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The Best Boat Bottom Paints

Storing your boat in the water requires you to take action to prevent marine build-up. In such a case, you can rely on the best boat bottom paint containing substances to drive away algae, slime, weeds, barnacles, and other marine organisms.

best boat bottom paint

It’s essential to take care of the hull and the bottom part for optimal performance and fuel cost reduction. If they are in fouled condition, the maneuverability and speed of your boat will be affected. Therefore, the vessel won’t be as fast, efficient, and safe as you expected.

To get the right boat bottom paint, you can base it on the type of vessel you own. Moreover, this review will help you find the right one by the important details and descriptions of every product. Check each of them to know more.

Top 10 Boat Bottom Paint Reviews

1. Rust-Oleum 207012 Boat Bottom Paint

Protecting the bottom of your boat from unwanted marine growth can be a breeze if you use this bottom paint for fiberglass boats, which also works on steel and wood. It has anti-fouling properties that are proven effective for different materials.

I was able to create a rigid, smooth finish out of this anti-fouling paint. The bonus part is its flat sheen on the surface. This paint has a toughness that keeps your hull protected and a smooth coating for a nice appearance. Old school bottom paint is not capable of giving these results.

Application is smooth sailing as the substance rolls easily, and it covers any area pretty well. Besides, a quart of this paint has a long way to go. It’s enough for a 19-feet Bayliner Capri.

For your information, recoating can be done every four hours. Once the necessary coatings are applied, give them 16 hours before launching your boat.

Yet, while waiting for it to dry, there can be a tar smell from the paint. So I suggest you work in a well-ventilated area or wear a mask to avoid unpleasant scent.

This paint is concocted for mild to moderate fouling circumstances. Therefore, I don’t have to be bothered by the possible development of algae, barnacles, and other marine organisms because of the reliable and protective coating.

There will be no trouble even if you put your boat in and out of water. It’s safe to say that it can be a multi-season, anti-fouling paint. Everyone can use this as this paint is proven to be tough in both freshwater and saltwater.
Pros
  • Anti-fouling properties for fiberglass, wood, and steel
  • Creates a hard, smooth finish with a flat sheen
  • Rolls easily and covers surfaces well
  • A reliable protective coating against marine growth
  • A multi-season, anti-fouling paint
  • Tough in both freshwater and saltwater
Cons
  • There can be a tar smell from the paint while drying
With this protective paint, I’m no longer hesitant to let my boat stay in the water as transferring it to a trailer.

2. TotalBoat Underdog Boat Bottom Paint

This product from TotalBoat is the right antifouling bottom paint for me, as once dried, it can withstand frequent use. People who always love to sail will be happy with this product for so many reasons. It’s not every day that you get to find excellent paint but economical like this one.

Different things can damage the hull, such as marine organisms, beaching, and trailering. The durable finish of this paint comes along with single-season protection. Hence, soft and hard growth below the waterline is barricaded. It doesn’t only combat fouling activities but paints build-up as well.

I experienced all the great features mentioned on antifouling paint reviews of thisTotalBoat Underdog model. It certainly is an economical option at a relatively low price. More importantly, a gallon of this powerful paint is more than enough for a boat that is 25-feet deep and with a beam of 9 feet.

You don’t need to look for other tools to apply the product as its package includes gloves, roller, roller pan kit, stirrers, scuff pad, and paint suit. Also, a single or two layers are adequate regarding its application, and sanding is unnecessary between coatings. This whole task can be a breeze with a roller, spray, or a brush with natural bristles.

You may thin out this paint or not, but it’s required to add xylene if you apply it by spraying. Please note that the amount of thinner to be added in a gallon is around 12 ounces.

Furthermore, you can use this marine antifoul paint on vessels made of wood, fiberglass, and steel. The versatile solution is also great as a bottom paint for trailer boats.

