Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Paint Testing in Estuaries

Practical Sailor does a nice job of testing a huge slate of paints in Florida seawater, and occasionally other locations (New England, Australia). Just this month they have a nice round-up. But in many estuaries paint selection can be very local, the salinity and pollutant load situation specific. So run your own private test. When you consider what bottom paint costs, this is quite practical. Share the work and expense around the marina, and it's chump change. Every full-service marina should do this.

  • Panels: 16" x 48" GRP shower surround material from Home Depot. Since I use this for many other projects around the boat (window covers, wire guards, small fabrications), this is just scrap.
  • Floats: 2" x 60" PVC pipe with the ends capped.
Mask the panel off into rectangles and paint. The number of coats varies, but I would use 2 for 20year paints and 1 for single season paints, since that is how they would be applied. Drill holes every 12 inches and connect the  float tot he panels with 3/16" clothes line or equivalent.  Suspend so that it floats with the tide.

My test panels are actually for an article on cleaning method (one is not cleaned, and others will be cleaned using different sorts of scrubbers), but this is the basic paint testing set-up.

I would not bother in seawater--the Practical Sailor tests should be good--but in the upper Chesapeake Bay, for example, this seems obvious.

If I learn anything cool, it will most likely show up in Practical Sailor.

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