Boat Bottom Blues

While spring usually heralds the start of boating season for most of us, for others it means facing up to long-postponed projects. If you own an older boat, that project probably might be removing the years of antifouling paint that have built up on the bottom.

In this blog post you’ll find links to a number of useful articles to help guide you through this process.

When one of our contributors recently bought an Endeavour 42, he faced a common scenario. First, he wanted to make sure the bottom paint wasn’t hiding any blisters, the notorious pox that afflicts gelcoat on older boats. Second, he wanted a waterproof, epoxy barrier coat to keep moisture out of the hull laminate. Third, he wanted to raise the waterline slightly to prevent slime from growing on the topside when he was loaded down for cruising.

There are several possible ways to approach this project and we’ve documented them all in Practical Sailor. Some of the articles are fairly recent, others go back more than a decade, but they remain as valuable today as they were when they were first published. Although there have been some small leaps forward in the technology used to remove bottom paint, gelcoat, and outer laminate (if needed), there have been no truly revolutionary changes. Probably the most notable change over the past ten years or so is the wider selection professional companies that specialize in this sort of work. This increase in competition has helped to contain the cost.

Whether you want to hire a professional or do the work yourself, here are some articles that can help set you down the right path.

Hull Blisters: Know Thy Enemy

Estimating the Costs of DIY Paint Removal

Advice on Sodablasting Your Hull

Practical Sailors Favorite Antifouling Paint Removers

Tips on Removing an Old Epoxy Barrier Coat

Favorite Bottom Paints by Region

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