Pros
  • Withstands frequent use
  • Excellent paint but economical
  • Gives a durable finish with a single-season protection
  • Combat fouling activities, beaching, trailering, and paint build-up
  • No need for sanding between coatings
  • Usable on wood, fiberglass, and steel
Cons
  • Required to add xylene when you apply it by sprayin
Despite using my boat frequently, I’m at ease as this TotalBoat paint protects my hull from marine organisms and movements or tractions.

3. Pettit Copper Bronze Hard Racing Paint

This Pettit Copper Bronze Hard Racing Paint can do wonders for boats of fishing or hunting enthusiasts. Freshwater doesn’t bother you with build-ups, but choosing the right paint is essential to protect your precious vessel.

Enhancing the looks of your boat is among the benefits of this paint. In truth, I’m mesmerized by how the hull turned into an ultra-smooth surface that displays a bronze hue and high gloss. My effort has also contributed to such an outcome, as I buffed the hull before applying the paint.

You should know that this paint is perfect for trailered boats, dry sailed boats, and those docked in freshwater.

Furthermore, the versatile product adheres well with steel, wood, and fiberglass. It can work with bare surfaces, which you need to clean first. Yet, you should avoid using it on aluminum hulls or outdrives, as the paint might not stick well on such surfaces.

Boat-owners can apply this one over painted areas, but make sure to sand the surface first. It will be fine if you use it over an aged layer of non-antifouling paint.

Copper flake pigments are found in this paint, so thorough mixing before the application is required. When I did it, I checked the sides and bottoms to ensure everything in the formula came together.

Recommended application methods are brushing, rolling, and spraying. Otherwise, if it is more convenient for you, airless and conventional sprays are acceptable. In my case, I used a thinner then completed the painting job on my entire boat by doing two coatings.
Pros
  • Creates an ultra-smooth surface in bronze hue with high gloss
  • Perfect for small boats like trailer ones and vessels docked in freshwater
  • Used on steel, wood, fiberglass, and bare or painted surfaces
  • Different application methods: brushing, rolling, and spraying
Cons
  • Not recommended on aluminum hulls or outdrives
All in all, this Pettit marine paint is the most suitable one for dry sailed boats and those that journey on freshwater.

4. Duralux M749-1 Marine Paint

This paint is among the few products that deliver excellent results as advertised. Take the restoration of my 40-year old Jon boat as proof! It’s not an exaggeration that it looks brand new with its smooth, painted surface, which is possible due to the alkyd in the paint’s formula.

There are seventeen boat bottom paint colors that you can choose from. These choices are just around the spectrum of white, black, yellow, green, and blue. Boat owners can surely find a beautiful shade to go well with their boats.

Besides enhancing the hull’s appearance, this paint can also protect the part. In truth, boat-owners can rely on its ability to combat the deteriorating effect of rust and corrosion. Plus, moderate exposure to fuel oils, cleaning solutions, and salt water can’t damage the surface made by this paint.

The product meets the standards of the marine paint industry. And its formula also proves to be efficient on tanks, pieces of equipment, bridges, and other structural objects.

This paint is thick, so it’s recommended to use a lacquer thinner, or else the application won’t be as quick as reviews say. Once it’s thinned out, it smoothly glides on the surface with the help of a brush.

I was so happy that a gallon and a half of this paint covered three boats. To my surprise, I was able to make the ceiling of my steam shower out of it.
Pros
  • Can restore old boats due to alkyd formula
  • 17 color options for improving hull appearance
  • Combats rust and corrosion
  • Prevents damages by moderate exposure to saltwater, oils, and harsh chemicals
  • Meets the standards of the marine paint industry
  • One gallon is enough for three boats
Cons
  • Can be challenging to apply when the paint isn’t thinned out
All in all, this paint works for surface enhancement and protection. You can use the powerful formula to complete restoration as well.

5. TotalBoat Inflatable Boat Bottom Paint

This TotalBoat product is an ablative antifouling paint for PVC, rubber, and Hypalon inflatables. Based on my experiences, it also makes a good covering for dinghies.

For your information, 25% of its formula is copper. Any idea what it does? Well, the substance makes it an antifouling agent that protects surfaces from barnacles and marine growth. Notably, its ability to withstand possible damage is effective in both freshwater and saltwater.

