Alternative Hull Paints & Coatings
Dissolved copper is one of the primary contaminants addressed in the Marina del Rey Harbor Toxics TMDL. Passive leaching from copper‐based antifouling hull paints has been identified as the primary source of the elevated levels of dissolved copper in the water column.
LA County is working with the Regional Board, the boating community, and other jurisdictions to research and evaluate feasible solutions for reducing inputs of copper to the harbor. As part of this effort, the County has been researching alternatives to copper antifouling paints. A variety of alternative hull paints and coatings are available to boaters today. Below we provide brief descriptions of the various types of alternative hull paints along with examples of each, followed by links to relevant studies and related information.
Alternative Hull Paint and Coating Types
This does not represent an exhaustive list of alternative hull paints.
NON-COPPER BIOCIDE PAINTS – this category of paint uses active chemicals such as zinc-based biocides, Seanin, Econea, or some combination of chemicals, to deter fouling. Different formulations work in different ways and deter different fouling organisms. Effectiveness of a given formulation may be affected by the time of year, temperature, and other local environmental conditions.
Examples of Non-Copper Biocides
- Zinc – Pettit Alumaspray Plus; Sea Hawk Mission Bay; Sea Hawk Mission Bay CSF
- Zinc + photoactive – ePaint ECOMINDER; ePaint EP-2000; ePaint ZO
- Zinc + Econea – Interlux Pacifica Plus; Interlux Micron CF; Pettit Hydrocoat ECO; Pettit Ultima ECO; Sherwin Williams Sea Voyage
- Econea – Sea Hawk Smart Solution
- Seanin + photoactive – ePaint SN-1
NON-BIOCIDE PAINTS – these alternative paints do not use active chemicals to prevent or slow fouling. Instead they employ different mechanisms to either create a super slick finish that inhibits attachment by physical means (these are also often referred to as self-cleaning), or an extremely hard protective barrier for the hull that can withstand high pressure or rigorous scrubbing without damaging the coating.
Examples of Hard Non-Biocides
- Ceramic – Ram Protective Coatings CeRam-Kote 54 SST; Ceramic Pro Marine
- Epoxy/Silicone – Interlux VC Performance Epoxy; Hullspeed 3000-Series; HullSpeed F-Series; HullSpeed Smart Armor; HullSpeed SuperGlide
- Quartz – Coval Marine & Hull Coat
- Vinyl Ester – Subsea Industries EcoSpeed
Note: Hard non-biocide paints may require more frequent or aggressive cleaning or cleaning with a power rotary brush.
Examples of Soft Non-biocides
- Fluoropolymer – International Intersleek 1100SR
- Polymer/Wax – Aurora VS721
- Silicone – Oceanmax Propspeed; Hampel Hempasil X3
Note: Soft non-biocide paints are designed to self-clean when the boat is in motion, and they are prone to damage if cleaned too frequently or aggressively.
Studies & References
PILOT STUDY ON NON-BIOCIDE HULL PAINT (Los Angeles County, 2019)
This Department of Beaches and Harbors study investigated the conversion cost, maintenance requirements, and overall effectiveness of non-biocide hull paints. Seventeen County-owned boats were converted to four non-biocide paints and cleaned at two week intervals by a local hull cleaner for a three month period. The study found that only one of the paints performed well in the short term using standard in-water hull cleaning methods and frequencies. Further investigation is needed to determine if different cleaning methods (e.g. using a power rotary brush) could improve performance of the other three paints and to evaluate the long-term performance and lifecycle costs of all four paints.
ANTIFOULING PAINTS IN WASHINGTON STATE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS, REPORT TO THE LEGISLATURE PURSUANT TO SHB 2634 (2018) , (Washington State Department of Ecology, 2019)
In 2011, the State of Washington enacted legislation to ban the use of copper-based antifouling paint starting in 2018. Following a 2017 report by the Department of Ecology, the Washington Legislature delayed the implementation of the ban until 2021, pending further study of the environmental impacts of alternatives to copper-based antifouling paints. This report summarizes the results of Ecology’s review as directed by the Legislature.
WASHINGTON STATE ANTIFOULING BOAT PAINT ALTERNATIVES ASSESSMENT REPORT (Northwest Green Chemistry, 2017)
In response to Washington’s ban on the use of copper-based antifouling paints, TechLaw and Northwest Green Chemistry were engaged to conduct a comprehensive alternatives assessment to avoid potentially harmful substitutions and ensure that new technologies are safer for all. The alternatives assessment evaluates boat antifouling technologies based on hazard, comparative exposure, cost and availability, performance, and additional stakeholder concerns. The report includes a guide to assist boaters and other interested parties in selecting the solution that fits their needs.
REPORT TO THE LEGISLATURE ON NON-COPPER ANTIFOULING PAINTS FOR RECREATIONAL VESSELS IN WASHINGTON (Washington State Department of Ecology, 2017)
This 2017 follow-up investigation by Washington State Department of Ecology, in response to the state’s ban on copper-based antifouling paints, reported that some non-copper biocide alternatives might be harmful to the environment. Ecology argued that additional monitoring and testing are needed to investigate the impacts of non-copper biocides.
SAFER ALTERNATIVES TO COPPER ANTIFOULING PAINTS: NONBIOCIDE PAINT OPTIONS (IRTA, 2012)
This follow-up to the Port of San Diego’s 2011 report, “Safer Alternatives to Copper Antifouling Paints for Marine Vessels,” investigates methods of reducing the cost of using and applying non-biocide alternative paints. The project focused on evaluating and testing alternative stripping and application methods, investigating the feasibility for copper recycling, and testing additional new and emerging non-biocide paints.
SAFER ALTERNATIVES TO COPPER ANTIFOULING PAINTS FOR MARINE VESSELS (Port of San Diego, 2011)
This comprehensive three-year USEPA-funded study was a collaborative effort between the Port of San Diego, the Institute for Research and Technical Assistance, and stakeholders to evaluate a variety of alternative hull paints. Of the paints tested, 21 performed well when compared to copper hull paints in a paint panel study. Eleven were further tested on boats. The study concluded that alternative hull paints are environmentally-friendly, cost-effective, and are an effective replacement for copper-based antifouling paints.
HOW TO SELECT AN ALTERNATIVE HULL PAINT (Port of San Diego, 2011)
A user-friendly guide created by the Port of San Diego based on the findings of their EPA-funded study. The guide presents key considerations to help boaters select the appropriate alternative product for their boat according to boat type, boat use, and other expectations, such as paint life and repainting frequency or cleaning needs.
UCCE COASTAL RESOURCES – NONTOXIC ANTIFOULING STRATEGIES WEBSITE
The website provides information on antifouling pollution issues affecting coastal boats and marinas in southern California. They also describe their field and economic research and outreach to assist boat owners, boating and coating industries, agency staff and policy makers in solving these issues.