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Anti-fouling your boat is never much fun, especially in winter, but it remains a job well worth attending to and the rewards are significant.

Apart from looking unsightly, heavy fouling will slow your boat down and increase fuel consumption by up to 10% in some cases. Excessive fouling will make the handling less responsive and your boat will be more difficult to manoeuvre in close quarters situations. If left unattended, the longer-term effects of hull fouling can result in extremely expensive repair bills.
Before any work takes place you must ensure that proper care and attention is given to your safety and those around you. Wearing appropriate protective clothing is essential, along with gloves, a hat, face mask and safety glasses or goggles and always ensure good ventilation around you.

Always wet sand anti-foul as the dust is toxic and do not eat or smoke when handling paint. Keep cans sealed when not in use and dispose of waste paint at a re-cycle centre.  Always read the health and safety advice on labels.

A step-by-step guide to anti-fouling your boat with how-to videos and safety advice

Before anything else, check for compatibility and ensure your hull can be successfully over-coated with the product you wish to use.

Most similar antifoul coatings are compatible and need nothing more than a jet-wash and the removal or spot repair (also known as patch priming) of any loose or flaking antifoul. Some existing coatings, however, may require light wet-sanding of the film and others may require a barrier coat or primer coat before proceeding.

There are exceptions so if in any doubt, seek correct advice from the manufacturer before proceeding.

Always ensure you have enough quantity to complete the job with the required number of coats you need. It's false economy to scrimp on the coating(s) so always ensure you have sufficient extra quantity for areas of high erosion such as the bow, waterline and leading edges of the keel and rudder.

Generally speaking, the performance of antifoul is directly proportional to the dry film thickness of each coat. Therefore, it is important that you apply the recommended quantity as a minimum for a satisfactory result.

The scientific approach is to divide the total surface area of After lifting out and scrubbing off or jet-washing the hull, a closer examination for damage and fouling attachment is worthwhile. Grass, weed and loose paint should be removed using a scraper - with the sharp corners rounded off with wet or dry paper, to avoid gouging the surface. Should you need to larger areas can be dealt with by slurry blasting.
of the relevant product and this will tell you how many litres you require for one coat.
Surfaces to be painted must be clean, dry and free of oil or grease. Bare surfaces must first be primed with a suitable priming scheme, filling any major undulations with an epoxy profiling filler, remembering of course not to apply antifouling on top of bare filler!

Existing antifoulings in good condition don't usually need any special preparation, but they can be lightly wet sanded, using fresh water, to remove small lumps and 'blebs' in the paintwork.
Where possible apply anti-fouling during late morning or early afternoon in calm, dry weather. Avoid the risk of dampness or overnight dew, as this will spoil the results and subsequently affect the performance. Try also to avoid strong wind or extremes of either hot or cold weather.

Apply masking tape around the waterline and mask off anodes, shafts and fittings to protect them from unwanted coating. Before you start put a plastic sheet down to protect the ground and wet the ground with water to prevent dust rising.

Keep your paint in a warm place or stand the tin in a bucket, part filled with warm water. This will make it easier to apply and give a smoother finish. Anti-foul can settle, so vigorous stirring with a flat bladed knife is recommended. Don't use paint directly from the can; put an appropriate amount in a roller tray and replace the lid. This prevents contamination and premature ageing of the main can contents. Remember to occasionally stir-up the tray contents during your work. anti-foul is best applied with a mohair roller, but keep a brush handy for those awkward to reach areas.

When using a roller, apply the coating in a 'criss-cross' pattern, as if you were using a brush. This helps spread the coating evenly. Alternatively, get someone else to follow you with a paint pad. Don't work the pad backwards or forwards, or try to spread it too thinly. Apply an extra coat on the leading edges and waterline area, as this is where the boat faces more water-flow. Finally, as soon as the anti-foul feels 'tacky' remove the masking tape before the paint is allowed to dry.

When all this is done stand back with a beer in your hand and congratulate yourself on a job well done!

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