As the formula is water-based, it contains no fumes and solvents. Thus, handling the paint is free of any discomfort and trouble, as you can clean it with soap.

I like how I don’t need to stir it vigorously because shaking the can is enough to make the substance well-integrated. Plus, I don’t need to look for necessary things like mixing sticks, gloves, and a cup as they come with every purchase.

The paint is sold in a can of a quart, which is enough to cover inflatable boats that are 8 to 10 feet big. I successfully applied it on one that has a fiberglass bottom.

Also, I used to worry about ruining inflatables when they are deflated and rolled up. Good thing that I can create a durable and flexible coating out of this paint. My inflatables are safe from flaking and cracks when I use and store them.

I have nothing bad to say about this product, except it only comes in gray and no other shades to choose from.
Pros
  • Ideal for PVC, rubber, and Hypalon inflatables
  • An antifouling agent that counters marine growth
  • Effective in freshwater and saltwater
  • No fumes and solvents in the formula
  • Creates a smooth, durable, and flexible coating
  • Easy to clean the finish with soap
Cons
  • The only option is the gray color
Overall, inflatables and dinghies can be well-protected by this paint. I like everything that it does on my water vessels.

6. US Marine Products Anti-fouling Bottom Paint

If you’re searching for the right bottom paint for saltwater, this product is among your ideal picks. This commercial-grade ablative paint has a heavy-duty formula. In truth, half a gallon of the solution could completely cover my 23-feet sailboat by applying two coats. Some people get satisfying results with just a single coating.

At first, I hesitated to apply this ablative paint as it seems thicker or more viscous than its counterparts. But, I was wrong to think that it’s hard to handle.

After adding 10% of mineral spirit in a quart and a half of paint, I was surprised how easy it went on the surface at the temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit. This process can be done with a brush or a roller. And, everyone can get an even finish without any streaks and runs.

Based on such a breezy application, I can say that it’s self-leveling. You can switch to this paint any time you want as it can bind with other anti-fouling paints.

I love this paint in the black shade as white bottom paint puts me off. Dark colors can easily hide dirt. Nevertheless, what this product can do is not only about hiding unwanted particles. It provides outstanding full-season protection, and it works on moderate fouling conditions.

I placed my boat in saltwater for the whole season. When I pulled it out, I gape with disbelief as no growth has developed. The protection it provides gives me so much relief. I don’t have to clean the hull rigidly. It means more time for me to enjoy the island.
Pros
  • Best bottom paint for saltwater
  • Has a heavy-duty formula
  • Can get an even finish with no streaks and runs
  • Self-leveling and breezy application
  • Has an outstanding full-season protection
  • Works on moderate fouling conditions
Cons
  • Gives the impression of hard-to-apply due to the viscious formula
Zero growth is what this bottom paint for boats saltwater protector can guarantee to you even though your boat is in the water for the entire season.

7. Sea Hawk AH7033GL Aluma Hawk Boat Paint

How does skipping primer sound to you? It’s something to appreciate as it only implies cutting down labor. This favorable set up happens when you paint an aluminum boat with this excellent Sea Hawk product. It won’t only stick with aluminum but on old paint and epoxy. All it takes is light sanding.

I painted all the parts of my Jon boat with this paint as it has a formula that is suitable for above and below waterline use. It creates a protective coating against corrosion, which is a common issue with aluminum. Besides, safe use is also guaranteed as it is chromate-free.

I also like how this agent enhances the appearance of my boat. It has a green color, which can be described as more of an olive drab. I just painted the seats white as it doesn’t get hot from direct sunlight.

If the bottom of your needs more protection, you can double the coating. Notably, the finish of this aluminum paint is hard enough to block damages.

As for me, thinning this paint goes well during application. I like how quick-drying it is. The covering job is fantastic as it can have a broader scope. Still, a bit of unpleasant fume comes out when you apply this paint, so don’t forget to wear a mask or a respirator.

