Home made Anti-fouling?


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Alex Blackwell
Alex Blackwell
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Has anyone here any experience making up their own anti-fouling paint?

On a face book page a suggestion was made to add copper powder to marine paint as a cheap and effective anti-fouling. Copper powder is readily available and not too expensive. My thought would be to add this to the cheapest anti-fouling paint (because of its ablative characteristics).

Has anyone tried this? If so how good is it.

My reason for asking is that we cannot obtain Pettit Trinidad SR here in Ireland. This worked extremely well for us - we have not had to repaint our boat 's bottom for over five years - and still no fouling. It has a lot of copper in it.
Simon Currin
Simon Currin
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Alex,
Essentially that 's what copper coat is I think except they use epoxy instead of paint. Presumably there is some regulation around the amount of copper that is released or, at least, its rate of release. Never tried home made but our coppercoat has been very successful.
Simon
Alex Blackwell
Alex Blackwell
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By way of a follow-up on my question, we did try amking our own antifouling this way:

I went to a ship's chandlery and bought a 5 litre drum of the cheapest antifouling pait they had. An argument ensued with the chandler, who knew me and knew our boat. He tried very hard to disuade me as the paint was useless (his words). I wanted it for its sluffing characteristics. That year I mixed 1 pound of copper powder to a litre of paint. The copper powder was obtained on Aazon, but is also readily available on ebay. It is a fine chemical grade powder.

two years later we hauled out boat and there ws a small cluster of mussels on the SSB transducer and surprisingly few barnacles on the prop (unpainted). Otherwise the hull wasperfectly clean.

We gave the hull a quick sand with 80 grit paper, just to add ome structure to the coating and added  fresh coating - this time 1/2 pound of copper per litre. After two years in water in Galicia, where there is very heavy fouling, we hauled out in Vigo. No need to powerwash or anything. the hull was spotless. There was heavy fouling on the prop, which we scraped off, but nothing else. we applied a single thin coating iof the same mix as before.

This autumn we hauled out back in Ireland. the manager asked if he should powerwash our hull. I asked "why". He then looked at our hull - nothing. 

so yes, unless your boat is made out of aluminium, this is certainly a great solution.

Dick
Dick
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Alex Blackwell - 11/21/2019
By way of a follow-up on my question, we did try amking our own antifouling this way:

I went to a ship's chandlery and bought a 5 litre drum of the cheapest antifouling pait they had. An argument ensued with the chandler, who knew me and knew our boat. He tried very hard to disuade me as the paint was useless (his words). I wanted it for its sluffing characteristics. That year I mixed 1 pound of copper powder to a litre of paint. The copper powder was obtained on Aazon, but is also readily available on ebay. It is a fine chemical grade powder.

two years later we hauled out boat and there ws a small cluster of mussels on the SSB transducer and surprisingly few barnacles on the prop (unpainted). Otherwise the hull wasperfectly clean.

We gave the hull a quick sand with 80 grit paper, just to add ome structure to the coating and added  fresh coating - this time 1/2 pound of copper per litre. After two years in water in Galicia, where there is very heavy fouling, we hauled out in Vigo. No need to powerwash or anything. the hull was spotless. There was heavy fouling on the prop, which we scraped off, but nothing else. we applied a single thin coating iof the same mix as before.

This autumn we hauled out back in Ireland. the manager asked if he should powerwash our hull. I asked "why". He then looked at our hull - nothing. 

so yes, unless your boat is made out of aluminium, this is certainly a great solution.

Hi Alex, Simon and all,
It sounds like adding copper powder to bottom paint is exactly what paint manufacturers were banned from doing because it was so bad for the ocean/environment. If that is accurate, then I would wish to discourage skippers from going this route. To me there is no question that adding copper powder would work and make a difference at discouraging anything alive from growing on a boat’s bottom, but that is also the problem: at what cost to the environment?
There is an alternative: I would probably suggest that skippers figure a way to scrub their bottoms (or have it done) with whatever regularity is necessary. This should be possible even in colder waters as skippers should, to my way of thinking, always have the necessary equipment (wet or dry suits) to be able to enter the water and work for a period of time (propeller wraps being a common enough occurrence). This scrubbing should not be as much of an ecological problem if bottom paint choices are made with that in mind and the location where the scrubbing takes place is well flushed with tide and/or current.
I think it could also be argued that it is a good idea to dive on your bottom with some degree of regularity during a season: if only to check zincs, clean speedos etc. You never know what you find. Once I found 3-4 wraps around the prop of 3/8” line, not enough to really notice in boat speed under power but certainly decreased the efficiency of the prop.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Alex Blackwell
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Dick - 11/21/2019

Hi Alex, Simon and all,
It sounds like adding copper powder to bottom paint is exactly what paint manufacturers were banned from doing because it was so bad for the ocean/environment. If that is accurate, then I would wish to discourage skippers from going this route. To me there is no question that adding copper powder would work and make a difference at discouraging anything alive from growing on a boat’s bottom, but that is also the problem: at what cost to the environment?

Dick
Thatis actually quite incorrect what you are writing. Copper has never been an issue. As a fisheries biologist and someone deeply involved with shellfish culture and on the board of an Oyster fishermen's cooperative, this is something I have been following closely since the beginning.
What is a severe problem are organo-metal compounds. The most commonly used of these is tributyltin or TBT. There are still places in the world where this (very effective) antifoulant is readily available and commercial shipping still uses is. TBT is banned in most waters, including in all of Europe and the Americas. TBD causes severe deformities in shellfish and will wipe out entire shellfish beds in exceedingly low concentrations. Copper, on the other hand, is naturally in the seawater. Yes, it is an effective antifoulant in high concentrations such as in absolute immediat proximity, but once diluted it shows no known adverse effect.
I hope this clarifies the issue.

Dick
Dick
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Alex Blackwell - 11/21/2019
Dick - 11/21/2019

Hi Alex, Simon and all,
It sounds like adding copper powder to bottom paint is exactly what paint manufacturers were banned from doing because it was so bad for the ocean/environment. If that is accurate, then I would wish to discourage skippers from going this route. To me there is no question that adding copper powder would work and make a difference at discouraging anything alive from growing on a boat’s bottom, but that is also the problem: at what cost to the environment?

Dick
Thatis actually quite incorrect what you are writing. Copper has never been an issue. As a fisheries biologist and someone deeply involved with shellfish culture and on the board of an Oyster fishermen's cooperative, this is something I have been following closely since the beginning.
What is a severe problem are organo-metal compounds. The most commonly used of these is tributyltin or TBT. There are still places in the world where this (very effective) antifoulant is readily available and commercial shipping still uses is. TBT is banned in most waters, including in all of Europe and the Americas. TBD causes severe deformities in shellfish and will wipe out entire shellfish beds in exceedingly low concentrations. Copper, on the other hand, is naturally in the seawater. Yes, it is an effective antifoulant in high concentrations such as in absolute immediat proximity, but once diluted it shows no known adverse effect.
I hope this clarifies the issue.

Hi Alex, Yes, it does. I thought copper was one of the metals that were banned from being in bottom paint. thanks for the clarification. Dick
GO

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