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ANTIFOULING, Protection from living creatures

Antifouling is intended to protect your boat from the colonisation of algae and shellfish. In order to remain effective it must be renewed every year.


ANTIFOULING, Protection from living creatures

Antifouling is intended to protect your boat from the colonisation of algae and shellfish. In order to remain effective it must be renewed every year.


  1. Application
  2. When to use antifouling?
  3. The effectiveness
  4. Types of antifouling
  5. Les + et les - de chaque famille d'antifouling


Before undertaking the antifouling work, make sure you have all the necessary equipment: spatulas to scrape the hull and remove shellfish, abrasive and normal sponges for cleaning the hull, brushes or rollers (provide a tray in which to use it,) adhesive tape, gloves, thinners, goggles and even a protective suit. You can also use a high pressure cleaner but it will not remove all dirt, particularly shellfish. The pressure cleaner is a good solution for cleaning a hull out of the water. Whilst the boat is on land one may also take the opportunity to change the anode, check the stern tube, the thru hull fittings and strainers. One must also ensure, of course, that they have a sufficient quantity of antifouling.

Boat length Boat keel Keel length Dinghy
5 to 6 m 2 2,5 1,5
6 to 7 m 2,5 3 2
7 to 8 m 3 3,5 2,5
8 to 9 m 6 7 5,5
9 to 10 m 7 8 6,5
10 to11 m 8 8,5 7,5
11 to 12 m 11 11,5 10,5
12 to 13 m 12 13 11,5
13 to 14 m 14 15 14,5
14 to 15 m 16 16 15



When to use antifouling?

Algae and shellfish thrive when the water temperature increases. To sail with a clean hull therefore, it is necessary to apply it as late as possible before using the boat.
The preparation of the hull; try to organise your boat work in accordance with the application time needed (depends on the product, time between each layer varies from 10 mins to as much as 16hours) and further delay is recommended before returning the boat to the water (minimum and maximum after antifouling application.) On an already painted hull, wash it as soon as removed from the water with high pressure cleaner and scraper. Remove as much of the previous antifouling as possible. On a new hull degrease with detergent, scuff with sandpaper and pass over a primer compatible with the chosen paint.
Before painting; cover the waterline with masking tape and protect all parts that must not be painted (sensors, anodes…)
Paint application; antifouling is usually applied with a roller or a brush but one can also use a spray gun to achieve a smoother surface (for racing hulls.) Apply at least two coats, not too thickly. The layers create the protection.

The effectiveness

Given the number of products on the market, antifouling can be hard to choose. You must understand also that the effectiveness varies from one port to another (depending on tides, temperature, pollution…) it is best to observe the type of antifouling used in a specific location and see which seems to give the best results. If the result is not up to your expectations one year, nothing prevents you from changing the brand the following year.


An often asked question is, are antifouling paints compatible? The answer is yes, with the exception of products containing Teflon ® or silicon, in this case, to return to a standard antifouling one must strip the old.

Types of antifouling

Antifouling are paints that free toxins (biocides,) to retard the growth of algae and shells on the hulls of boats. On the Self-polishing antifouling, the film of the paint wears out due to water friction on the hull; this allows a regular renewal of the active surface biocides. This gives a perfectly smooth hull (ideal for those searching for superior glide.) But, for the same reasons, it is not recommended for boats often in port (still water,) which are regularly immobile, or for navigating in areas with a strong current and rapid motor boats (above 25 knots.)
Hard matrix antifouling is porous, which releases its biocides over time. Its hardness provides excellent resistance against wear. When its active ingredients are exhausted, there remains an inert ineffective layer. This product is suitable for all types of boats and is highly recommended for fast boats, immobilised for long periods or subject to severe erosion (high currents.)
Anti adherent antifouling; are Teflon ® based. They settle into a thin hard, film, difficult for micro organisms to grip. They give the hull a minimum friction, with optimal glide and are more aimed toward competitive craft.
“Premier price,” antifouling are not adapted to high dirt areas and used only if the boat is in the water for the season.
Specific antifouling are applied to alloy hulls, it acts without copper oxide. Others exist for propellers or sockets.

Professional Advice

“The waterline is the place that gets most dirt. Be advised to use at least 3 coats of antifouling.”

Les + et les - de chaque famille d'antifouling

Antifouling matrice dure
+ Résiste bien aux agents extérieurs, à l'abrasion, au sable, à l'échouage ou au transport sur remorque.
+ Conseillé dans les zones à marées et pour les grandes traversées.
- Difficile à enlever lors du carénage.

Antifouling auto-érodable
+ S'érode avec la vitesse du bateau (frottement de l'eau).
+ Permet de garder une carène lisse et propre.
+ Matrice dure performance conseillée pour la régate.
- Ne convient pas pour les grandes traversées ou pour les bateaux longtemps

Antifouling anti-adhérent

+ Dépose un film sur la carène sur lequel les coquillages ne peuvent pas adhérer.
+ Permet de garder une carène lisse et propre.
+ Offre une surface de glisse très performante.
- Nécessite un bateau qui navigue pour rester propre.
- Le retour en arrière vers un antifouling classique demande une grosse préparation de - Le retour en arrière vers un antifouling classique demande une grosse préparation de la carène.