU students who are conducting this very thorough testing of 22 brands of antifouling bottom paints over the summer and into the fall.  This video shows how they planned and constructed the 10 barges which they placed in 5 locations around SE New England. Before the science even started, they were into a major project centered around the scientific process and how to design and construct sturdy barges and a research process that would get the job done and produce reliable results.

TotalBoat bottom paints are, of course, a part of the RWU independent study and while some manufacturers might not want to hear about how their paint stacks up, we are anxious to hear about which paints work and which don’t – not only in the TB brand, but across the board. Because what better way is there to improve upon and nail the winning formula for antifouling, than understanding what works, what doesn’t work, and where.

So hop over to our Bottom Paint Survey and check out the simple questions. It won’t take long to compete it and you will feel like an expert marine biologist knowing that you are helping the science of improving bottom paint formulas. And next year your own bottom will be that much cleaner. (yeah – no one likes a dirty bottom….. we get it.)

Here’s a sneak peek at a panel we looked at today…. new video coming soon about midseason progress on the bottom paint barges…. stay tuned!

Bottom Paint Testing with a Little Help from Our Friends

Last summer we launched our own bottom paint testing program. We learned a lot, improved some of our own paint formulas and we’re back at it for the 2015 boating season.

Putting 22 different bottom paints on 10 floats, the “barges” will be installed in pairs in 5 New England locations, and their growth and performance will be monitored throughout the summer. This season, we have enlisted the help of the Roger William University Environmental Science students. Under the direction of Environmental Studies professor, Dr. Scott Rutherford, the students are building these 10 barges with flotation and will be using a spreadsheet to keep track of the different bottom paints/ barge locations/ water temps/ currents and the coverage of fouling organisms on over 200 panels. The ten barges will be set up in a variety of locations and the panels will be pulled, documented and rotated every 2 weeks. The RWU team has really taken this testing to a new level, as they plan to weigh each of the 720 panels every 2 weeks and record that weight with notes about the percentage of fouling organisms found on the test panel.

Each panel – as you will see in the photos – is numbered and that number corresponds to a spreadsheet listing the actual bottom paint brand used on it. No one will know which paints are on which panels – until the end – and each panel will be moved to a different location on its barge when they are pulled every 2 weeks.

Watch this space for the progression, photos and eventually results of the experiment. And feel free to participate on your own by recording your boat’s bottom paint type, your location, the growth you witness and more by signing up to be AN ANTIFOULER! We are proud to be spearheading this gold standard of bottom paint testing using TotalBoat brands and most of the major brands used by boaters nationwide. By learning about what works and doesn’t work in the antifouling world, we can formulate more effective and less toxic paint formulas and have happy bottoms and a healthy ocean.

Get involved! Be a Test Subject. (takes 5 minutes, tops!)

2015 Bottom Paint Study Summary

Summary: RWU Bottom Paint Study 2015

WHAT WE TESTED

The best antifouling paint is the one that works best in your boating environment. Our goal was to see which antifouling paints performed best in southern New England waters during a single boating season. This study was conducted by researchers in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Roger Williams University (Bristol, RI) from May to October, 2015.

Antifouling performance can vary not only from location to location, but within different areas of the same location, so we deployed our test panels in locations that varied by a host of factors such as water circulation, salinity, temperature, and biofouling organisms present.

WHERE WE TESTED

To learn as much as possible about how location affects antifouling performance, four rafts containing test panels were deployed in four different locations in the Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island; one raft was placed in Sippican Harbor in Massachusetts. Specific locations are listed below.

Location Environment
Warwick, RI Warwick Cove Harbor with restricted water circulation
Wickford, RI Wickford Harbor adjacent to Mill Cove Harbor with restricted water circulation
Providence, RI India Point Park Head of an estuary, near a major freshwater source, with urban conditions and runoff from land that introduces contaminants and excessive nutrients into the water
Tiverton, RI
The northern Sakonnet River
Open estuary
Marion, MA
At the head of Sippican Harbor
Head of an estuary, surrounded by saltmarsh and mudflats, with very little freshwater input

HOW WE TESTED

Over 700 wooden test panels were primed and painted by Roger Williams University students*, then attached to five rafts for this innovative antifouling paint study using a quantitative study of paint performance, replication to allow statistical analysis, and procedures to simulate boat movement. Each raft contained 144 numbered wooden panels and was set up as follows:

  • 132 panels were coated with TotalBoat TotalProtect Epoxy Primer & barrier coat before antifouling paint was applied. Each of 22 antifouling paints was applied to six panels, for a total of 132.
  • 12 panels served as control measures: 6 were coated with TotalBoat TotalProtect Epoxy Primer & barrier coat only; 6 panels were coated with blue TotalBoat Wet Edge Topside Paint only.

Each panel was numbered so that during the study, testers were not aware of the paint names and brands.


*The Roger Williams University (RWU) students are an independent group paid by RWU, not by Jamestown Distributors.

The rafts were submerged at their various locations beginning in May, 2015. Let the fouling begin!

Every two weeks, the rafts were pulled from the water, panels were removed and photographed for comparison, and the percentage of accumulated soft and hard biofouling coverage was noted.

Before being reattached to the raft, each panel was wiped lightly with a sponge to simulate boat movement through the water and mimic the self-eroding properties of ablative paint. Panels were then put back on the raft randomly in order to minimize the effect of panel location on antifouling performance. The raft was again submerged in the exact location from which it was pulled.

ALL SITES RESULTS 

The charts below indicate biofouling coverage results for all test sites. TotalBoat Krypton copper-free antifouling paint containing Econea™ and boosted with slime-fighting zinc pyrithione received highest marks for performance, with many other TotalBoat antifouling paints performing well against competing brands. See our TotalBoat Antifouling Paint Compatibility Chart for how to prep previous antifouling coatings for overcoating with TotalBoat antifouling paints.

Coverage Index for All Sites

OTHER CONCLUSIONS

The testing showed that paint performance varied by location, and was affected by local variations in the amount of sunlight, currents, and proximity to other fouled substrates (docks, for example). This goes far to explain why different boaters using the same paint can observe differences in performance at the same marina. To find out what antifouling paint will work best, use our survey data and interactive bottom paint map to see what paint works best in your area. It’s also a great idea to talk to other boaters and to boatyard professionals who are knowledgeable about specific fouling problems.

Since antifouling performance can also vary from season to season, our testing will be ongoing, and as we learn more, we’ll keep improving our paints so you’ll always have the most current information and the most effective products.

Read the FULL ANTIFOULING BOTTOM PAINT STUDY REPORT Here….

GET INVOLVED! TAKE THE SURVEY about how your 2016 bottom paint performed!