Tag Archives: ablative bottom paint

What Is The Best Bottom Paint For Trailered Boats?

If you boat in salt water, then you know that a good coat of bottom paint is key to keeping your boat looking great and performing well. Not only does it protect your boat from the elements, but it also keeps it looking good. But what is the best bottom paint for trailered boats? There are a lot of different types and brands on the market so it can be tough to decide. In this article post, we’ll discuss the different types of bottom paint and help provide an overview so you can decide which one is right for you.

What paint should I use for the bottom of my boat?

For those who are new to the world of boat ownership, the task of bottom painting can seem a bit daunting. After all, there are a lot of different products on the market, and it can be difficult to know which one is right for your boat. Bottom paint is designed to protect the bottom of your boat from barnacles, algae, and other marine growth. It also helps to prevent corrosion and make it easier to clean the bottom of your boat. When choosing a bottom paint, it is important to consider the type of boat you have, the water conditions in your area, and the level of maintenance you are willing to perform. With so many different products on the market, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. However, by taking the time to do your research, you can find the perfect bottom paint for your boat.


There are three main types of bottom paint: ablative, hard, and semi-hard. Ablative bottom paint is the most popular type; it wears away over time, which allows it to continually renew itself. This makes ablative bottom paint ideal for boats that are used frequently. Hard bottom paint, on the other hand, is designed to last longer; it doesn’t wear away as quickly as ablative bottom paint, but it also doesn’t provide as much protection. Semi-hard bottom paint is a blend of the two; it’s more durable than ablative bottom paint but not as long-lasting as hard bottom paint.


As for brands, there are dozens of different companies that make bottom paint. New Nautical Coatings, Interlux, Pettit, and Aquaguard are just a few of the most popular brands. Interlux offers a wide variety of ablative and semi-hard bottom paints, including their well-known Micron CSC formula. Pettit makes both ablative and hard bottom paints, including their Trinidad Pro, featuring a high copper load and slime resistance to provide unprecedented resistance to all fouling.


New Nautical Coatings, Sea Hawk Paints, includes a wide range of economical and premium ablative and hard bottom paints for various conditions and price points.

If you’re looking for the best bottom paint for aluminum boats, Colorkote is a good way to go. This high-quality paint provides a durable barrier against corrosion, while also being able to withstand the rigors of saltwater conditions. Colorkote is also easy to apply and dries quickly, so you can get back on the water in no time. So, if you’re looking for a bottom paint for your aluminum boat, Colorkote is a great choice.

Colorkote

For those who want an eco-friendly option, Smart Solutions Metal Free Bottom Paint is the best eco-friendly bottom paint on the market. It is made with a specially formulated resin that is designed to bind to metal surfaces, making it an ideal choice for boats and other watercraft. The binding agent in the resin helps to prevent metals from leaching into the water, making Smart Solution Metal Free Bottom Paint an environmentally friendly option. In addition, the binding agent also helps to prevent barnacles and other marine growth from attaching to the hull, making it easier to clean and extending the life of the boat. Smart Solution Metal Free Bottom Paint is available in a variety of colors, making it easy to find a color that matches your boat. It is also exceptionally durable, lasting up to three years with proper maintenance. Smart Solution Metal Free Bottom Paint is the best choice for those looking for an eco-friendly bottom paint that is also effective and long-lasting.

Sea Hawk Smart Solution Outdrive Paint

Finally, if you’re looking for a high-performance racing bottom paint, Pettit Hard Racing Copper Bronze is a high-performance bottom paint that is specifically designed for racing boats. It is made with a copper-infused epoxy resin, which provides exceptional protection against fouling organisms. The Pettit Hard Racing Copper Bronze also has a high load-carrying capacity and resistance to abrasion, making it an ideal choice for high-speed racing boats. In addition, the Pettit Hard Racing Copper Bronze is available in a wide range of colors, so you can choose the perfect color to match your boat. Hard Racing Copper Bronze is recommended for use in fresh water on racing hulls, sailboats, runabouts, or cruisers. You can use it in saltwater for small, dry sailed boats which are not left in the water. When used above the waterline in saltwater, Hard Racing Copper Bronze will oxidize to a green color if not overcoated with a clear sealing coat.

