Do You Need to Bottom Paint?
- If you launch from a trailer, boat for a day, then haul, there is no need for bottom paint. If your boat stays in the water for longer than a few weeks it’s a good
idea to bottom paint. Though some areas will produce less growth than others, generally speaking boats in the water longer than two weeks can lose performance and decrease fuel efficiency due to
growth. Extra growth can also lead to higher costs in cleaning at haul out.
- Low speed vessels do best with an ‘ablative’ paint. This type of paint ‘sloughs’ off while underway constantly renewing the protective surface. Given enough time it
will wear away completely.
- For runabouts and other faster boats it’s traditional to use a hard paint which will hold up better than ablative to high speeds. These paints can be burnished in
the event of racing. Quicker build-up of previous layers of this type of paint requires removal of bottom paint periodically.
- A newer hybrid, or semi-hard ablative paints, are a good compromise given that they still perform like an ablative yet hold up better to higher speeds. Again, given
enough time, these paints will wear away.
For a more in-depth look at paints you can look at Practical Sailor’s bi-annual review of products and their uses at Practical Sailor https://www.practical-sailor.com/boat-maintenance/paints/bottom-paint-test-report-panels-rated-at-the-one-and-two-year-marks