Category Archives: Frequently Asked Questions

Which Bottom Paint is Best for Freshwater Lakes?

algaeMost Antifouling Bottom Paint is marketed toward the harsh conditions of the Caribbean. But which Antifouling Bottom Paint will work best in Freshwater Lakes?

The short answer is this: Antifouling Bottom Paint that works well in the harsh conditions of the Caribbean will be more than enough protection for boats in freshwater lakes. The real trick is choosing the paint that will fit your situation the best. Choosing a bottom paint with more biocide (usually cuprous oxide) will be more potent and fight off growth more successfully. Sometimes you don’t need to purchase the strongest and the greatest. A paint with just the right amount of biocide will do nicely and can also save a few bucks.

Here are some basic guidelines to help you decide which paint is best for your boat.

boat-trailer-360If the boat comes out of the water periodically, such as on a lift or trailer, Ablative Bottom Paint is the correct choice. Cukote is a very popular and potent Sea Hawk Ablative Paint. Also check out, Sea Hawk’s AF-33 and Blue Water Marine’s New England Copper.

If the boat never comes out of the water except to be repainted, a Hard Epoxy Bottom Paint will keep away the algae. Sea Hawk Sharkskin is a mid strength Hard Bottom Paint. Though there are stronger paints too; Sea Hawk Tropikote, and Pettit Trinidad. Copper Shield 35 Hard is a great Hard bottom paint that fits a tighter budget.

What about Bottom Paint Additives?

Sea Hawk produces a paint additive called Bio Cop TF to help fight against algae and soft growth. This product will boost the effectiveness of your paint’s ability to keep the hull free of growth. **NOTE: Biocop TF Pint may only be used as a bottom paint additive in the following products: AF-33, Cukote, Sharkskin, Talon, and Tropikote.

If you still aren’t sure what is needed for your boat, check out these other How To Articles:

Do I Need Bottom Paint on My Boat?

What is the Best Paint for My Boat?

Choosing the Right Boat Paint

How to Apply Bottom Paint Over Existing Bottom Paint


Problems with Paint Application Q & A

Insufficient Adhesion

Symptoms: The coating adheres insufficiently to the substrate or previous coats.

Cause: Unsuitable primer applied Wrong product Damp substrate during painting Contaminated substrate (not cleaned or degreased) Weathered timber not removed before coating Previous Coating Unstable Solution

Coating layers that are not sound should be removed. Substrate problem should be addressed (cleaning, degreasing, sanding etc.). Apply a new, suitable coating system.

Insufficient Flexibility

Symptoms: A crackle effect or cracking appears.

Cause: Different paint systems intermixed Too brittle paint system caused by ageing Applied product cannot follow the movements of the substrate and/or underlying paint layers Solution

Remove all coating and apply a new, suitable coating system.

Peeling of Coating

Symptoms: Total/local loss of adhesion of paint system.

Cause: Internal tension in paint films Deformation of substrate Humidity or gas formation Wrong paint sytem Several layers are applied which are not compatible with each other Insufficient flexibility of applied paint Cracking originating from substrate Paint system applied to damp substrate or one with a high moisture content. Solution

Paint layers that are not sound should be removed. After the appropriate pretreatment, a new system should be applied. Touch up bare spots with primer/undercoat and finish with topcoat.


Symptoms: The coating is not resistant to alkali. Blisters appear, paint softens and flakes off.

Cause: Incorrect use of product Application of alkyd based topcoat to alkaline material (e.g. concrete or cement) Humidity problems Caustic stripped surface not neutralised Solution

Remove all paint layers and apply a new alkali resistent system. Prevent water penetration. Apply an alkali resistent system.

Soft Paint Film

Symptoms: The dry film has a soft and weak character.

Cause: Paint applied too thickly Painted during impossible working conditions With two-component products the wrong mixing ratio is used Solution

Paint layers that are not sound should be completely removed. Apply a suitable protection system and allow a longer drying time to improve the conditions under which it is painted.

Floating / Flooding

Symptoms: Multi colored effect.

Cause: One of the pigments used floats to the surface causing a multi colored effect (happens mostly with blue, green and violet pigments) Solution

Sand after drying. Apply a further top coat which doesn’t ‘float’.

Salt Efflorescence

Symptoms: A white salt deposit appears, usually on plywood or brickwork.

Cause: Occurs with some plywoods Excess salts migrate to surface through coating Solution

Clean down. May re-occur. Apply freshen up coats if necessary.

Haziness (Blooming)

Symptoms: At the surface a greyish haze appears which gives the paint a dull glow.

Cause: Fog and/or humidity during drying Insufficient ventilation Coating over-thinned Solution

Sand and apply a new top coat.


Symptoms: The applied pale color turns yellow.

Cause: With an alkyd based topcoat this is intrinsic to the binder.

Solution: Sand and clean. Often solved by altering the chosen color to a grayish option, which makes the problem less visible. Apply waterbased paints, which are less prone to yellowing.


Symptoms: A wrinkling effect immediately after painting.

Cause: The applied coat contains aggressive components which will dissolve the undercoat Softening, swelling or separation from the substrate of a dry coat as the result of the application of a subsequent coat Solution

Apply another type of paint as topcoat or remove old paint layers and apply a new paint system. Use compatible paint products.

Algae Growth

Symptoms: The coating surface shows a green growth, usually on north facing timbers.

Cause: Plants, bushes and trees in close proximity to coating system. High humidity of surroundings and/or moisture content of substrate Solution

Remove / kill algae/mold and clean substrate. Treat with a fungicidal (or diluted bleach) solution. Scrub dead spores loose, rinse clean and allow to dry fully. Where necessary, redecorate with suitable coating.


Symptoms: Localized “drips” and “tears” appear.

Cause: Paint not applied evenly over the surface Coats applied too heavily Paint doesn’t have the right consistency (incorrect thinning) Solution

Remove by sanding after thorough drying is completed. Apply the coatings thoroughly and and evenly. Apply at the proper viscosity and the recommended wet film thickness.


Symptoms: Large or small blisters, possibly only in topcoats of the system.

Generally only local loss of adhesion of paint system.

