How To Remove Antifouling

Disclaimer: This post is intended as a guide.

As we come to the end of the sailing season, it’s time to consider laying up your boat for the winter and one aspect of this is removing the antifoul from your boat if it is in poor condition.

Now, opinions are split on when is best to strip the old antifoul. Some people will wait until next year when they bring their boat out to apply fresh antifoul. However, there is a train of thought that suggests doing it now could save in time and effort in the lead up to the season next year as the old antifoul is still soft and easier to strip.

We briefly covered how to remove antifouling in our Antifouling FAQs post earlier this year but we have now expanded on this topic further with its own dedicated blog post.

Read on to find out how best to remove antifoul from your boat.

1. Prioritise Health & Safety.

It’s extremely important before you begin this type of work to ensure you are wearing the correct protective gear. This includes safety goggles, nitrile rubber gloves, overalls, and a solvent mask (if working in a confined space).

bcf-antifouling-dos-donts

It is also highly recommended that you work in an area that is sufficiently ventilated.

Although it is more focused on applying rather than removing, it is worth keeping in mind this handy leaflet created by The British Coatings Federation (BCF) to “inform and educate boat owners with regard to the hazards associated with antifouling their boats.”

2. Remove loose antifouling.

Whether the boat has just come out of the water or it has just come out of storage, you’ll want to begin by removing any loose antifouling with a high-pressure fresh-water washer.

Make sure that any residue and wash water is contained during this process and disposed of appropriately afterwards. Once this has been completed, mask off all areas that will be stripped.

3. Use an antifouling stripper.

interstrip

To remove old antifouling, you can use a paint stripper like International’s Interstrip AF. These products have been specially formulated to remove antifouling from all substrates and Interstrip, in particular, won’t harm the gelcoat when used on glass fibre.

Application of the paint stripper should be generous and with an old brush. Ensure you follow further application guidelines provided on the product label.

You should leave the product to work for a minimum of 10 minutes, though the time required will depend on the temperature and the amount of old antifouling on the hull.

4. Remove old antifoul.

Once the appropriate amount of time for the stripper has passed, take off the old antifoul with a blunt scraper while it is still soft. Ensure the product does not dry out by working on small areas at a time.

Interstrip is able to remove several coats of antifoul in one go but heavy build-up might require this step to be repeated several times.

Final Note: Remember that you will need to sand and prime the hull before applying fresh antifouling.


N.B. Due to the strict carriage of dangerous goods regulations, Gael Force can only dispatch antifouling and associated products to addresses on the UK Mainland.

Gael Force’s Guide To Buying An Inflatable Boat

Whether you’ve been sailing for years or this is your first, the information provided in this guide should come in handy for you. Inflatables can be used for a multitude of purposes so make sure you keep that in mind when deciding on what one to buy.

Have a read through our buying guide below to find out all about the things you should consider when planning your purchase.

BUDGET

From WavEco to Aquafax and, there are many brands to choose from and options to consider when purchasing an inflatable boat, not least of all, your budget.

The first thing you need to decide is how much you are willing to spend on your new dinghy before you can get down to the nitty-gritty of the specific boat options.

Gael Force’s offering of inflatable boats ranges from £299 to £1,079.99 based on the specifics below.

SIZE

The size of your inflatable will depend on how many people and how much equipment you intend to carry on your boat.

The capacity of dinghies usually ranges from 2 to 4 people but it will also depend on how much space you would like for those passengers.

A 2.3m dinghy will have less space for 3 passengers with equipment than a 3m dinghy but the 2.3m may suffice for just 2 passengers.

When thinking about the size, also pay attention to the maximum load capacity of the dinghy and use that as a guide. This may mean your boat can comfortably fit 2 adults and 2 children on one outing or 3 adults on another.

PVC VS HYPALON?

Another point for consideration is – what material do you want? Dinghies are made of either PVC or Hypalon and the main difference between the two is the price and durability.

pvc-boat

WavEco PVC inflatable

PVC boats are particularly popular as they are more lightweight and cheaper than Hypalon. PVC boats can be folded easily, making them more compact to store when not in use, and the material can be incredibly strong.

However, PVC can be susceptible to deterioration if left exposed to sunlight, heat and humidity.

Hypalon is much heavier and more expensive than PVC but it is much more robust as a material. It is commonly used in the construction of heavy-duty RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boat).

