Alternative Hull Paints
Copper from anti-fouling hull paints can be a significant source of water pollution in marina basins. Copper harms marine life by impeding or altering their development. As a result, boaters are beginning to convert to alternative hull paints that are better for the environment.
Alternative hull paints are better for the environment because they do not contribute to copper pollution. Currently, there a number of alternative hull paints on the market, and several major paint companies are continuing to develop new products and technologies. The alternatives to copper hull paints include:
- Zinc-based paints
- Organic biocide-based paints
- Other paints using pesticides-related compounds
- Non-biocide coatings such as ceramic, epoxy, or silicone-based paints
- Other non-paint technologies
The Port of San Diego has taken an active role in identifying alternative hull paints or other concepts that can reduce copper pollution in San Diego Bay marinas. Below are links to some helpful tools for converting your boat paint to a non-copper alternative.
Alternative Hull Paint Testing in San Diego Bay
A 3-year study called “The Safer Alternatives to Copper based Antifouling Paints" (EPA-Funded Project, 2011) evaluated a variety of alternative hull paints. Of the paints tested, 21 performed well when compared to copper hull paints and 11 were further tested in real-life scenarios on boats. The study concluded that alternative hull paints are environmentally-friendly, cost-effective and are an effective replacement.
(Study) Bibliography of Aquatic Studies on Copper and Antifouling Paints, 1980 - present
Helpful Tools for Boaters
Alternative Hull Paint brochure - A user-friendly guide was created based on the EPA-funded study findings. 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.
The Alternative Hull Paint Information Packet - The packet provides boaters information on currently available non-biocide hull paints and other innovative products from various paint manufacturers. It is not an exhaustive listing of non-biocide hull paints that are available on the market and the contents may change as new information becomes available. Please be aware that this information is to be used as guidance only and is not meant as a recommendation or endorsement by the Port for any particular product. Consult your boatyard representative or paint manufacturer for additional information on available products.
Hull Paint Cost Calculator - The cost calculator is designed to help boaters understand the costs of converting to alternative hull paints.
University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources: Information on Non-toxic Antifouling Strategies