Cause: Application over localized contamination (e.g. grease, oil, resin) Humidity or gas vapour formation from the substrate Solvent could be trapped between coats of the paint system if the primer or mid coat has not been allowed to dry fully. Incorrect coating system, e.g. quick drying top coat, at which the contained organic solvent causes blisters. Solution

Coating layers that are not sound should be removed. After the right pre-treatment against moisture penetration, a new system should be applied. Touch up bare spots with primer and finish with finish topcoat.


Symptoms: The bleeding through of contents of the substrate through existing paint layers or systems.

Cause: Certain timbers such as Western Red Cedar, Oak, Meranti or Idigbo are prone to bleeding Chemicals within timbers prone to bleeding (i.e. timbers with a high natural extractive content) are mobilized by water Colors from previous coatings such as bitumen or creosote can bleed through Problem more prevalent with water-borne coatings. Solution

Clean the coating surface to make sure that the bleeding components have been removed and apply a fresh coating system. Apply sufficient layer thickness to prevent water from dissolving the bleeding wood content. Apply a full primer. Finish with one or two coats of finish.


Symptoms: The paint system shows a powdery surface.

Cause: Normal ageing effect Insufficient outdoor durability of product Product property (high extender content/pigment content/based on epoxy resin) Solution

Remove powder at the surface. Clean and sand substrate. Touch up bare spots. Finish with one or two coats.


Symptoms: Contamination of the substrate (e.g. silicone, grease, wax) causes surface defects . This results in areas where the coating does not form a complete film over the substrate.

Cause: Often a silicone or wax contamination Surface not cleaned sufficiently before application When spray-applied: poor film formation Open pored timber Solution

Clean surface with a suitable emulsion cleaner or silicone remover where appropriate. It may be necessary to remove affected coatings. Primer or base stain should be worked/brushed well into open pored timbers.

Fish Eyes

Symptoms: Contamination of the substrate (e.g. silicone, grease, wax) causes surface defects This results in areas where the coating does not form a complete film over the substrate.

Cause: Usually a (silicone) contamination Insufficiently cleaned substrate When spray-applied: poor film formation solution.

Sand thoroughly. Clean surface thoroughly with a suitable emulsion cleaner or silicone remover. Finish with one or more topcoats.


Brush marks, orange peel poor leveling etc.

Cause: The open time of the product is too short Incorrect dilution Unsuitable brush or roller Application conditions too hot or too cold Solution

Sand thoroughly and apply a further coat to a better standard. Use a good quality brush (synthetic for water-borne coatings


Symptoms: When humidity is trapped in wood stains or varnishes, white spots/patches may appear.

Cause: Damp substrate or humid atmosphere when coating was applied or during drying Porous varnish/stain type Water getting in (moisture ingress) Insufficient coats applied, or coats applied too thinly Solution

Remove old varnish/stain layers; if necessary treat with wood bleach, which will restore the original wood color. Consequently treat with a new system.


Symptoms: The coating system shows localized cracking, which results in loss of adhesion and flaking.

Cause: Internal stresses of coating system Deformation or breakdown of the substrate e.g. joints opening, splits in the timber Unsuitable coating system Several layers are applied which are not compatible Insufficient flexibility of applied paint Cracking originating from substrate Moisture on substrate at application Solution

Coating layers that are not sound should be removed. After the right pretreatment, a new system should be applied. Touch up bare spots with primer and finish.

Crackle Formation

Symptoms: A crackle effect appears, random cracks all over the surface

Cause: Coating system too brittle for the substrate Layers applied too thickly Coatings applied at too low temperature and/or too high relative humidity Applied product cannot follow the movements of the substrate Contamination between layers Solution

Coating layers that are not sound should be removed. After the right pre-treatment, a new system should be applied.


Symptoms: Loss of adhesion of coating system on substrate or loss of intercoat adhesion.

Cause: Insufficient cleaning / degreasing Unsuitable system Insufficiently sanded Damp substrate or high moisture content Condensation on substrate at application Solution Coating layers that are not sound shall be removed. After the correct pretreatment, a new system should be applied. Apply suitable primer/base stain and top coat(s).

medical kit

Build an ‘Abandon Ship’ Ditch Bag

Any boat cruising off shore needs an emergency ditch bag for unplanned situations. Being prepared means never assuming that rescue will come before you would need things in a bag, one can never predict circumstances or weather. Having a life raft or kit that comes with your vessel may not have everything you want or need as minimal gear is all that is included so building your own insures your needs are met.

The bag should be water resistant to insure it doesn’t fill immediately with water and sink. Purchase one that is yellow or international orange and you can attach reflector strips for added visibility with a flashlight. A throw bag can be back up as needed.

Clearly label the bag so everyone on board knows what it is keep it in a handy place.

Rescue items can include:

Survival Items can include:

Other items depending on space:

Check your bag every season and before a long voyage for charged items and batteries needed. For added information on boat safety, please see the available DVD’s.


How to Apply Awlgrip Topcoat to an Aluminum Hull

Awlgip Marine PaintsFirst Identify the paint that is there. Is it compatible?

If yes – Sand, Primer, Paint

If no – the previous coating needs to be taken down. Sand with 80 grit paper until the coating is gone. Sand blasting is not recommended because it takes away the aluminum itself.

How do you know if previous paint is compatible with Awlgrip? Perform this test:

  1. Need a rag and some Lacquer thinner
  2. Sand the surface with 80 grit sand paper
  3. Apply lacquer thinner to the rag and hold it on the sanded area.
  4. Put a piece of plastic on to to hold the rag so the Lacquer thinner doesn’t evaporate.
  5. Hold rag for 35-45 min.
  6. Remove rag slowly. Is surface bubbling or lifting? If no, scrape surface with the blade of a knife. If the paint comes off with the blade or the paint feels rubbery you have identified an acrylic based paint. Awlgrip may be applied on top of it. If the surface was bubbling or lifting, the paint is not compatible and must be removed.

D6600 CF WashII. Apply Awl-Wash Primer CF (Mix Part A and Part B) within 4 hours of cleaning the surface. This provides excellent adhesion to the aluminum surface. Awl-Wash CF can be overcoated with primers after 1 hour of application. Maximum recoat time without sanding is 6 months.