If you intend to use your boat frequently, then the Hypalon is the best option as it is ready-built. However, if you don’t plan to use it often then PVC is better as it can be stored far easier.

SLATTED FLOOR, AIR DECK OR AIR V-FLOOR?

There are pros and cons for any floor on your dinghy and again, it comes down to your intended use of it.

Slatted floors tend to hold the dirt and sand but they are quick to set up and are more hard-wearing, particularly if you have a lot of traffic going off and on the boat.

air-v-floor-boat

Honwave Air V-Floor

The Air Deck is more stable than the Slatted Floor along with being lighter and drier. It folds up compactly into a roll as well.

However, lots of traffic can result in more wear and tear as there isn’t really anything to protect the PVC.

The Air V-Floor on the Honwave is best if you want a dinghy that is light and speedy. The V shape of the hull means it cuts through the water better than other rounded dinghies. The downside is that these tend to be more expensive.

ROUNDTAIL OR TRANSOM?

Choosing between roundtail or transom mainly comes down to whether or not you would like to use an engine.

Roundtails are not conducive to holding an engine so you would need to row it but the upside is that there is more space for the length.

On the other hand, a dinghy with a transom can use an outboard engine and is more stable than the roundtail. However, the transom does make the dinghy heavier overall than the roundtail.

OUTBOARD ENGINE OR NOT?

Whether you get an outboard engine for your dinghy or not will depend largely on what you intend to use your dinghy for.

waveco-aluminium-oars

Waveline Aluminium Oars

If you are using it to travel back and forth from your boat to land (depending on the distance), you may well decide to simply use oars to paddle.

On the other hand, if you will use your boat to travel longer distances then setting it up with an outboard engine is likely a good choice.

When choosing an engine, you should also consider how much it will weigh down your boat.

2.3hp-4stroke-engine

2.3hp Short Shaft Engine

Given that the boat will be carrying you and your passengers, supplies, fuel and the engine itself, you might want to consider a lightweight engine that won’t struggle too much with everything aboard.

If you are only going to be using the boat inshore, you will be better off with a short shaft engine.

When considering the horsepower, you can also look at the specifications of the boat to find out the maximum engine power.


Choosing the right inflatable boat can be an expensive purchase so make sure you take your time deciding which one is right for you.

Browse Gael Force’s range of products below:

Inflatable and rigid boats

Outboard Engines

Oars and Rowlocks

MCA – What are the minimum compliance requirements for fishing vessels?

At the end of last year, the Maritime and Coastal Agency (MCA) updated their documentation for ensuring fishing vessel compliance with international and UK safety requirements and correct certificates for vessels to operate in territorial waters.

Some of the main changes are:

  • Liferafts are now required on open vessels 7m (L) – 15m (LOA) and decked vessels 7-10m (L) (The type of liferaft required depends on the distance from a safe haven based on operating miles).
  • Emergency drills are mandatory.
  • Radar reflectors must be fitted to all vessels.
  • Bilge Alarms should be added to open vessels 7m (L) – 15m (LOA).
  • Certificates must be issued for Small Fishing Vessels.
  • EPIRBs with built-in GPS receiver are required for all vessels over 10m (L).
  • Vessels under 10m can have PLBs for each crew member or an EPIRB.
  • Carbon Monoxide Monitors should be fitted if the vessel has an enclosed cooking/heating space.

If you have previously registered your vessel, you will not have to meet the new liferaft and EPIRB/PLB requirements right away but you do have to meet them by the end of October 2019. Any vessels newly registering need to comply immediately.

While not mandatory, the Code also strongly recommends that all fishermen wear Personal Flotation Devices.

The products required on board are much the same across the different sizes of vessels (under 7m, 7-12m, 12-15m) however, the larger the vessel, the higher the quantity of the products you will need.

What you need to do now:

The process of ensuring your vessel complies can be time-consuming so to make things easier, Gael Force has pulled together a list of products that are suitable for Open and Decked vessels of various sizes so that our customers can stock up and meet these requirements for inspection.

We’ve also included a guidance document/checklist for each vessel for quantities required for each product which can be found on the individual vessel pages.

These lists are intended as a guide. You should always check your specific requirements directly with the MCA.

Their updated documentation can be read here which includes the full list of changes.

mca-updates-front-page

Antifouling FAQs – What, Why, How and When

Whether you’re a seasoned professional, a cautious novice, or somewhere in between, antifouling is a significant part of the maintenance of your boat and something you need to know about.

