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Great Lakes Scuttlebutt Spring Issue 2017 : Page 24

Dan Armitage BY DAN ARMITAGE BUCKEYE SPORTSMAN RADIO WWW.BUCKEYESPORTSMAN.NET The Bottom Line on Bottom Painting hen I lived in the Florida Keys and kept my boat in the water year-round, bottom painting was a no brainer: you kept a fresh coat of copper-infused anti-fouling paint on your hull or suffered the consequences. Also known as anti-fouling paint, bottom paint is a coating designed to discourage weeds, barnacles, and other aquatic organisms from attaching themselves to a boat’s hull through use of a biocide, such as cuprous oxide, which is a popular choice today. Over the eons, boaters tried everything from mixtures containing tar, sulfur, tin, arsenic, pesticides, and even chili powder to keep algae at bay and off their bottoms with varying degrees of success. When I moved back to the Midwest and kept a boat on Lake Erie, it was only for the season and algal growth was a non-issue. At least at the first marina. We made a move when we got a little larger boat and I was amazed at the amount of growth that accumulated on that craft’s hull. The experience taught me that, like the popular realtor mantra, the need for bottom paint for boats used on the Great Lakes is all about location, location, and location. As well as time of year. “You may get by keeping your boat in for the entire month of April,” explained Scott Czerwony, service advisor at Catawba Island’s MarineMax location, where his crew will apply bottom paint to some 100 boats this season. “But that same 30 day period in September will result in significant growth” without a barrier of bottom paint. “Water depth is another factor,” explained Czerwony. “Shallower water dockages may result in more growth.” Water temperature also is a related factor, he added. “Warmer waters and warmer times of the year generate more growth of the algae that forms on boat hulls.” The MarineMax spokesman also underlined a factor I found firsthand: the more you run your boat, the more you help keep bottom growth at bay, whether it’s sporting a coat of bottom paint or not. W The MarineMax on Lake Erie’s Ca-tawba Island will apply bottom paint to some 100 boats this season to thwart common nuisance algae and invasive zebra and quagga mussels. 24 GREATLAKESSCUTTLEBUTT.COM March & April 2017

Dan Armitage

Dan Armitage

BUCKEYE SPORTSMAN RADIO

WWW.BUCKEYESPORTSMAN.NET

The Bottom Line on Bottom Painting

When I lived in the Florida Keys and kept my boat in the water year-round, bottom painting was a no brainer: you kept a fresh coat of copper-infused anti-fouling paint on your hull or suffered the consequences. Also known as anti-fouling paint, bottom paint is a coating designed to discourage weeds, barnacles, and other aquatic organisms from attaching themselves to a boat’s hull through use of a biocide, such as cuprous oxide, which is a popular choice today. Over the eons, boaters tried everything from mixtures containing tar, sulfur, tin, arsenic, pesticides, and even chili powder to keep algae at bay and off their bottoms with varying degrees of success.

When I moved back to the Midwest and kept a boat on Lake Erie, it was only for the season and algal growth was a non-issue. At least at the first marina. We made a move when we got a little larger boat and I was amazed at the amount of growth that accumulated on that craft’s hull.

The experience taught me that, like the popular realtor mantra, the need for bottom paint for boats used on the Great Lakes is all about location, location, and location. As well as time of year.

“You may get by keeping your boat in for the entire month of April,” explained Scott Czerwony, service advisor at Catawba Island’s MarineMax location, where his crew will apply bottom paint to some 100 boats this season. “But that same 30 day period in September will result in significant growth” without a barrier of bottom paint.

“Water depth is another factor,” explained Czerwony. “Shallower water dockages may result in more growth.” Water temperature also is a related factor, he added. “Warmer waters and warmer times of the year generate more growth of the algae that forms on boat hulls.”

The MarineMax spokesman also underlined a factor I found firsthand: the more you run your boat, the more you help keep bottom growth at bay, whether it’s sporting a coat of bottom paint or not.

I suffered from the double whammy of docking in warmer, shallower water at the new marina and owning a larger boat, which I didn’t run as often — or as fast — as I had the smaller craft. Before I knew it, I had a thick coating of algae and other critters clinging to my boat’s hull.

According to Sarah Orlando, Ohio Sea Grant’s Clean Marina Program manager, the growth Great Lakes boats have suffered doesn’t include the hard barnacles of saltwater, but primarily nuisance algae and related aquatic plant life.

Until recently, however. Bottom paint applied to the hulls of Great Lakes boats today is relied on to thwart the efforts of invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels as well as aquatic vegetation.

“Sadly, in Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes, we are past the point of prevention when it comes to these invasive species,” said Orlando. “So bottom paint is practically a requirement for preventing mussels from attaching to boat hulls that remain in the water over the course of a season. That’s not the case in the majority of our inland waters, and it’s up to boaters to help keep it that way.”

Czerwony said that this season his MarineMax service department will apply anti-fouling paint to boats ranging from 17 to 72 feet in length, including aluminum boats, for which special, nonpitting bottom paints are now available. Bottom painting isn’t cheap, but the alternative can be extremely costly. MarineMax charges $12 per linear foot of boat length plus materials to reapply bottom paint. That jumps to $65 per foot for boats that have never been treated with anti-fouling paint, which costs from $150-$250 per gallon, according to Czerwony. He said that bottom painting a 32 foot boat, which is about the average length for such jobs at the Catawba MarineMax facility, would cost around $2500 for a new application and $600 for a re-application of anti-foulant.

“It’s a doable DIY project for most boaters,” he said. “As long as you’re willing to spend a lot of time on your back sanding and painting. Like any paint job, 90% of the success is based on the prep.”

“And that,” he added, “is why most boaters leave bottom painting to the pros.”

Anti-Fouling Paints

Practical Sailor magazine offers excellent detailed information on the subject of anti-fouling paints and painting at practical-sailor.com and several bottom paint manufacturers such as Interlux (yachtpaint.com) and Pettit (pettitpaint.com) offer charts and tables to help in choosing the right antifouling paint for your Great Lakes boat.

Learn more about Ohio Sea Grant’s Clean Marina Program by visiting ohioseagrant.osu.edu/clean.

Reach MarineMax at marinemax.com.

Read the full article at http://mydigitalpublication.com/article/Dan+Armitage/2723443/388247/article.html.

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