III. Apply a Primer to the Awl-Wash Primer CF. There are 2 main choices.

  1. 545 Epoxy Primer – Thin, building primer. Usually applied when there is no need to fill scrapes or gouges.
  2. Awlquick – a medium build, primer/surfacer. Applied to a surface that needs to be filled where there are scrapes or gouges. Awlquick Base + Converter.

IV.  Apply a topcoat.

  1. Awlgrip – may be brush rolled or sprayed – usually lasts 7-10 years.
  2. Awlcraft – must be sprayed only – usually lasts 4-6 years.

For more information on Awlgrip vs. Awlcraft, click this link.

Paint Options for Pool Decks

Many people choose to paint a pool deck to customize the decor and revive a dated look and renew a concrete deck aged by weather and wear. Unpainted concrete can become slippery and may need to be sealed.

The most popular pool deck coating we offer is Deck Kote.  Deck Kote a one-part acrylic water-based pool deck coating designed as an effective weapon against UV rays and weathering in a coating that is easy to apply and clean up. Longest lasting protection against fade on painted or unpainted concrete surfaces. Dries quickly, durable, and resists fading, chemicals, and abrasion. For non-skid surfaces, add sand or pumice stone or Polymetric Non-Skid as desired. Cleans up with soap and water. Designed for maximum protection against algae, UV rays and chlorine.

The Supreme Acrylic Urethane is a super-duty commercial quality two-component acrylic polyurethane pool paint that performs well. Will not pick up to hot tires when applied to pool decks and covers up to 300 square feet per gallon while available in 100 colors.

Seal It  (Deep Penetrating Sealer) treats concrete, plaster, gunnite, marcite, tile and masonry three ways; it permanently seals out water, densifies and hardens it all at once.

For a non skid pool deck area, Pro-Tex texture additive can be added to the Supreme Acrylic Urethane. Use it to improve slip resistance or simply to add decorative texture to any finish. Stays suspended better than aggregates, resulting in a more even finish and improves safety.

Paints are available with non skid aggregate pre mixed in the paint for ease. An example of this is the Supermarine non-skid paint  called Floor Grip, or Floor Grip II for wood. The supermarine paint is an easy paint to apply, especially for the “do it yourselfer”. For best results you will want to remove any of the existing paint on the surface with sand paper followed by a good pressure washing. This removes any grit or oil that may interfere with the adhesion of coats of non-skid paint you will be applying.

* Be sure to check if a primer, sealer or other products are suggested for your surface preparation in our ‘how to use’ information located on each product page.

Aluminum Hull Repairs and More

jonboatHow to Fix a Leaking Seam or Rivet on Aluminum Boat

As aluminum boats age they show various signs of wear and tear. One of these signs may be a leaking seam or rivet. Over time, rivets can stretched and loosen, causing a gap in the hull integrity and this results in a leak. The solution to this problem is fairly simple and may be fixed at home using just a few tools and know-how. So, how should this problem be addressed?

Locate the Leaking Rivet or Seam

The first step is to find the exact seam or rivet that needs repair. To do this, put the boat in water and observe carefully. You could also put water inside the boat and see where it allows the water to escape from.

Assess the Damage

The second step is assessing the extent of damage to the rivet or seam. If the seam is too wide to be filled or caulked, it will need additional rivets in combination with a sealant product. If the damage is easily visible a sealant or caulk will be sufficient.

Choose a Sealant or Epoxy Product

There are hundreds of products out there that claim to fix leaks and seal cracks. How do you know which to choose? The Bottom Paint Store has done most of the hard work for you and can confidently recommend 3 products that really work.

Hawk Epoxy KitHawk Epoxy is an excellent product to repair aluminum hulls. We recommend getting one of the Hawk Epoxy Kits that will contain everything you need for filling in the aluminum. Hawk Epoxy is a versatile product that can be used for many other application too. Everyone should own this kit!

The second is BoatLife’s LifeCalk Sealant. This sealant may take a long time to cure (1 to 3 days), but it results in a waterproof, rubber seal that will adhere to almost anything. It can also be applied underwater for emergency repairs!

The third option is G/Flex 650 Epoxy made by West System. This liquid epoxy is more flexible and versatile than regular epoxies and will adhere to almost any surface. The bond that it creates can absorb shock, vibration, expansions and contractions. It will fully cure in 24 hours. Also, West System has created a detailed and comprehensive set of instructions for a wide variety of applications. They can be found at this link and below:

G Flex Epoxy by West SystemFix leaking seams and rivets

Patch holes in aluminum hulls

Repair pitted or pin holed surfaces

If your hull is bare aluminum you can cover the entire surface with a high build epoxy primer to help seal and protect it such as Tuff Stuff. For application details see our link for application of a marine epoxy.

Now that your leaky rivets and seams have been repaired, you are ready to paint! Check out this How To Article for more information on how to paint your aluminum vessel.


Clear Coat My Bass Boat

how to apply gelcoatTypically the clear coat on a bass boat is meant to protect the metalflake. You can choose a clear paint or clear gelcoat.

Clear gelcoat is typically what bass boats use at the factory for UV protection over metalflake but gelcoat isn’t as easy to use as paint. Gelcoat typically covers 48 sq feet applied at 18 mils thick per gallon.

Ironside Urethane

Ironside Urethane

The paints available in clear for spray application are the Supermarine Mono Epoxy, Two Part Epoxy, and Ironside Urethane. Paints typically cover 200-400 sq feet per gallon.

So paint vs. gelcoat, the thicker the coating the longer it takes for the sun to burn through. Time in the sun/elements is what will determine how long the clear coat lasts.

Use each product link for more information on price, application and  coverage (tabs under picture for specs/how to use).

How to Apply Gelcoat 

Topside Boat Paint Options: What are your choices?




Boat Blister Repair

Has your boat developed a blister or two? Don’t worry too much! A blister is not a serious issue. Blisters very rarely get so bad that they cannot be repaired. You can even repair them yourself!

Needed materials: Acetone, sanding block, Hawk Epoxy, acid safe disposable brushes.

