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