Boat Maintenance – Antifouling

Antifouling: Choose the Right Protection for Your Boat

Every year, boat owners face the constant challenge of choosing the right antifouling product for their vessels as the new boating season approaches. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a novice to the boating world, this decision can be challenging. Understanding the timing, reasoning, and selection criteria for antifouling products is crucial for preserving your boat’s performance and longevity. That’s where Nava comes in, offering expert tips to guide you in finding the perfect product tailored to your boat’s needs.

Which Product to Use?

Now, let’s address the million-dollar question: which antifouling products should you use? The choice between hard and eroding antifouling depends on several factors.

Hard Antifouling

Hard Antifouling works by releasing biocides to discourage the organisms from attaching to the surface. They are especially suitable for fast boats, those used regularly, and boats moored in fresh water. Eroding antifouling is designed to erode in saltwater and may not erode sufficiently in freshwater. Hard antifouling doesn’t wear much, but abrasive materials in the water like salt and sand can lead to a minor reduction in the coating layer.

Eroding Antifouling

Also known as soft or ablative antifouling, these products work by releasing biocides as well. However, this type slowly erodes in seawater, eventually leaving little or no antifouling on your hull. They’re great for those who prefer a low maintenance option, as generally speaking there is far less accumulation of old paint on the hull after each season. Overall, they offer good all-round performance in a wide range of fouling conditions and are great for those seeking a low-maintenance option.

Self-polishing Antifouling

Within this group of eroding/ablative types, a subgroup of products is known as self-polishing copolymer antifoulings. With a more complex chemistry, they offer a very controlled release of biocides and erosion level, known as self-polishing. These types are used by larger vessel owners who require longer maintenance intervals and anyone seeking improved overall performance.

What antifouling are we using at Nava?

Nava uses eroding fouling, more specifically self-polishing antifouling, from two companies based on the costumers desires of antifouling color. Hempel Mille NCT is used for black antifouling and SeaJet Shogun line for antifouling in various shades of gray. Both brands provide excellent color retention throughout the season, premium crack resistance and longevity with noticeable long term results after 18 months.


If you are venturing into antifouling on your own, here are some of the most important tips we can share with you. 

  • Before each coat, whether it is the first time antifouling a boat or just yearly maintenance, always sand the boat’s hull (or damaged coat of antifouling) and wipe the hull with acetone and a cloth before applying antifouling
  • Make sure to do at least two coats for maximum protection and endurance
  • If possible, start the second coat just as the first coat is about to dry for improved performance
  • Always do the antifouling outside if possible to prevent any issues due to the fumes. ALWAYS wear PROTECTIVE GEAR (gloves and a mask with filter)

When to Apply the Antifouling?

Wondering about when is the right time to do antifouling of your boat? The general rule is to do it at least once a year, ideally before the start of the boating season. However, factors like the type of water you sail in (freshwater vs. saltwater) can influence the frequency of antifouling applications. An important tip is to regularly inspect your boat to help determine when it’s time for a fresh coat of antifouling.

Why is Antifouling important?

But why bother with antifouling? The answer is simple: prevention and protection. Fouling organisms like barnacles, algae, and mollusks can attach to your boat’s hull, compromising its performance and efficiency. Without antifouling, prolonged infestation leads to even more serious damages, such as corrosion and structural damage, ultimately affecting your boat’s navigability and resale value. Therefore, applying antifouling coating is essential, creating a protective barrier that deters these unwanted tenants, keeping your boat in perfect shape and ready for every adventure.

Antifouling is a Must

Antifouling is not just another boat related chore; it’s a crucial aspect of boat maintenance that ensures your vessel remains in optimal condition for years to come. By understanding when to antifoul, why it’s important, and which products to use, you sail the seas with confidence. So, before starting your next boating adventure, take the time to give your boat the antifouling attention it deserves. Smooth sailing awaits you!

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