Hawk Epoxy KitMake sure the blisters are thoroughly drained and grind them deep enough to remove any damaged material beneath the gelcoat. Increase size of ground area as needed until all the laminate around the blister is sound. Clean the entire area and allow it time to dry.

f6-filler-large-may-2014The filler recommended for blister repair is F6 MicroSphere Fairing Filler. F6 MicroSphere Fairing Filler thickens to a white lightweight fairing compound for small to large areas.This creates an easy to sand putty that will help fill in transitions and hull imperfections.  Apply using a putty knife, spatula or trowel. Spread smoothly on the surface in a 1/8″ – 1/4″ layer using heavy hand pressure to displace air bubbles/voids. Try to force the material into holes or joints and smooth to the thickness needed.

Before applying the Hawk Epoxy, the hull must be very dry. Make sure the hull moisture is under 15% by using a moisture meter. Wipe down the entire area with clean rags and acetone. This will remove any remaining contaminants on the hull.

Hawk Epoxy is a low viscosity epoxy system that makes fiberglass repair easy for everyone! Equipped with a wide variety of Catalysts and fillers, you can mix up the exact epoxy batch needed for almost any job. For more information on how to mix Hawk Epoxy, click this link. Mix only enough Hawk Epoxy to use in 5-10 minutes. Apply the Hawk Epoxy to the hull using the Roll and Tip method. Use a roller to apply the epoxy and then use the tip of a high quality brush to smooth the epoxy evenly. The roller should be lint free and non-wicking. Any fibers that get in to the epoxy could compromise the integrity of the seal.

Apply the second coat when the first coat is tacky to the touch. Your finger should leave an imprint but not lift any of the epoxy coating. Allow the second coat to dry fully. Once it is completely cured, wash the repaired area with soap and water. The repair is now ready to be sanded and painted with Sea Hawk bottom paint. If redoing the hull apply Tuff Stuff primer, followed by bottom paint.

If the blister has damaged the fiberglass, that will need to be repaired with fiberglass cloth cut to match damaged area. There will be an upcoming How To Article that discusses that topic.

The video below is from Sea Hawk Paints and demonstrates how to seal a fiberglass hull using the Hawk Epoxy System.

Choosing Anodes: Zinc or Aluminum

The main water types: salt, fresh and brackish call for different protection needs for your boat. Zinc and aluminum anodes protect in salt and brackish waters and never mix zinc and aluminum on the same vessel.

Zinc= Salt Water only

Aluminum= Salt or Brackish Water

Zinc and aluminum sacrificial anodes are for use on hulls, propeller shafts, rudders, trim tabs, outboard engines, stern drives and in the cooling system of most inboard engines to protect metal parts from galvanic corrosion. Check your manual for recommended size needed and  check them on a regular basis as environmental conditions can accelerate deterioration.

Awlgrip vs. Awlcraft 2000 – What are the differences?

Awlgrip and Awlcraft 2000 – Which is better?

Awlgrip and Awlcraft 2000 are two different types of urethane topcoats manufactured by Awlgrip. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages and when trying to decide which to apply, it is important to know the differences between them.

Awlgip Marine PaintsAwlgrip is based on a polyester urethane resin and Awlcraft 2000 is based on an Acrylic Urethane resin. At the surface they seem very similar, but at the molecular level they are vastly different. Polyester molecules are much smaller than acrylic molecules. This means that at any given volume, there can be more polyester molecules than acrylic and this allows polyester films to be more dense and tough. Awlgrip has more abrasion and chemical resistance than Awlcraft and is usually more rigid.

Awlcraft, on the other hand is not without its own advantages.  It is generally easier to apply. The larger molecules and less dense film of the acrylic allows for faster drying and therefore less dust entrapment in the finish.  Both urethane topcoats will resist staining and provide a long lasting gloss. It is best to consider cure times, reparability, application methods, chemical resistance, as well as abrasion resistance when deciding which topcoat to choose.

Which is more suited for buffing?

Both Awlgrip and Awlcraft 2000 urethane topcoats have a protective resin layer. This layer is the first line of defense against UV light and abrasive damage. Underneath this resin is a layer of rich pigment particles that give the paint its bright shine and color. Awlgrip has a thicker protective resin layer and when the polyester is scratched, it is necessary to cut deeply into the resin to repair it. Buffing the surface leaves the pigment exposed and compromises the performance of the paint in the long run.

Awlcraft has a softer finish, due to the less dense molecular structure, and thus has a lower melting point. When this acrylic urethane is buffed, the resin is able to flow together and does not require cutting the surface as deeply. So, Awlcraft 2000 is more suited for buffing and Awlgrip will require a Fairing Compound.

Awlgrip vs Awlcraft 2000 – Fast Facts

Awlgrip Polyester Urethane Topcoat

  • Can be applied by spray or brush/roll.
  • Excellent color retention and chemical resistance.
  • More dense molecular structure.

Awlcraft 2000 – Acrylic Urethane Topcoat

  • For spray application only.
  • Superior flow-out and high gloss.
  • Fast drying to reduce dust entrapment.
  • More user friendly in application. Easy to repair.



Choosing a Bilge Pump

What are Bilge Pumps?

Bilge pumps are devices used in boats to remove unwanted water from the bilge compartment of a boat. (The bilge is the lowest compartment of the inside hull of a ship.) Whether you have a sailboat or powerboat, they are as important as lifejackets in an emergency. If there happened to be a collision that caused a leak, having a bilge pump actively removing water from the boat’s compartments could buy you precious time. However, as many experience boaters know, you cannot rely on a pump to keep your boat afloat indefinitely.

Main Types of Bilge Pumps

Non Automatic:

Non Automatic pumps are controlled by means of a float switch and/or a manual panel switch. The panel switch allows you to control the pump remotely. Using the float switch is beneficial because the pump only runs when the water reaches a certain level. After the water is pumped out and the level goes back down, the pump can shut off. The most common type of non-automatic pump is the Electrical Submersible Bilge Pump. They are easy to install, very effective, and have low amp draw. Also, the motor cartridge can be easily removed to clean out debris and other obstructions.


Automatic Bilge Pumps function without the use of a float switch. It uses the principle of impeller resistance to sense if any water is present. Depending on the brand, the pump will automatically turn on every 2.5 minutes to check for water. If water is present, the pump will know about it from the slight pressure on the impeller as it spins. It will continue to run until all the water has been pumped out. The voltage needed for both automatic and non-automatic pumps will vary from 12V – 32V, depending on the size and capacity of each pump.