How long does bottom paint last on a boat?

Bottom paint is designed to last for several years, however, longevity depends on the paint. It will eventually break down and need to be replaced. The specific lifespan will depend on a number of factors, including the type of paint used, the boat’s exposure to sunlight and water, and the amount of wear and tear the bottom of the boat experiences. In general, bottom paint can be expected to last for several years before it needs to be replaced. This makes it a wise investment for any boat owner who wants to protect their investment and keep their boat looking its best.

Final thoughts

Choosing the best bottom paint for your trailered boat comes down to personal preference. If you’re looking for something that will last longer, go with a hard or semi-hard bottom paint; if you’re looking for something that’s easier to apply and renew, go with an ablative bottom paint. Just pick one that’s reputable and has a good track record.

When it comes to choosing the best bottom paint for your trailered boat, there are a lot of factors to consider. If you have any questions or would like assistance, the Bottom Paint Store technical support team can help you find the perfect paint for your boat—whether you’re looking for something eco-friendly, high-performance, or long-lasting.

Using a Signal Coat Indicator for Repainting Ablative Antifouling Paint

Antifouling paint is a type of underwater hull paint, also known as bottom paint. These specialized coatings are designed for the exterior of the hull of a ship or boat and combat the growth, as wells as, the detachment of underwater organisms, such as seaweed, algae, and barnacles. These aquatic life forms bind to the hull and impact a vessel’s performance and longevity.

Anti-fouling paints are often applied as one component of a multi-layering process which can have other benefits in addition to their antifouling properties, such as acting as a barrier against corrosion on metal hulls that will degrade and weaken the metal, or improving the flow of water past the hull of a boat or yacht.

Boaters recognized early on it is important to keep the bottom of their craft free of barnacles due to loss of speed and performance. The key is knowing when to pull your boat out of the water for a new bottom paint application. Ablative paints are typically reapplied every 1–3 years. One way to ensure you reapply your ablative antifouling paint when it’s needed is by adding a signal coat or flag coat.

To apply a signal/flag coat, when you are getting multiple coats of ablative bottom paint applied to your hull, make the first coat a different color. For example, if the bottom is going to be painted blue, make the first coat red. When the blue paint wears off and you see the red flag coat, it is time to repaint.

ablative bottom paint
Aquaguard is an excellent antifouling bottom paint

If you need further assistance with your boat painting project feel free to contact our technical team Monday-Friday 8:30-5:00 pm EST.

Do I Need Bottom Paint on My Boat?

Sea Hawk Cukote Bottom PaintTypically when people discuss bottom paint on a boat they are referring to Antifouling paint. Bottom paint prevents growth of organisms that attach to the hull and can affect a vessels speed, performance, and durability when boat is kept in the water for extended periods of time.  If you don’t have that problem, you may not need bottom paint. Antifouling bottom paint typically has a flat, dull finish that is used below the waterline.

If you don’t have a growth problem or would like a nice shine to your boat’s bottom look to our other items like gelcoat or a topside paint for moderate water exposure or an aluminum paint with no antifouling agents. Gelcoat adheres to most gelcoats or fiberglass/resins, see how to apply gelcoat.  A boat bottom with antifouling will need to have it removed via sanding, sandblasting or bottom paint remover before a different type of paint will adhere.

There are generally two types of bottom paint both of which have several variations that create a multitude of products in the market place. The two different types or categories of bottom paint include hard bottom paint and ablative bottom paint.

Hard Bottom Paint vs. Ablative Bottom Paint

Hard bottom paint is bottom paint that is a hard modified epoxy. After you apply hard bottom paint it is very durable and does not wear off. Hard bottom paints typically have a higher ratio of pesticides (usually copper) in them that are exposed in the outer surface of the bottom paint coating. As time goes by, the coating oxidizes and becomes less effective in combating marine growth. Hard bottom paint is generally used on boats when the boat sits for long periods of time without moving at all, or there is little movement of water (current/ tide) around the boat. You should not use a hard paint if you boat comes out of the water such as on a trailer or a lift. After 72 hours, the hard bottom paint will oxidize on the outer surface from the air and becomes ineffective. If you are trailering your boat, or keep it on a lift you should always use ablative bottom paint.

