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Old 04-01-2013, 03:39 PM   #1
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Anti Fouling Paint Manufacturers Taking Aim At California Hull Cleaners

The anti fouling paint industry is taking direct aim at California hull cleaners and it seems clear that their intent is to dramatically curtail or even eliminate the in-water hull cleaning of pleasure craft in California. Please read below an excerpt taken from the web site of the American Coatings Association (ACA), who are the lobbying group for the anti fouling paint industry (bold type mine):

ACA and its Anti Fouling Work Group (AFWG) contend that anti fouling paints release copper at a restricted rate and that excessive underwater hull cleaning practices contribute a high percentage of the release of copper into marinas. Further, modern anti fouling copper-based coatings are designed to be effective without frequent cleaning and cleaning schedules should follow manufacturers’ recommendations.

In March 2011, members of the AFWG, and other affected registrants, received a data request from the California Department of Pesticides Regulation (DPR) titled, “Clarification of Leach Rate Determination, Notice of Additional Data Requirements and Meeting Regarding the Reevaluation of Copper Based Anti-fouling Paint Pesticides.” The data requirement called for, among other things, a protocol to accurately determine the impact underwater hull cleaning has on overall copper release from anti fouling paint.

ACA’s AFWG developed and submitted, in June 2012, the “In Water Hull Cleaning and Passive Leaching Study Protocol” to DPR and coordinated the funding of the study amongst copper suppliers and copper-based anti fouling registrants in California. The purpose of this study is to ascertain the effect of underwater hull cleaning methods on various types of anti-fouling paints and to quantify the amount of copper that enters the water column from passive leaching. The study will test the most contemporary anti-fouling paints used in Shelter Island Yacht basin. This includes ablative coatings, which were not properly addressed in prior studies. ACA contracted with the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, a subgroup of the U.S. Navy, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography and appointed a study overseer to visit the site and ensure adherence to the protocol. The study commenced on Aug. 13, 2012, and a final report of the results is expected in the spring of 2013. It will be published in the Journal of Biofouling and DPR will use the results of the study to inform the development of mitigation strategies.

The results of the study and the mitigation strategies developed by DPR will not just determine the course for anti-fouling coatings in California, but will have global implications.


New Copper Coatings Bill Introduced in California Legislature


The paint manufacturers and the corporations that provide them with copper are very much interested in making sure they are able to continue to sell copper-based anti fouling paints in California. Faced with continuing legislative and regulatory pressure to reduce the copper contribution to our coastal waterways from anti fouling paint, they are attempting throwing hull cleaners under the bus. All previous studies done in California have shown that in-water hull cleaning is responsible for about 5% of the copper that comes from anti fouling paint. The rest comes from passive leaching, which these paints do 24/7/365. ACA and the companies they represent have funded this new study and it's a sure bet the results they come up with will show that hull cleaners are responsible for a much higher percentage of that copper (estimates are as much as 50%, a ten-fold increase.)

In any event, this is a clear case of the fox guarding the henhouse. The coming months will be very interesting. Stay tuned if you are a boater that enjoys have a clean bottom.
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Old 04-01-2013, 04:13 PM   #2
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Sounds as if they are trying to do the same thing WA did when WA banned the commercial applications of copper based ablative paints. That ban takes effect in 2016 if I recall correctly.

I guess that means I'll have to build up a stock of paint and do my own work. I'm guessing whatever paint they develop will be a lot more expensive to pay for the development costs.
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Old 04-01-2013, 04:49 PM   #3
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Sounds as if they are trying to do the same thing WA did when WA banned the commercial applications of copper based ablative paints. That ban takes effect in 2016 if I recall correctly.

I guess that means I'll have to build up a stock of paint and do my own work. I'm guessing whatever paint they develop will be a lot more expensive to pay for the development costs.
The article I linked to describes two events, the first is a second attempt to push a ban on copper anti fouling paints through the state legislature. A previous attempt (which initially looked very similar to Washington's recent ban but was quickly amended by the paint manufacturer lobbyists to allow copper paints) eventually died a quiet death, not having the support in the House to pass it.