If the boat’s electrical system goes out, a manual bilge pump would be invaluable. They are able to move lots of water effectively, but can be tiring to use. Water is heavy, and that weight is compounded when moving it some distance. When installing these sorts of pumps, take into consideration the ease of access, and imagine how it will be used. Putting a manual pump in a tight, cramped space may hinder your use of it when it is needed.

Which Pump is best for your boat?

The first thing to consider is the size of your boat. Smaller boats will need a good size pump because the bilge compartment is smaller and will fill up with water quicker than larger boats. Some boats have separate bilge compartments. If that is the case, it would be a good idea to have a pump for each section.

Most electric pumps are rated for the number of gallons that they can pump in an hour. (G.P.H.) It is recommended to select a pump the largest model that is still practical for your boat.  Also consider the size of your existing output hose and the capacity of your boat’s wiring and battery. Don’t hesitate to ask an expert when making these decisions. You can talk to a pump manufacturer and get their informed opinion.

Suggested Pump Capacity:

Boat Size

Number of Pumps

Pump Output in GPH

16’ – 20’



21’ – 26’


3000 – 3500

27’ – 35’


3500 – 4500

36’ – 42’



43’ – 49’



50’ – 59’


9000 – 10,000

Where to place Your Bilge Pump(s)?

It is always a good idea to have more than one bilge pump onboard. Many boaters have a backup pump installed in the same bilge compartment. The first pump may be smaller and positioned where the majority of water will pool inside. The secondary pump may be a bit higher inside the hull. This pump should be bigger than the first, because if the boat has collected that much water the main goal is to get it out as fast as possible.

When deciding where to place your pumps, observe where the water accumulates in the hull when the boat is at rest as well as in motion. For powerboats the water tends to flow toward the aft when the boat is moving. Sailboats tend to accumulate bilge water in the middle.

Bilge Pump Installation Reminders:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s specifications – especially on wires sizes
  • Use a vented loop – if the thru-hull discharge can be submerged, a siphoning effect can fill your hull instead of empty it.
  • Keep discharge hoses short – long hoses make the pump work harder than it has to.
  • Use waterproof connectors – any connections in the bilge area should be protected.
  • Use smooth bore hoses – corrugated hoses are cheaper but not effective for pumps.

Bilge Pumps Available from the Bottom Paint Store

How to Apply Non-Skid Paints

Non-skid paints can be used for various different applications and circumstances. The most common use of non-skid is on boats, or for marine use. Although that is the most common, it is used in many more conditions. Here are some other examples of how non skid paint can be used outside of the nautical setting.

  • Industrial Buildings
  • Amusement Parks
  • Utility Vehicles
  • Ramps
  • Mechanic Shop
  • Walk-in Freezers
  • Ski Areas
  • Handicap Utilities
  • Residential Decks
  • Stairs
  • Restaurant kitchens
  • Stadiums
  • Restrooms
  • Warehouse floors
  • Wooden Decks
  • Food prep areas
  • Hospitals
  • Schools

Floor GripWhen it comes to non skid paints, there are two types of paint you can go with.  The first category are non-skid paints that come with the non skid formula pre mixed. An example of this is the Supermarine non-skid paint  called Floor Grip, or Floor Grip II for wood. The supermarine paint is an easy paint to apply, especially for the “do it yourselfer”. For best results you will want to remove any of the existing paint on the surface with sand paper followed by a good pressure washing. This removes any grit or oil that may interfere with the adhesion of coats of non-skid paint you will be applying.

After cleaning the surface, you will need to let it dry before applying any primer. The recommended primer for this job would be SM-664D etching primer by Supermarine. Note, the Floor Grip II when applied to wood needs no primer. This will give a good surface for your non-skid paint to grip on to.

Please note: You only need the etching primer for Glazed tile, fiberglass, aluminum and composite materials. Once the primer dries you are ready to mix your non-skid paint. You may start by scraping the containe, using a stir stick, down the sides to help loosen the aggregate.  This step may be difficult and the use of a high speed mixer will ease the process as well as some of the SM-605 thinner . Once mixed for a good two minutes you are ready to apply the paint. Floor Grip Non-Skid Paint may be brushed or rolled on to a wet film thickness of 25-30 mils. The first coat is able to be recoated in 12-48 hours depending on the temperature and humidity levels. Try to avoid heavy overlaps on your strokes and heavy build up in single areas.

This non-skid coating comes in over 90 colors to choose from. Keep in mind the supermarine non-skid paint maintains its color and gloss without chalking, yellowing or fading.

The next option is to add non-skid to paint or gelcoat. This process is when you take paint/gelcoat and add a non-skid additive such as Duralux non-skid additive , Seahawk non-skid additive for gelcoat, Griptex for Awlgrip and Pro Tex for Supermarine paints

The additive for gelcoat is extremely easy and adds just one extra step to the gelcoat application process. You simply mix the additive in with the gel coat before application and then apply. Alternative preferred application methods include using a flour sifter, powdered sugar shaker, or the punctured container itself, sprinkle the non skid into the gelcoat or paint. To use the container, first punch holes in the lid with a nail or ice pick overlappping the broadcasting stroke to provide a uniform pattern.

The amount you use is completely subjective and dependent on what your goal is; it is recommended to use no more than a quart of non-skid per gallon of paint.  The available sizes of additive are a quart and a gallon. The same goes for the Duralux non-skid additive when you add it to the paint.

Do You Need Bottom Paint Thinner?

Bottom Paint is formulated to apply via brush or rolller. Under these normal application methods, there is no need to thin bottom paint (reduce bottom paint).

Bottom Paint Reducer

Bottom Paint Thinner

There are reducers for bottom paint, but these are used for spray applications, extremely hot climates (90F+) or if you applying to wood. (bottom paint should always be reduced by 20% for the first coat of bottom paint on wood.)

When used for these applications, please follow the manufacturers’ guidelines. (typically thin bottom paint no more than 10% unless barewood (20%) per application)). Be sure to use the correct thinner for the bottom paint that you are using. Do not mix competitive brands.

Don’t waste your money on bottom paint reducer unless your application meets these conditions. Otherwise, you are just spending more money thinning your bottom paint and waiting for it to dry! Remember that bottom is not like house paint, thinning bottom paint means that you are actually spreading less bottom paint over the surface. Bottom paint needs to be thick enough to repel growth as the paint film wears away over time.

