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Antifouling - Protect, Collect, Dispose

Antifouling - Protect, Collect, Dispose

07 March 2022
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 application.

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.

1. Protect
Put a tarpaulin or groundsheet under the boat before starting work. This protects the ground from scrapings and paint spills.

2. Collect
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.

3. Dispose
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.

Green Blue
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/

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