The second part of the article describes an attack on a different front. This is the paint manufacturers telling the state agency responsible for regulating anti fouling paints that it's not their products that are the problem, it's the hull cleaners. The manufacturers would have you believe that their products do not need cleaning, which if you keep a boat in the water in California, you know to be patently untrue. We believe that they may push for drastically reduced cleaning frequencies, or possibly a moratorium on hull cleaning for some specified period, like a year or two. We don't really know yet.
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:11 PM   #4
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It seems to me that the paint manufacturers should design their paint so it doesn't release copper when the bottom is cleaned. Coastal SC is the same as what you describe. Bottom paint doesn't avoid fouling, it just slows it down. In the summer time, I have to have my boat's bottom cleaned every three weeks or so.

Consider all the extra fuel we would have to buy and burn if we can't have our boat bottoms cleaned.

Now if they were smart enough to design and produce a paint that would keep the boat bottoms clean without mechanical cleaning, that would be great. Not for you perhaps, but for the boat owners. I don't see that being just around the corner.
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Old 04-06-2013, 09:53 AM   #5
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Always thinking out of the box and trying to take all positions in a debate into account...

I offer the following premise as a potential win/win solution to boat owners’ continued bottom cleanliness, continued boat bottom cleaning industry, environmental/ecological correctness, boat bottom coating manufacturers’ increased development work and continued boat-bottom-coating sales, and reduced fuel usage while cruising in power boats.

Teflon (or some other extremely slippery material) enhanced boat bottom paint/coating that is non ablative and that does not ecologically interfere with water’s (fresh or salt) natural conditions!

1. Boat Owners’ Continued Bottom Cleanliness: Bottoms more easily brushed off (although brush off required more often... each time is quicker/easier so annual bottom cleaning cost remains in usual range)
2. Continued Boat Bottom Cleaning Industry: Bottom cleanings more often but easier/quicker to accomplish... potentially more boat owners deciding to use the new bottom coating and then to keep their bottoms clean which would therefore expand opportunities in the boat bottom cleaning industry
3. Environmental/Ecological Correctness: No ablative chemicals or items released into water. Only natural water born growth brushed off bottom during each cleaning process = 100% Natural Conditions
4. Boat Bottom Coating Manufacturers’ Increased Development Work and Continued Boat-Bottom-Coating Sales: All I can say is buy stock in the manufacturer that harnesses this new and improved market
5. Reduced Fuel Usage While Cruising in Power Boats: Super clean and super slippery boat bottoms = less friction for less needed power to reach and maintain speeds

Now, I might be all “wet”... pun intended... but there must be some composition of super slippery material (such as Teflon) that could be applied to boat bottoms and that accomplishes 1 – 5 mentioned above.

Spend your valuable time to shoot me down if you like! Or, simply get with it and post your suggestions, thoughts and inventive input regarding this multi strata boating predicament – let’s get it on at TF to help figure out how to virtually revolutionize the boat bottom coating and bottom-keep-clean industries. Where there is a will there is a way!

What “fstbttms” brings up getting this thread underway seems to me to hold substantial, ongoing future problems for boat owners as well as an eventual dead end for in-water boat bottom maintenance... that will not happen if we boaters work together in figuring out a better way!

Like I said... Ppost your suggestions, thoughts, inventive input! Where there is a will there is a way!!

Happy Boating Daze...
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Old 04-06-2013, 10:32 AM   #6
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Art, your thoughts on this issue are all really good ones. In fact, they are applicable to any boat with any current copper-based anti fouling paint available right now. The way to maximize anti fouling paint lifespan and minimize copper emissions from in-water hull cleaning is to clean the paint before it gets even moderately foul. This ensures that the softest possible cleaning media can always be used, keeping the paint on the boat, where it belongs. Letting the bottom get even moderately foul means the diver will have to use something more abrasive to remove the growth, which of course is not good for the paint.

