Spring is the time when boat owners start thinking about
antifouling. And when we’re thinking about bottom paint, it is important to
consider the wider environmental and safety issues around removal and
Traditional antifouling paints contain biocides like copper and zinc – these are
the agents that reduce weed growth. When the boat is in the water, the paint
releases these bioactive ingredients, usually through gentle erosion.
If we’re not careful, these biocides can be released when the boat is ashore,
poisoning and contaminating the water system. For example, rubbing down old
paint releases copper scrapings and paint dust.
The RYA’s Green Blue sets-out a kinder antifouling code of best practice –
Protect, Collect, Dispose.
Put a tarpaulin or groundsheet under the boat before starting work. This
protects the ground from scrapings and paint spills.
Large scrapings will collect on the tarpaulin where you can simply sweep them
up. A heavy-duty vacuum cleaner linked to the scraper will capture more dust
and smaller flakes.
Please note – If your boat is ashore at Kingston Boatyard, talk to the team
before starting to strip antifouling by any method. We don’t allow dry sanding
at all, because it is just too dangerous – dust getting into the environment,
breathing it in damages your lungs, and the pigment can discolour GRP and paint
on nearby boats.
All painting materials, paint scrapings, empty tins and personal protective
gear must be disposed of in hazardous waste bins.
Never pour unused paint, solvents or polluted water down the drain – not down
outside drain grids or down the sink.
Please note – At Kingston Boatyard the hazardous waste skips are located near the hoist dock.
Boatyard Code of Conduct
This national best practice is incorporated into our boatyard code of conduct,
alongside other sensible safety and environmental requirements. Kingston
Boatyard remains an open yard where any owner or contractor can work on a boat,
and the code is there to keep all yard users safe.
The Green Blue is a joint initiative by the RYA and British Marine to make boating more sustainable. There are plenty of great suggestions on their website from getting more MPG to being sensitive to wildlife. Take a look: https://thegreenblue.org.uk/you-your-boat/info-advice/