Antifouling Preparation Guide

Antifouling Preparation Guide

+ 5 Trade Secerets from our Force 4 Team Boat Owners


It's that time of year, and all around the marinas you'll start to see boats being readied for the new sailing season ahead. Probably the most common bit of boat maintenance at this time of year is antifouling. It's a good idea to remember that to prevent an excessive amount of build up of barnacles and other marine growth you should consider antifouling your boat once a year (if it stays in the water!) If you have the time and the right tools it's a great way to save some money on upkeep.


1. Choose the correct Antifoul Paint. Different types of sailing, coupled with different types of berths require a certain type of Antifoul Paint. You can read our Guide to choosing the correct Antifoul Paint by clicking here

Trade Secret. If you are not sure what the previous antifouling paint used on the boat was, apply an underwater primer first, then antifouling paint as usual. Most antifouls are compatible, but it's always worth asking your local Force 4 team just in case. 

See Hard Antifouling >      See Self-Eroding Antifouling >      See Inflatable Boat Antifouling >

See Propellor & Stern Gear >       See all Antifoul Paint >  


2. Choose the correct tools. We recommend: Paint roller and tray, replacement rollers that are suitable for the paint, wet-and-dry sanding paper, a small selection of differing sized paint brushes and masking tape.

Trade Secret. Good preparation is key, read all manufacturer's instructions before starting. Choose wool or synthetic mohair rollers over foam for applying antifouling paint. 

See Paint Brushes, Rollers & Trays >      See Tapes >      See Paint & Varnishing Tools >


3. Cover up. It's very important to make sure you don't get any of the old or new antifoul on you as it is a hazardous substance. As a minimum you will need a disposable suit, several pairs of disposable gloves, goggles & a dust mask

Trade Secret. Antifoul outdoors in a safe and secure location. Use a tarpaulin underneath your boat to capture any loose antifoul. Choose a dry day, with as little wind as possible. Ensure pets and children do not come close and avoid food and drink while working. 

See Protective Workwear >      See Painting & Varnishing Tools >


4. Remove growth & barnacles. Jet wash your boat, and inspect the hull for any obvious signs of wear. Any serious issues should be treated professionally before continuing. Scrape and rub down the hull, removing any loose paint and growth. Gel Coat chemical removers are useful for removing several layers of paint. Where required pay special attention to the keel, and treat with a rust convertor if necessary.

Trade Secret. To minimise dust, never dry sand the hull. Use an orbital sander with a vacuum attached or wet sandpaper.  

See Abrasives & Scrapers >      See Paint Strippers >


5. Damaged Gel Coat. Remember to fix chips in the gel coat, this can be repaired with an epoxy filler - always use one that is suitable for underwater repairs. 

See Fillers >      See all Resins, Glues & Fillers >


6. Prime peeling paint patches. When you start going over the hull below the waterline make sure to check for peeling paint, and if necessary re-prime those areas with underwater primer.

See Primers & Undercoats >      See Paint & Varnish >


7. Apply the Antifoul Paint. Stir the paint well and pour into a paint tray.  Use thinners if necessary (usually No.3)  A medium pile mohair roller will ensure a thick enough coating of paint is applied. Use a small brush when accuracy is needed. We recommend a minimum of 2 coats. If paint should come into contact with your skin wash off straight away, following manufacturer's guidelines. Clean up safely, protecting yourself and others, by following your marina or boatyard rules

Trade Secret. People often assume one coat is enough, but for best results,  you will actually need 2 coats of antifouling paint.

Remember our stores are filled with experts, so if you get stuck you can always ask for advice. Chances are they've come across the same problem.

Why not buy the kit from your local Force 4 and grab advice at the same time?
Find your nearest Force 4 Chandlery - click here.


Happy Sailing!

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