Nothing beats this paint when it comes to taking care of aluminum. However, be aware that it eats plastic, so avoid using a plastic sprayer.
Pros
  • Can skip using primer; just require a light sanding
  • Sticks on aluminum, epoxy, and old paint
  • Suitable for above and below waterline use
  • Protects surface from corrosion
  • Creates a hard finish to counter any blow or strong force
  • The quick-drying formula for breezy application
Cons
  • Releases fume during application
  • Requires avoiding plastic sprays as it can eat the material
From my experiences, this potent paint from SawHawk protects aluminum boats yet lessens necessary work during application.

8. TotalBoat JD Select Bottom Paint

Our next convenient paint for boat bottom is another product from TotalBoat. The notable thing about this one is that laborious application and stringent clean up are not necessary.

In detail, the task begins with low VOC and no harsh odor. Regarding its mixing ratio, 20 ounces of thinner is enough for a gallon of this paint. Then, the coating can be done once or twice, depending on your boat’s current conditions. And, it’s okay to apply it on most anti-fouling paints directly.

Besides, cleaning up after application is not too demanding. A little soap and water can remove the paint on your tools.

I used it as a fiberglass boat bottom paint due to its provision of single-season, anti-fouling protection. The concentrated biocide in its formula forms the unique hybrid paint film that is effective for freshwater and saltwater. If you have a wooden boat, the vessel can also benefit from this anti-fouling activity.

This ablative formula does not tolerate paint build-up. Once dried, it will ensure that corrosion won’t take place on your boat hull. Because of these abilities, your boat’s speed and fuel efficiency are improved.

There are four available colors that you can choose for your boats, including red, blue, green, and black. And, this anti-fouling paint is offered in gallon or a quart.

Yet, I wish this model a multi-season paint, but anyway, I get my money’s worth in every application.
Pros
  • Application and cleaning up are relatively easy
  • Forms a unique hybrid paint film for freshwater and saltwater
  • Sticks to most anti-fouling paints
  • Creates a single-season anti-fouling protection
  • Stops corrosion and paint build-up
  • A boat bottom paint for speed and fuel efficiency enhancement
Cons
  • Could have been better if it’s a multi-season paint
With this boat bottom paint, application and cleaning up don’t take us much time and effort. More importantly, we can get our boats shielded from fouling occurrences.

9. Interlux YBB379/1 Anti-fouling Paint

I appreciate the hard finish of the classic sailboat bottom paint. After purchasing this product, I was looking to utilize the dual-resin technology that contributes to its universal durability.

The ablative, anti-fouling formula of this paint is suitable for all power and sailboats. You can make a hard coating on fiberglass and wood. It stays tough even if you let your water vessel stay on saltwater, freshwater, and even brackish water.

The finish from this anti-fouling paint stays rigid for a long time. It can prevent wearing away due to slow polishing or self-polishing. This slow polishing mechanism also prevents paint build-up for your boat bottom. As a result, season-long protection can be rendered by this paint.

Furthermore, this incredible paint can coat water vessels made of wood, fiberglass, and prime metals. Sad to say that aluminum is not compatible with its formula.

Your wide range of color options are red, black, blue, dark blue, green, brown, and shark white. The brand tends to make darker shades to improve and preserve your boat’s look better.

I love how it dries in no time and creates a quick, fuel-efficient finish. You can apply the paint and launch your boat within the same day. Don’t skip reading the preparation instructions to get the desired result.
Pros
  • Has a universal durability due to its dual-resin technology
  • Suitable for all power and sailboats
  • Stays tough in freshwater, saltwater, and brackish water
  • Has a slow polishing mechanism preventing paint build-up
  • Gives season-long protection
  • Ideal for wood, fiberglass, and prime metals
Cons
  • Not compatible with aluminum
Overall, the self-polishing ability of this paint can assure boat-owners that the protective coating is long-lasting.

10. TotalBoat Krypton Boat Bottom Paint

Only an anti-fouling paint with high-performance like this TotalBoat product can give the protection needed by my boat.