Ablative bottom paint, also known as self- polishing bottom paint, is softer and allows the coating to wear off at a controlled rate. Much like a bar of soap, once the boat moves in the water or there is a current and or tide, the outer layer slowly wears away. The wearing away of the self-polishing bottom paint allows for new, unoxidized paint to be exposed. Therefore, if you are trailering your boat, or it comes in and out of the water for any reason, the paint will oxidize within 72 hours. However, once placed back in service, that oxidized ablative paint wears away and exposes a new fresh outer coating with active protection. Ablative bottom paint is a newer technology then hard paint. It is the preferred bottom paint of most users since it typically lasts longer and continuously exposes a new active outer coating that protects against marine growth.

How long does bottom paint last on a boat?

In general, you should apply boat bottom paint once a year, however; some bottom paints can last for two years. If your boat is kept in the water or you use it regularly, you you have it checked annually to determine if it requires a new bottom paint coating.

For more how to use details see How to apply bottom paint to bare fiberglass or How to apply bottom paint over existing bottom paint.

How much does it cost to bottom paint a boat?

How much does it cost to bottom paint a boat?

The cost to paint the bottom of your boat depends on a number of factors including the size of your boat, the paint you choose and whether you use a primer or not. Other factors include whether you will paint your boat or hire someone to paint it. For example, Biocop TF by Sea Hawk, is a popular bottom paint and currently costs $275.77 a gallon and provides theoretical coverage of 315 square feet per gallon. If the bottom surface of your boat is 700 square feet you would theoretically need to purchase three gallons (Biocop is not offered in quarts) at a total cost of $827. 31 for the three gallons.

That may seem expensive for paint, however boat bottom paint uses antifouling properties in order to protect the boat’s bottom from organisms found in saltwater and other elements.

For information on calculating how much paint you need to paint your boat bottom you can refer to our Bottom Paint Calculator.

What is the difference in Hard Bottom Paint and Ablative Bottom Paint?

Hard Bottom Paint Vs. Ablative Bottom Paint

Bottom paint is generally used to keep the growth off of the bottom of your boat. There are generally two types of bottom paint both of which have several variations that create a multitude of products in the market place. The two different types or categories of bottom paint include a hard bottom paint, and an ablative bottom paint.

Sharskin Hard Bottom PaintHard Bottom Paint is bottom paint that is a hard modified epoxy. After you apply a hard bottom paint it is very durable and does not wear off. Hard Bottom Paints ypically have a higher ratio of pesticides (usually copper)  in them that are exposed in the outer surface of the bottom paint coating. As time goes buy, the coating oxidizes and becomes less effective in combating marine growth. Hard bottom paint is generally used on boats when the boat sits for long periods of time without moving at all, or there is little movement of water (current/ tide) around the boat. You should not use a hard paint if you boat comes out of the water such as on a trailer, or a lift. After 72 hours, the hard bottom paint will oxidize on the outer surface from the air and becomes ineffective. If you are trailering your boat, or keep it on a lift you should always use an ablative bottom paint.

AF-33 Ablative Bottom PaintAblative bottom paint, also known as self- polishing bottom paint, is softer and allows the coating to wear off at a controlled rate. Much like a bar of soap, once the boat moves in the water or there is a current and or tide, the outer layer slowly wears away. The wearing away of the self-polishing bottom paint allows for new, un-oxidized paint to be exposed. Therefore, if you are trailering your boat, or it comes in and out of the water for any reason, the paint will oxidize within 72 hours. However, once placed back in service, that oxidized ablative paint wears away and exposes a new fresh outer coating with active protection. Ablative bottom paint is a newer technology then hard paint. It is the preferred bottom paint of most users since it typically lasts longer and continuously exposes a new active outer coating that protects against marine growth.

Related Articles and links:

Hard Bottom Paint

Ablative Bottom Paint

Applying Bottom Paint