How to Paint an Aluminum Jon Boat

Paint a Jon Boat

Aluminum Jon Boat

Jon Boats are flat bottom boats manufactured for easy maneuverability in shallow water. The most used material for construction is aluminum, making them lightweight and durable for fishing and hunting. A camouflage paint job is a good idea for hunters using a Jon boat to help blend into the surrounding land and water; choose your favorite color of marine enamel that come in over 15 colors and a higher gloss than camouflage paint. The easiest and most popular paint for your boat is the aluminum boat paint green or Aluma Hawk. These are both a paint/primer in one that can be applied to most surfaces with little preparation needed.

Make sure you have a location for painting your jon boat that is free from blowing dust and debris (a garage is ideal).

Surface Prep: The surface must be dry and free of grease, wax, dirt, or other foreign matter. Scrape off all loose paint and dull any gloss area with a light sanding or power brushing. Remove all dust with a cloth dampened with paint thinner and allow to dry, you can use wax and grease remover or acetone. Sand the existing jon boat paint surface or bare aluminum with 80-100 grit sandpaper.

Use a paint scraper or sander to remove any peeling paint or areas that are likely to cause peeling on your new paint. Don’t worry about scratches because these will make it easier for the new paint to adhere by etching the surface. Use a soft bristled brush to make sure you remove all debris left from sanding.

Painting a jon boat:

Duralux Aluminum Boat Green

A primer coat is used to help the paint adhere to the jon boat aluminum surface and provides an extra layer of protection from corrosion. When using the Camouflage Paint Spray Kit, Duralux Camouflage Paint, or Marine Enamel on bare aluminum apply two coats of Duralux Zinc Chromate after sanding. If using the Aluminum Boat Paint Green or Aluma Hawk, these can be your primer and paint.

Aluma Hawk PaintIf you choose to use a simple one-step system on your bare aluminum jon boat, then Duralux Aluminum Boat Paint Green or Aluma Hawk (available in Black, Jon Boat Green or Aluminum Grey) are an excellent choice since is can be used as a primer/paint in one over bare aluminum. You should prep the surface as stated above, and then wipe down the bare aluminum jon boat with white vinegar prior to coating. This acts like an acid and will “etch” the surface for better adhesion.  You will need to apply two coats of of Aluminum Boat Paint Green. (only available in dark green)

To make the inside have a non-skid surface use the Duralux Non-Skid with the Duralux products and the Non-Skid by Sea Hawk with the Alumi Hawk. See the ‘how to apply non-skid paints’ for more details.

How to Apply Bottom Paint Over Existing Bottom Paint

Bottom Painting is not very technical, but you must have a clean surface to insure good adhesion.

Refer to the Sea Hawk Compatibility Chart to determine if your existing coating is compatible with Sea Hawk antifoulant paint choice.To insure that your bottom paint adheres to your existing coating, it is important to have a clean prepared surface and an existing coating that is in good condition.

Known Compatibility of Existing Bottom Paint:
Power wash (pressure wash) to remove any loose paint,dirt, grease, or any other surface contaminants.
Scuff sand with 80 grit sandpaper, or scuff with a 3M Scotch-Brite® 7447 pad scrubbing thoroughly. Remove all residue and let dry.
Apply minimum of two coats of antifoulant. Allow 3 to 6 hours between coats and a minimum overnight dry. See the specific Technical Data Sheet for antifoulant being used. Some antifoulants may require more than 2 coats.

Unknown Compatibility* of Existing Antifoulant:
Power wash (pressure wash) to remove any loose paint,dirt, grease, or any other surface contaminants.
Scuff sand with 80 grit sandpaper, or scuff with a 3M Scotch-Brite® 7447 pad scrubbing thoroughly. Remove all residue and let dry.
Apply 1 coat of Bottom Paint PrimersHAWKocon or 1283 Island Primer (see respective technical data sheet)
Apply minimum of two coats of antifoulant. Allow 3 to 6 hours between coats and a minimum overnight dry.See the specific Technical Data Sheet for antifoulant being used. Some antifoulants may require more than 2 coats.

Poor Condition of Existing Antifoulant:
If previous coating is cracking, flaking or peeling then strip antifoulant with Marine Paint Stripper, or by sanding or commercial blast. Refer to Bare Fiberglass Application Guidelines for new antifoulant application.


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Common Questions About Us

How do I get more information or technical advice about the products you sell on your website? First check our Blog Articles by choosing from a category on the right side of this page. Our team of experts have spent countless hours writing HOW TO articles for many of the products we offer. You will find comprehensive answers to your technical questions along with the product links needed.

If the answer to your question is not there, our staff is available to answer technical questions. The fastest and easiest way to do this is through email by submitting your question to . Or for more advanced technical questions, please contact the manufacturer directly by going to their website via the about us tab.

Do you sell current, new products? Yes. The products we sell are always brand new and fresh from the factory. We offer no used, or preowned products.

Do you have a physical store location? Unfortunately we don’t have a store front, but we did ship out of 12 warehouse to anywhere in the world via our web store. Depending on the product(s) you order, you could have it the next day!

Do you have a printed catalog you can send me? We don’t offer a printed catalog. We are constantly adding new products and a printed catalog would be out-of-date as soon as it was printed! However, you can find over 30,000 items online that are updated daily. Many of the items ship for free anywhere in the US. Happy Shopping!

How do I locate an MSDS sheet or technical data sheet? We provide a link to this information on each product page.

What if I need warranty service? Our suppliers hold to the strictest standards of quality control, and all of our products are fully warranted by the manufacturer. If by chance you receive a product which is defective, the manufacturer’s warranty information and service address will be clearly marked on or in the package you receive. If your product is damaged in shipping, the issue can quickly be resolved by notifying UPS. If you ever have questions not answered by the manufacturer or by UPS, please contact us.

My Order:
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We only accept online orders via American Express, Discover, Mastercard, Visa and Paypal. You may also call us to place your order at 888-505-2313.

