It's safe to say that antifouling is one of the most unpopular boat maintenance tasks out there, so how do you make it as painless as possible?
Mylor Chandlery have put together our top 5 tips to turn your boat painting jobs into a plain sailing practice...
Clean The Hull Before Applying Antifoul
The first step is a preparatory one - give your hull a good clean!
Before any of your precious antifoul touches the underside your boat, get out your gloves, sponges, brushes and scrubbing pads and get rid of any dirt, grime or grease clinging to your hull. Cleaning the hull creates a smooth and consistent canvas for your paint and actually giving your hull a good going over will improve all sorts of things on the water such as handling, speed and even fuel efficiency.
Sand Down The Hull
Once your hull is clean and dry, move on to sanding down the hull to remove any old paint flakes to make the surface as smooth and paint perfect as possible. Sanding really is an important technique, and the more attention you give to this step, the more brilliant the end result will be.
Apply Masking Tape To The Waterline
The most important thing you should do before you apply a lick of paint is to tape up the waterline with masking tape. The reason for this is that you need to ensure that you follow a clean, straight line during the painting process. Few things are as unsightly as messy waterline and as smart as one that is painted properly.
Begin by sticking your masking tape down at the starting point, holding it down and firmly unrolling the tape, keeping it as tight and straight as you can, without pressing the tape down too hard - you may need to correct a mistake along the way!
Once you're satisfied with the shape, curve and accuracy of the line, press the masking tape down. But, remember, taking your time and exercising patience will result in a better-looking waterline.
It may be a fiddle, but we recommend removing the tape and applying new tape with each coat of antifoul otherwise it can be difficult to strip the tape off if covered in paint for too long.
Two Coats Minimum
How many coats of antifouling paint do you need? The short answer is two, and no less. Always follow the instructions on your paint tin and follow minimum overcoating and immersion times rigidly otherwise you'll run the risk of flaking antifoul.
When you first open the tin, mix thoroughly. It's not uncommon for over half of the antifoul paint tin contents to be of a solid consistency which can settle on the bottom when living on a shelf for a long time... So get stirring!
Use a medium length pile roller with a handle you can extend - this is the least messy option and allows you to get the most out of your expensive antifoul without wasting it.
Lastly, always remember to use safety glasses, overalls, gloves and a mask.
Add A Third Protective Layer Of Paint
The final layer of antifoul is designed to add durability to the waterline and protect components such as the rudder and keel.