The Bottom Line

Eco-Friendly Safeguards Your Hull, Environment

FSF Staff November 1, 2015

Going Green has been widely popularized over recent years as we look to implement environmentally‑friendly and ecologically responsible choices in just about every aspect of our daily lives. From the harvest of sustainable food sources and natural resources, to efficient use of water, electricity and waste, the green movement has many benefits including improved air and water quality.

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Yet another move environmentally conscious boaters can make to further the green cause is to consider using bottom paints that produce significantly less VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which when released into the atmosphere can cause long-term wellness issues for both the planet and its inhabitants.

Major sources of man-made VOCs include paints and protective coatings. Solvents are usually required to spread paint, a protective or decorative film on the selected surface. There’s somewhere around 12 billion liters of paint produced annually worldwide, so this is a significant source of VOC emissions. Typical solvents are aliphatic hydrocarbons, ethyl acetate, glycol ethers and acetone. Lower VOC content limits the solvent emissions, and carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide released into the air. Motivated by cost, environmental concerns and tighter regulations, the paint and coating industries are increasingly shifting toward lower VOC levels and water-based solvents.

At the 2014 Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show I met up with Tara Rhein, Marketing Communications Manager for AkzoNobel who manufactures Interlux marine paints, to get a better feel for what going green really mans in boat paint circles. According to Tara, “It’s tough when talking about green paints, because all paints contain chemicals and therefore we don’t like to green-wash our products just to make PR headlines. We do promote the use of environmentally responsible paints, but they can vary depending on the boat owner’s precise definition of green. Biocide-free? Copper-free? Water-based? Low VOC? A slick finish to promote improved fuel efficiency? You get what I’m saying…the levels of green can really vary, depending on what you are trying to accomplish.”

Keeping these parameters in mind, the movement for boat paints to reduce VOCs is definitely starting to gain traction, so let’s take a closer look at some of the latest bottom paint products from Interlux and Pettit that support the movement toward the use of more environmentally-friendly options that greatly lessen our impact.

Interlux Fiberglass Bottomkote Aqua

Features:
Colorfast durable finish
Low VOCs
Low odor
Easy clean up with water
Benefits:
Smooth finish optimizes speed and reduces fuel consumption
Less than 65 grams VOC/liter
Website: yachtpaint.com
MSRP: $184.99/gallon

Pettit Hydrocoat Eco

Features:
Multi-season ablative
Copper-free formula
Latest water-based technology
Benefits:
Self-polishing
Natural Econea biocide
120 grams VOC/liter
Contains PTFE for improved performance
Website: pettitpaint.com
MSRP: $269.99/gallon

Interlux Micron CF

Features:
Multi-season ablative
Copper-free formula
Easy recoating with sanding
Benefits:
Provides maximum fuel savings
Becomes smoother with use
Less than 330 grams VOC/liter
Website: yachtpaint.com
MSRP: $249.99/gallon

Pettit Neptune 5

Features:
Durable smooth finish
Easy clean up with water
Compatible over all bottom paints
Benefits:
Provides maximum fuel savings
Becomes smoother with use
Less than 330 grams VOC/liter
Website: pettitpaint.com
MSRP: $129.00/gallon

Organic Biocide

Historically, ablative bottom paints were solely manufactured with copper. This type of bottom paint thwarts growth by wearing away over time, but simultaneously releases copper into surrounding waters. So much so that the state of Washington recently banned the use of copper bottom paint on recreational vessels, with California likely to follow suit in the near future. With the potential of copper bottom paints being heavily regulated or outlawed altogether, manufacturers have been forced to develop copper-free biocide alternatives to keep your hull clean. Leading the eco-friendly revolution is a new copper-free, organic biocide called Econea that’s registered with the Environmental Protection Agency and now widely used by leading bottom paint manufacturers. Econea based paints weigh less than comparable copper additives and are also ideal for use on aluminum hulls and outboard lower units since the organic biocide doesn’t initiate galvanic corrosion.

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