How do I know that you received my order? Upon completion of your order you will receive an email confirmation of your order. If for any reason any of the information is incorrect please contact us immediately so we can make the necessary changes.
When will my order ship? Most orders placed before 2:00 EST. Monday-Friday are shipped the same day. There are some exceptions, including boat covers, and pwc covers which ship 3-5 days after you place your order.

How do I know when my order ships? As soon as your order ships we will send you an email confirmation with the tracking numbers next to the items that you have purchased.

How do I track my Order? As soon as your order ships we will send you an email confirmation with the tracking numbers. Login to your account and click on the tracking number. That will take you to the UPS website where you can track your order.

How do I Cancel an order? We are committed to shipping your order as quickly as possible. In the event that you wish to cancel this order, the cancellation must take place within 2 hours from the time the order was placed. We are unable to cancel your order after this time period because your order is already in the fulfillment process. Please email us at  to find out if your order shipped and to request cancellation of your order. Most orders are shipped within a few hours after being placed. If your order has already been shipped, simply refuse the order upon delivery and we will refund any charges to your credit card less the shipping cost.

How do I return an order or item(s) from my order? Your Satisfaction is our top priority! You can return any item for any reason for a refund within 15 days of receipt. Returns must be in salable condition, with ALL original materials and packaging and require a Return Authorization Number.  You are responsible for return shipping and any shipping charges are not refundable except in the case of defective merchandise. Please email or call us to request a Return Authorization Number.

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Shipping costs are based on UPS rates plus packaging if any. Most products are shipped via UPS Ground. Larger orders may be shipped with a freight company. Once you have placed items in your shopping cart, you can proceed to “Checkout” and then enter your zip code to calculate shipping charges, if any.

Do you ship International? No. We currently only ship to US addresses.

Will I be charged sales tax? We are not required to collect sales and use tax on deliveries throughout the US except in Florida. Any order shipped to Florida will be charged sales tax of 7%. You may be responsible for payment of tax in your state if otherwise required.

Delivery, and Returns:
How long will it take to receive my order via UPS Ground shipping?
  Must orders placed before 2:00 EST. Monday-Friday are shipped the same day. After the product leaves the warehouse, standard UPS shipping times apply.
The map below shows estimated shipping times for items shipped via UPS Ground from our main warehouse In Florida, to destinations in the US. Please note that your order may ship from a manufacturer, or another warehouse resulting in less or more time stated below.


Can I return an order or item(s) from my order? Absolutely! You can return any item for any reason for a refund within 15 days of receipt. (10 days for Gelcoats) Returns must be in salable condition, with ALL original materials and packaging and require a Return Authorization Number.  You are responsible for return shipping and initial shipping charges are not refundable except in the case of defective merchandise. Click here to request a return authorization number.

Do you charge re-stocking fees for returned merchandise? No. As long as the item is returned in salable condition you will NOT be charged a restocking fee. Original shipping costs will not be credited whether paid by you, or by Bottom Paint Store via a free shipping promotion at the time of purchase.

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  YES! Your credit card information is protected with a secure SSL Certificate that encrypts all of your transactions through our site with industry-standard secure sockets layer (SSL) technology. If our online store accepts your credit card, rest assured that both your credit card information and personal information are protected. We do not retain any credit card information on file.

How to Apply Gelcoat

how to apply gelcoat
Below you will find a detailed gel coat preparation guide on how to apply gelcoat to your boat RV or other surface. Take steps to cover and protect the rest of the boat before starting. When working on the deck or cabin, tarp off the adjacent areas. 3M and UV tapes , and masking papers are recommended.

Prepping the Boat

    • Remove rails, cleats, louvers, snaps, striping tape, etc.
    • Duct tape off adjacent gunwale molding, and deck fittings you are unable to remove. **NOTE** Duct tape is recommended over masking tape because it provides better protection.
    • Remove seals from the edges of parts or fittings when doing a repair around that part or fitting.

Sanding Existing Gel Coat
The heavier fast-cut grits (40/80/100) are used to feather sand and ground out a routed area prior to filling. Also, they are used for the first sanding of gouges, dock dings, scratches, and blisters. When sanding areas that have been filled with putty we suggest using 40 or 80 grit sandpaper, depending on how large the repair is. Once the fill area is level or contoured to the desired shape, sand with 100 grit paper to remove the course scratches from 40 or 80 grit. You should also feather the surrounding area of the gelcoat repair with 220/330. At this point, the repair is ready to prep and spray/brush with gel coat. When sanding flat areas use a rubber block. Use 3M Abrasives for best results.

Gel Coat Surfacing Agents

Sea Hawk 8140 Wax Additive: Add up to 4oz of 8140 Wax Additive per gallon for tack free surface on the final coat, or if applying one coat a recommended film thickness.

Sea Hawk Patch Aid 8185: Add 25-33% Sea Hawk Patch Aid 8185 when applying gelcoat for small repairs, to improve the working properties of traditional gel coat spray patches. Patch Aid is an additive that significantly improves the application, appearance and longevity of Sea Hawk Gel Coat patches, and also gives a faster cure, harder patch, superior gloss, consistent cold weather performance, superior color match, and less halo. Patch Booster also eliminates the need to thin, or add wax to gel coats prior to patching. Do NOT combine with Sea Hawk 8140. Use either one (8140,8145) but NOT both!


Tinting: Sea Hawk Neutral Gelcoat may be tinted using Sea Hawk colorants designed for use in Sea Hawk resins and gel coats. Do not use more than 1 oz tint per quart.

Thinning Sea Hawk Premium Gel Coat

Sea Hawk Premium Gel Coat may be thinned up to 10% with Sea Hawk 7125 Gel Coat Thinner, or 25-33% Sea Hawk Patch Aid 8185. Use one or the other. Do Not combine. Acetone is NOT recommended except in clean up. Always add thinner, tint, or other approved additives prior to catalyzing with MEKp (also known as the hardener). Over thinning will result in an inadequate thickness for full curing. It is always best to start with 5% and work your way up to 10% if necessary.

Catalyzing Sea Hawk Gelcoat with MEKP: The catalyst level (MEKP) should not exceed 3.0% or fall below 1.2 for proper cure. Ideal range is 1.8% @ 77°F. Gel time at 1.8% MEKP is 10-17 minutes. This time element is dependent on material temperature, room temperature, humidity, air movement, and catalyst concentration. Gelcoat should not be used when temperature conditions are below 60°F, as curing may be adversely affected.

