The Bottom Paint Decision – Coastal Angler
Coastal Angler Magazine June 2012
Choosing the right bottom paint can be confusing. For anyone who keeps their vessel in the water more than just occasionally, the decision to paint and protect the bottom of your boat from the marine elements is wrought with trade outs. Reduced speed, and the ongoing maintenance of repainting are serious considerations that seemed to be just part of the overall downside of the use of bottom paint. There’s also the ecological considerations with bottom paints. They leach out fairly toxic levels of copper and booster biocides; that’s what makes them work, but that’s also what makes them dangerous to the local environment.
This year before making the decision to repaint, I conducted a thorough research on available bottom paints and discovered a unique entry into the bottom paint field.
Eco-Clad offered by Luritek has changed my opinion of bottom paint. I actually picked up about 7 knots on my top end. That’s a shocker because nothing else on the vessel changed.
According to their website Eco-Clad antifouling bottom paint is based on breakthrough biotechnology designed to work with nature to repel and prevent hard fouling. It is a new class of paint that works on the principle of biomimicry; emulating nature’s method. When introduced into the water, a biofilm grows on the Eco-Clad® paint surface. The paint is a food source for a preferred set of local and naturally occurring organisms that form the biofilm. Much like the slime on a fish, the biofilm repels and prevents hard fouling, keeping the boat bottom clean. The slick surface also reduces hull drag, allowing the boat to move more easily and quickly through the water with less fuel demand.
Eco-Clad contains a two-part epoxy resin which is a food source for the biofilm and high purity metallic copper which acts as a micronutrient. It does not contain toxic booster biocides and copper leach rates are demonstrated to be lower than the U.S. Navy targets for low copper solutions.
Eco-Clad has no VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Most antifouling paints are more than half solvent and have a strong smell when applied, but Eco-Clad is 100% solids.
Download PDF version of this article from Coastal Angler MagazineMost bottom paints require ongoing maintenance to assure performance. Studies indicated that Eco-Clad coatings typically need about a third of the maintenance required by traditional coatings.
Less maintenance, environmentally safer and increased speed (reduced drag). I’m thinking they’ve got a winner.