Antifoul – What do I need to know?

Ensuring your antifoul is in good condition is without doubt one of the top 5 important maintenance tasks of boat ownership.


Wikipedia says: Anti-fouling paint – a category of commercially available underwater hull paints (also known as bottom paints) – is a specialized category of coatings applied as the outer (outboard) layer to the hull of a ship or boat, to slow the growth and/or facilitate detachment of subaquatic organisms that attach to the hull and can affect a vessel’s performance and durability (see also biofouling).

So translated, it is paint for the bottom of the boat which slows the growth of the green slime which over time will slow your boat down.


This can depend boat to boat depending on the material construction of your vessel and where the boat is going to be kept.

There are a number of different manufacturers, colours & types available.

It is also worth noting you need to check that the new and old paints won’t react with each other. Most on the market are compatible but always worth checking first.

If in any doubt, a good coat of the new manufacturer primer or a universal primer is a great idea. It’s also a lot cheaper than scraping it all off and starting again.

You can also have your boat copper coated. These use particles of copper in an epoxy coating and has a longer hull life, which can be more cost and time effective over the years. Contact us for more information.


We recommend it is inspected at least annually and depending on conditions (for example, the water type the boat has been sat in) will determine how long your antifoul will last. After a few years build up, it is required to remove the whole lot and start fresh.


Small crater like blemishes or protruding blisters start to appear and/or areas start flaking off.

Taking it all off is a very labour intensive job, most customers will only do it once. Contact us today for a quote.

Removal can involve dry scraping the paint off taking care not to damage the hull underneath. Stripping agents are available on the market but again this has to be hull material safe.


Having the boat pressured washed instantly on removal from the water makes the cleaning process much easier! The hull must be sanded to ensure it is keyed so that the new paint will stick. Barnacle remains need to be removed thoroughly to ensure a fresh and clean surface. Using masking tape to mark the water line is a very effective way to keep it tidy.

Check the advised weather conditions per manufacturer of paint you purchase.

Avoid mixing old and new tins as they don’t always mix together.

Pour a small amount of paint into your roller tray at a time. We recommend mohair rollers or ones designed for gloss paint.

handy tips

Keep a wipe rag handy with some white spirit for inevitable splashes.

Remove the masking tape while the paint is still tacky.

Apply the antifoul gently, evenly and don’t skimp on paint.

DISCLAIMER: The text, places and opinions expressed in the text above are offered in good faith. Any action taken upon from the information on this website is strictly at your own risk; and Bates Wharf Marine Sales Ltd will not be liable for any losses or damage in connection to the use of our website.