MEKP Catalyst Levels

Spraying Gelcoat
gelcoat spray gunSea Hawk Gelcoat may be thinned for use in a gel coat spray gun or preval sprayer with MEK gel coat Thinner. Acetone is NOT recommended except in clean up. Do not use more than 10% by volume of thinner, and always add thinner, tint, or metal flake first then add the Catalyst or Hardener and mix thoroughly. Over thinning will result in an inadequate thickness for full curing.
Please note:

  • Sea Hawk Gel Coat requires the addition of fiberglass resin hardener or catalyst (MEKP) at 1.8% by volume (77ºF) (approximately 12 drops per ounce)
  • Measure catalyst accurately. Under or over catalyzation retards curing and causes fading and chalking
  • Sea Hawk Gelcoat will not fully cure without adding a surfacing agent or wax additive sanding aid. You can over-spraying with PVA before gel coal reaches its gel stage (5-10 min.), or adding 1oz per quart of wax addtiive sanding aid.
  • All Gelcoats from the Bottom Paint Store come with the MEKP catalyst and wax additive sanding aid, but additional amounts can be purchased.
  • Gelcoat should not be applied over paint, wood, metal or concrete. It usually will not adhere to these surfaces.

Initially spray a cover coat as smooth and evenly as you can to cover your repair. This coat should be mostly in the repair area, and may be repeated. Sanding between coats is not necessary unless a surfacing agent has been added to your gel coat. Once your repair is covered, feather a ‘flow’ or sanding coat on the masked-off area making layered passes to avoid a buildup of gel coat in any one area. Each of these coats of gelcoat may involve several passes. Be even and consistent in your gun movement, overlapping each previous pass slightly and not hesitating on the ends. When spraying to a radius, flow the gelcoat to the tape. In open flat areas, layer passes. Final thickness should be 16-20 mils minimum or the gelcoat may not fully cure. As soon as you are done spraying, clean your sprayer fully with acetone. Most re-sprayed gel coat will cure in 2-4 hours, although overnight cures are ideal. Begin wet sanding with the finest grit that will remove orange peel in the re-sprayed area. This will avoid unnecessary sanding scratches. Usually 320 or 400 grit wet paper is sufficient for the initial sanding. Wet sand to a 600 finish and buff with 3M Finesse-It Marine Compound and polish with Scotchgard Marine Liquid Wax.

Brushing Gelcoat – (Use a Brushable Gelcoat)

When applying gelcoat by brush, we recommend the Ultra Plus Brushable Gelcoat.  (Sea Hawk Premium Gelcoat is best applied by Spray) The Ultra Plus Brushable Gelcoat is designed to self-leveling and is much easier application. It allows for a much smoother finish and less time finishing the gelcoat. It is easy to use for the “do it your selfers’!

Choose a good pure (natural) resin resistant bristle brush with tapered ends. Avoid brushes that are either too stiff or too soft. For most work, a 3″ or 4″ wide brush will suffice. If there is a trim color, you should have a narrow trim brush on hand.

Finishing Gelcoat
The major disadvantage of most polyester coatings is that they cannot be applied in a perfect “self leveling” coat.  ( except the Brushable Gelcoat) Sea Hawk Premium Gel Coat must be mechanically finished by wet/dry sanding and polishing if a factory mold finish is to be expected. For best results we recommend spraying the Sea Hawk Gelcoat. Sand the entire surface to be coated with 150 grit sandpaper. If cracks or gouges are present, they should be repaired first. When sanding gelcoat is completed, the surface should be free of flaws and perfectly smooth.


Choose a shady location or an overcast day. You should catalyze your material so that it cures as quickly as possible within your working time. Generally mix one-pint batches. A good practice is to pour the mixed gel coat from the mixing container into another container used for application. This further assures that no uncatalyzed material is clinging to the sides of the pot. “Lay on” the gel coat in a heavy thickness (about 10 mils) using horizontal strokes, and working from top to bottom. Avoid re-brushing as this could remove the waxy surface additive. Remember to always lap wet. Generally, one heavy coat is sufficient. However, if you have opacity problems two coats may be necessary with a light sanding between coats. Once the coating (gelcoat) has cured, it should be block sanded using a 250 wet grit paper to remove all brush marks and high spots. Following this, it should be wet sanded with 320, 400 and 600 wet grit paper, buffed, polished and waxed.

Important Tips

1. Clean repair area and all tools with acetone prior to application

2. Pot life (amount of time for application of the product) shortens dramatically as you mix larger batch sizes. Keep in mind that you have a limited time to apply what you have mixed (usually between 5-15 minutes).

3. Measure catalyst accurately. Under- or over-catalyzed gel coat will cure slower and look faded or chalky.

4. Do not add more than 10% by volume of MEK gel coat Thinner. ( Not necessary for the Ultra Plus Brushable Gelcoat)

5. Gel coat will not fully cure without adding a surfacing agent or over spraying with PVA

6. Do not work in direct sunlight

7. Check color thoroughly before applying. Gelcoat will not darken or change colors when it dries. The color wet is the color when dry.

8. Store gel coat in a cool, dry place

9. Gel coat should be applied in temperatures of 60ºF to 80ºF

10. Always use eye and hand protection

11. Read all warnings on product labels

What’s the difference between freshwater bottom paint and salt water bottom paint?

Typically there is less growth in fresh water than in salt water. For that reason, bottom paint used in fresh water usually have less active ingredients (copper, zinc, etc.) to prevent growth. Most bottom paint for salt water can be used in fresh water. However, there are some exception, such as, Interlux Micron 66. This paint is limited to salt water only. Using Micron 66 bottom paint in fresh water, or where there is a lot of fresh water run off, will result in failure of the coating.

Consider using a bottom paint that is good in both fresh water and salt water. All of Sea Hawk Paints bottom paints are good for either types of waters and are considered both fresh water bottom paint and salt water bottom paint. You never know where you might travel that will have significant fresh water run off!

Keep in mind that you probably don’t need the top performing paint like Sea Hawk Biocop TF bottom paint if you are in fresh water. You can go with a less expensive alternative like AF-33 or Silver Bullet. Anything more is probably over kill!