This one has a copolymer formula that doesn’t require maximum drying time. Thus, it’s up to you to paint and launch your vessel right away. You can also have the application in autumn, keep the boat in winter, and use it in spring.

Personal timing can be followed as the biocide and polymer formula of this paint remains consistent. It’s also eco-friendly, so I’m glad that I don’t contribute to environmental harm with the product that I use.

Since I started coating my boats with this paint, I don’t need to deal with issues caused by fouling activities. It can eliminate soft and hard fouling consequences. So, you can say goodbye to slime, weeds, algae, and barnacles.

The single-season protection provided is applicable on wood, steel, iron, fiberglass, and aluminum boats or water vessels. It’s incredible that the paint can bind with different materials.

Although this paint is intended for below waterline use, I was able to make a clean surface with a bright color. For your information, this product is available in red, green, blue, white, and black. Only blue, white, and black are available in gallon and quart, while the other two colors come in a gallon.

When applying this paint, it is essential to use a brush with high-quality or natural bristles. You can roll the paint with a nap or foam roller that is solvent-safe. You may also do it by spraying, and get a smooth layer, too.

Pros
  • An anti-fouling paint with high performance
  • No required drying time
  • For soft and hard fouling
  • Provides single-season protection
  • Excellent on wood, steel, iron, fiberglass, and aluminum boats
  • Can make a clean and bright-colored finish
Cons
  • Green and red are only sold in gallons
The first thing that I like about this product is the carefree drying time. Yet, the protective finish remaining consistent is its best attribute.

Buyer’s Guide

best-antifouling-bottom-paint

Marine bottom paint comparison is an essential thing in getting the ideal boat bottom paint. Be mindful of the following factors so you’ll be able to set your boat with speed, efficiency, and outstanding performance.

Types of Bottom Paint

Copolymer Ablative – This paint contains Biocide, which is released at a slow rate as it ablates. With this process, paint build-ups and the need to sand during haulouts are minimized. The retention of anti-fouling ability is quite impressive as air doesn’t get into it.

Another thing you would appreciate about copolymer is a lesser amount of copper compared with modified epoxy counterparts.

Hard Modified Epoxy – This type of paint releases Biocide in a decreasing manner. That’s why it gives you a hard coating that would last until the end of the season. It also sticks on any material and other kinds of paint.

What is amazing about this paint is that it’s highly resistant to abrasion. If you store your boat during winter, this is the right bottom paint for you. It’s an economical choice for people with a low budget.

However, if you keep your boat in the water for the whole year, you need to get a bottom paint with a higher copper content than this one.

Aluminum Safe – Although aluminum looks tough, it has kryptonite, which is a cuprous oxide. Hence, you should avoid paints with this element and some metallic contents. Boat-owners are advisable to choose the paints with a biocide or cuprous thiocyanate.

Thin Film – This paint is the ideal choice for freshwater boaters, especially if there’s a need to resolve algae problems. There’s Biocide to impede growth as it forms a very slick PTFE finish.

Also, drying happens so quickly, so painting several layers doesn’t take a lot of time. Before you know it, you can launch your vessel.

Water-Based – Of course, cleaning up is easy with the help of water. You can smell only a little or almost no solvent or harsh fumes from it. Hence, it’s gentle on the environment as well as the user.

Soft Sloughing – This one is worn out right after the boat’s movements. Thus, frequent use of vessels hastens the wearing away of the paint.

Vinyl – You can expect a smooth surface to be formed with this hard, slick type of bottom paint. This one is applicable on the performance boat and to the existing vinyl finish.

Freshwater or Saltwater?

You should check if the bottom paint can remain tough in saltwater or freshwater. It would be much better if the paint can be used in any water.

Compatibility to Material or Surface

Some products are made to handle a certain material. So sort out which one is best for aluminum, fiberglass, wood, and primed metals. For example, aluminum paint will have an adverse reaction when used on fiberglass. Watch out for this so you won’t waste your money.

Launching and Recoating

Buyers should also pay attention to recoating and launching the boat. The protective coating of some paints will be the toughest after two months. After the given period, it’s the best time to launch the vessel. Some may require you to do a recoating after a season or a month.

