How Are Hard and Ablative Bottom Paints Different and Which is Right For Your Boat?


Familiarize yourself with the two kinds of bottom paints for your boat.

You may have heard of bottom paint, or antifouling paint, before. It’s a coating that helps discourage weeds, barnacles, and all kinds of other aquatic organisms from attaching to your boat. Many bottom paints include a biocide for this very reason, the most common of which being copper. With that said, more copper makes for a more effective bottom paint, but it also makes it more costly. There are other options as well, depending on your needs, but generally, bottom paints are divided up into two categories: hard and ablative.

Who Needs Bottom Paint?

If you’re leaving your boat in the water year-round or during most of the boating season, it’s standard to apply bottom paint. Once you apply bottom paint, just keep in mind that you will need to periodically clean, check, and renew your paint as part of your regular boat maintenance. Since this is such a common maintenance task, Tidewater is offering a summer special: get half off on haul out from now until September 21st when you get the bottom of your boat painted.

Ablative Paints

Ablative bottom paint is also known as self-polishing. It wears away slowly over time to reveal new, fresh biocide as your boat moves through the water, keeping it effective when you need it. A big plus to ablative paints is that as long as you have paint on your hull, you know it’s working effectively to protect your boat. In addition, there’s no buildup of old paint like other paints may experience. Ablative paints are most effective if you use your boat often because of their self-cleaning nature and, if you leave your boat idle for periods of time, it may not be the right choice for you.

Hard Paints

Hard bottom paints, also known as hard modified epoxy paints, are all about that copper biocide which slowly leaches out of the paint. They form a tough, hard-coating that holds up well, making it ideal for fast boats that may cause ablative paints to wear off too quickly. The big downside: once that copper biocide is depleted, the tough coating of paint remains and must be removed before repainting.

Reach Out to Tidewater Today!

If you’re in the greater Baltimore area and are in need of boat services, contact Tidewater Yacht Service at 410-625-4992 or by email at Our location is at 321 East Cromwell Street Baltimore, MD 21230. Get in touch with us today! Whether you need hauling, systems repaired, or storage, we have the experience and expertise to help. We’ve been providing our services to the Chesapeake Bay for over 35 years and know how to properly handle your vessel with care.

For updates and useful information, connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, or LinkedIn. You can also follow our blog to learn more from us here at Tidewater.

This entry was posted on Friday, August 10th, 2018 at 4:15 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.