Mar 02, 2015

What You Should Know About Boat Bottom Painting

Boat bottom painting is such an integral part of routine boat maintenance. There are books, websites and business dedicated to just this single aspect of boat maintenance. There is no need to guess. We have provided a full guide regarding boat bottom painting.

If you have any other questions, reach out to us personally: (954) 941-6447.

Keeping a boat in dry dock is a good way to keep its hull in pristine condition. However, boats and yachts kept in the water must have bottom paint applied every 12 to 16 months to avoid hull degradation. This investment can cost thousands of dollars each year, so boat owners should be knowledgeable about the process, product options and quality of workmanship. Watch our Bottom Painting Maintenance Video NEED THAT VIDEO LINK FROM JOSH.

Beneath the Surface - Why Boat Bottom Painting is Necessary

The purpose of bottom painting is to protect the boat from fouling damage caused by underwater organisms that attach to surfaces including fiberglass and metal.

In a relatively short time, fouling builds up, creating a drag on the boat’s surface that impedes performance and damages the vessel’s props and other working parts exposed to water. Bottom cleaning is imperative, but the process damages hull paint and, over time, will compromise hull integrity if not properly painted.

Indicators that painting is needed:

  • Paint is missing from sections of the boat
  • Grey primer is starting to show
  • There is more growth than usual on a monthly basis, which indicates the bottom paint is no longer effective
  • Blisters are present on the hull bottom
  • Demystifying the Boat Bottom Painting Process

If pulling the boat every 12 months for bottom paint, only one coat of paint is needed. However, if looking for a 2 to 3 year haul out schedule, 2 to 3 coats of bottom paint will be needed to ensure the hull is protected while staying in the water for that extended amount of time.

Stripping or sanding away all the bottom paint is not necessary. It is only necessary to sand to an even, smooth surface upon which to apply fresh bottom paint. Where paint is missing, the application of new primer will be required.

Bottom Painting Process:

  • Determine the waterline if previously unpainted
  • Dewax, if previously unpainted
  • Clean
  • Strip - if needed
  • Inspect
  • Repair
  • Sand
  • Spray the hull down with water to remove any remaining bottom paint dust
  • Apply Barrier Coating (Primer)
  • Apply Paint

Hiring Professional Boat & Yacht Bottom Painters

Expect to pay a few thousand for a good boat or yacht bottom paint job. Don’t cut corners. Your warranty may depend on it. The cost of a well prepped bottom and a quality paint applied to your vessel is exactly as your mother would say, “you get what you pay for”.

Spending a little more for more top-quality prep and bottom paint will protect the integrity of the hull and protect your asset. Make sure the boat yard is licensed and insured, and that it has the right equipment and professionals to haul out, prep and paint your boat.

The cost of the haul out and bottom paint per foot should be specified and any additional charges identified. Inquire as to whether the boatyard will charge additionally for any of the following: 

  • Hauling the boat
  • Blocking the boat
  • Bottom prep (sanding)
  • Materials used to complete the bottom paint and bottom prep
  • Electric
  • Labor to remove and replace zincs
  • Cost of the zincs

How to Choose the Best Boat Bottom Paint for the Job

Antifouling paint comes in many variations and brand names. Most regions will have preferred brands and boat owners will usually ask around before choosing a paint brand. Ask yourlocal South Florida marina and they will likely give you the same list we have here as a starting point.

South Florida waters are little warmer and tend to be on the harsh side of the spectrum, meaning you should choose the best boat bottom paint to handle these waters.

Some of the most popular brands of boat bottom paint are: 

  • Interlux Micron 66
  • Pettit Trinidad
  • Duralux Marine aluminum boat paint
  • West Marine CPP abrasive antifouling

Yacht Management South Florida values its clients in and out of the yard. Since most of our clients hire us to maintain their vessels after work is finished at the yard, our commitment is to provide a worry-free boating experience, and our priority is to obtaining peak performance.

The Yacht Management Service Center, located on Fort Lauderdale’s New River, has an 80-Ton Travelift® to haul out boats up to around 100 ft., and we use top quality products. Our divers, mechanics, painters and electricians are all certified, and we are licensed and insured for your protection.

Back to News & Media