If you didn’t already know, antifouling is a type of paint that is used to protect your boat’s hull against a variety of marine growth which can affect the performance of your boat along with fuel efficiency.

Despite the persistent snow and ice over the past 8 weeks, we’ll soon be coming out of winter and into boating season again so it’s time to start thinking about preparing your boat.

To help with this, we’ve answered some common questions regarding antifouling to get you ready for another successful season.

Feel free to click on the links below to jump to the question you’re interested in reading an answer to:

1. When should I apply antifouling?
2. How often should I apply antifouling?
3. What antifouling paint should I use?
4. How much antifouling paint do I need?
5. How do I apply antifouling?
6. How do I remove antifouling?

1. When should I apply antifouling?

The optimal time to apply antifouling is in dry weather (accounting for the extra time required for multiple coats and drying times) when it is above 12 degrees.

uk map

In the UK, it can be difficult to get long stretches of dry and warmer weather so you may need to wait for the best time of year, depending on where you store your boat.

If you’re in the Highlands of Scotland, April to October offers the right temperature. For the Lowlands of Scotland, this stretches out to between March and November while the weather in the east and west coasts of England may allow you to start work as early as February, also lasting into November.

It is also worth noting that freshly painted boats release their biocides better so it’s best to antifoul your boat a maximum of 12 weeks before launch.

2. How often should I apply antifouling?

This really depends on the type of antifouling that you use and how often you use your boat throughout the year, along with where you store it. Generally, it’s advised that you apply it once a year though some may last for two years. See question 4 for further information.

3. What antifouling paint should I use?

The type of antifouling paint you use should align with the type of sailing you do so it’s important to pick the right antifouling for you.

gael-force-antifouling

Some antifouling performs better than others in high fouling areas. For example, International Micron Optima, Micron Extra 2 and Interspeed Ultra 2 perform particularly well in these waters.

At the same time, certain types of antifouling are more suitable for a high-speed craft. For example, Cruiser Bright White and Trilux 33, while Micron Extra 2 and Cruiser Uno EU supports speeds up to 25 knots.

International has a wide range of antifouling with Gael Force offering its own brand too.

4. How much antifouling paint do I need?

The amount of antifouling you will need is dependent on the size of your boat and how long you want the antifouling to last.

The practical coverage of antifouling is approximately 9 square metres per litre, though specific brands and types of antifouling may vary.

It would be advised to apply 2-3 coats if you want it to last a single season while 3-4 coats will often last two seasons.

International also has a useful guide to working out how much you need, if you’re still unsure.

5. How do I apply antifouling?

You can apply antifouling with either a large width brush (for quick application) or a roller (takes longer but is less labour intensive).

antifouling-image-2

Before applying antifouling, check for any indication that existing paint is not in good condition. If it’s in poor condition, i.e. antifoul is cracked, peeling or showing signs of detachment – see question 6. If it is in good condition, high-pressure wash it to remove loose antifouling and allow the area to dry.

Next, mask off the area that will be painted, repair any damage, and inspect GRP for gelcoat damage. Check the recommendations on the tin to find out about drying times and overcoating intervals, along with compatibility (using a primer if necessary).

Paint should be mixed thoroughly with a stirring stick to allow any settlement to be mixed in, applying it evenly to the correct thickness.

Multiple coats may be required and it is worth noting that areas with more ‘water turbulence’ such as the waterline, trim tabs, outdrives, keels and rudders may need an extra coat.

6. How do I remove antifouling?

Antifouling should be removed from your boat before applying new antifouling if it is in poor condition.

To remove old antifouling, you can use an antifouling stripper such as International Interstrip which has been specially formulated to remove this paint without causing damage to your boat.

Application of the paint stripper should be with an old brush, applied liberally, according to the application guidelines on the tin. When the appropriate amount of time for the stripper has passed, remove old antifouling with a blunt scraper while it is still soft.

We advise wearing all necessary health and safety equipment such as safety goggles, nitrile rubber gloves and overalls when carrying out this work. Remember to sand and prime the hull before applying fresh antifouling.


The British Coatings Federation (BCF) launched a DIY antifouling initiative in 2017 to “inform and educate boat owners with regard to the hazards associated with antifouling their boats.”

bcf-antifouling-dos-donts

Download their handy leaflet of Do’s and Don’ts for antifouling or visit their website for more information.

N.B. Due to the strict carriage of dangerous goods regulations, Gael Force can only dispatch antifouling to addresses in the UK.