That being said, as we discovered here in California last year with the paint industry's successful opposition of SB 623 (the copper anti fouling paint ban), there is a lot of money for, and little political will against, keeping copper paints around. And as long as those paints are legal, copper will continue to be an issue, IMHO. So far, we have not seen a non-copper anti fouling coating that can compete with copper. Until we do, boaters are unlikely to move to non-copper alternatives voluntarily.
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Old 04-06-2013, 01:02 PM   #7
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Tin beat the pants off copper as antifouling here on the East Coast....unfortunately some meaningless environmental studies got it banned.
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Old 04-06-2013, 01:36 PM   #8
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Tin beat the pants off copper as antifouling here on the East Coast....unfortunately some meaningless environmental studies got it banned.
Yes, "meaningless studies" that got it banned in almost every seafaring nation the planet...
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Old 04-06-2013, 03:50 PM   #9
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Yes, "meaningless studies" that got it banned in almost every seafaring nation the planet...
OK ...link a few and having an environmental background I'll show you the holes you can drive a boat through in their rationale.

Kinda like the studies you are discussing now....
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Old 04-06-2013, 06:50 PM   #10
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Tin bottom paint worked so well that it often killed any marine life in marinas. I don't like having to pay for other anti-foulant paints and I don't like the extra cost of a diving service, but I do enjoy catching and eating crabs from my dock and my friends have fun fishing off the dock.

Everything is a compromise.
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Old 04-06-2013, 06:58 PM   #11
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Everything is a compromise.
Ditto x 10!
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Old 04-06-2013, 07:49 PM   #12
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The no-wiping-down bottoms is already in force in Washington although I believe it is a marina-by-marina policy, not a county or state policy. Our marina banned wiping down boat bottoms--- all boat bottoms, not just ones with ablative paint on them--- a number of years ago. Divers can fix things, change zincs, and knock off barnacles but no wiping anything down. I have no idea how many other marinas in the Puget Sound area have similar regulations.

As to the eventual ban on copper-based bottom paint, nobody I've talked to up here including our yard management seems particulary concerned about it. Bottom growth does not seem to be much of a problem here in terms of slime/algae/weed. There were boats on our dock prior to its replacement last winter that we could not remember the last time we saw them move. Years and years. And amazingly, the growth on their bottoms, while definitely there, was surprisingly light. Not enough to hamper the operation or performance of the boat by appearance.

Some of this may be due to the high concentration of fresh water in our marina from nearby streams and a large river that dumps into the bay a few miles away. But this does not deter the barnacles on boats and mussels on piles so the fresh or brackish water layer on the surface most of the year may not make any difference in this regard.

We went almost five years between bottom coats last time, not because we wanted to but because my work and travel schedule kept forcing us to cancel scheduled haulouts. But even while our ablative paint (Petit Ultima SR) was completely shot we had very little to no bottom growth as far as algae/slime/weed went. The dive service we use had to keep knocking barnacles off the rudders and through hulls as the paint was pretty much gone from them.

So at this point, we don't view the impending copper ban as anything to be very concerned about. We'll see.........
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Old 04-06-2013, 07:54 PM   #13
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The problem with many studies is they are often done in a vacuum and the "results" likeresorting to solely copper paints and more frequent cleaning may have actually been worse in the long run.

I'm all for all natural bottom paint.. but again...the rec boater isn't nearly the threat to the environment as is a bazillion other things...tin paints or not.
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:41 PM   #14
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Four years we've docked in SF Delta's 100% fresh water; virtually no bottom growth. Slight slime coating after couple months dormant in mid winter. First miles cruising slime wears off.

Decades back, mid coast Atlantic growth became many inches long in short duration.

SF Bay salt water produces much growth.

To not allow boat bottoms cleaned is about as stupid as saying you should simply sit in berth and let your engine idle for numerous hours each month, spewing exhaust into atmosphere... depending on distance traveled... that is at least the extra fuel used to push craft through water with growth from salt water docking.

Too many law makers getting paid too much money while making too many laws and being too stupid to spend time understanding what ramifications occur due to their x-tra-stupid laws! GEEEZZZ
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