Types of Fouling Condition

Your comprehension of various fouling conditions contributes a lot to your decision. Over time, Algae, barnacles, mussels, and other marine organisms develop, and they can deteriorate the hull. Knowing the type of fouling condition would guide you through getting the right paint.

Care and Maintenance

white-bottom-paint

Speed, fuel efficiency, and maneuverability are affected when a boat is coated with ineffective bottom paint. You also have a part to play to resolve the matter regarding your boat. There’s a lot of things that you can do.

  • Pressure wash the boat or vessel regularly to get rid of the marine organism and stop filth accumulation. When you opt for a cleaning agent, get something that is formulated for bottom paint. Make sure that it’s safe and won’t harm your boat.
  • Changing oil periodically is a must. But the frequency varies among different water vessel models. Generally, the need to change the oil is every year or after 100 hours of use.
  • Take time to check the propeller, especially if you have an outboard vessel or a sterndrive. Ensure that the propeller nuts are protected by utilizing a socket.
  • Pay more attention to the propeller for you to see if there are damages. Some impacts can affect the performance of your vessel, and you may wonder why it consumes excessive fuel.

Frequently Asked Questions

best-bottom-paint-for-saltwater

Who makes the top-rated boat bottom paint?

You need to check out some reliable sources: Rust-oleum, TotalBoat, Pettit, Duralux, US Marine Products, Sea Hawk, and Interlux. They make the most affordable bottom paint on the market.

What is the best bottom paint for fiberglass boats?

The most favorite bottom paint for fiberglass boats is the YBB379/1 Fiberglass Bottomkote from Interlux. It’s an ablative paint that comes with layers of Biocide. The fresh layer is revealed by water movement.

YBB379 creates a hard finish, which is necessary for retaining the paint while a layer of Biocide is washed away. It has a unique slow polishing mechanism that makes the surface smoother with continuous use. However, you need to strip some layers later on.

When it comes to anti-fouling ability, it lasts for a season. This product can adapt to different kinds of water, too.

Do you need special paint for fiberglass?

Fiberglass is a non-porous material, and sprays paint adhesion may sometimes not work. Spraying will end up in a good result when you have some techniques. Besides, these are preparation steps to ensure that the color blends well on the surface and the paint won’t peel after application.

How long does bottom paint last on a boat?

Every boat owner is expected to apply bottom paint once a year. But some products prove themselves to last for two years. Those who frequently use their boats should check it annually if ever they need recoating.

Some bottom paints require application when every season ends. It’s a common practice when you have vessels for commercial use. With boats that reside ashore and goes with the current, painting the owners should do the boat bottom painting every other year.

To sum it up, the bottom paint’s longevity is affected by frequency of use, way of storing the boat, and location of storage.

How much does bottom paint slow down a boat?

The idea that the bottom paint slows down a boat is just a myth. Anti-fouling bottom paint is invented to eliminate marine critters and weed that clings to the vessel.

Furthermore, the existence of thousands of shells and thriving seaweed plantations have some weight. So it can be a drag, which means the reduction of the boat’s speed.

Bottom paint doesn’t slow down a boat. It only does when you fail to reapply at the right time. Paint build-ups and rough, damaged coating come up after a long time. This situation is like taking you back to the very beginning as there’s a need to apply the bottom paint again.

Where to buy bottom paint?

You can go to the nearest hardware store and marine or boating supply stores when you need to buy bottom paint.

Meanwhile, online shopping can be a good resort, as there’s a high chance of the product’s availability. On some websites, promos, discounts, and freebies are sometimes available for grabs.

Just make sure you’re on a legitimate website so you will have no trouble getting your order and no regrets about your purchase.

Conclusion

Giving tender, loving care to your boat includes worrying about its hull and the bottom part. It’s not just about water and marine organisms but some movements or traction and unexpected accidents. That’s why you must have the best boat bottom paint to help you keep your boat in optimum performance without impeding speed and maneuverability.