Clean Marina

Helping Our Marina – Update on Low Copper Paints

As many of you have already heard, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board is mandating an 85% reduction in the amount of copper in the Marina waters within the next nine years.  This is a very challenging target, and they have zeroed in on boat hull paints as a major source of the copper that must be reduced.

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) evaluated copper paints that are commonly used for hull painting in December 2014 and published a list of leach rates for copper paints.  A link to that list appears below.  "Category I" paints are rated the best, meaning those paints have the least amount of copper leaching into the water.

One antifouling bottom paint that is on the "Category I" list of 80 products is Pettit Trinidad PRO.  We're advised that this product is effective and can be applied over old antifouling paint, and it can be used in the Marina---unlike some paints that are prohibited by the Air Quality Management District.

The Club strongly recommends that every boater review the DPR hull paint list, and use only Category I paint. We believe you can effectively reduce the amount of copper leaching into the Marina from your boat by about ½ just by using Category 1 paints and best management hull cleaning practices.  This would be a major improvement and go a long way towards achieving the water quality goal.

In addition, hull cleaning methods can have a significant reduction in copper loading into the water and prolong the life of hull paint.  Divers cleaning hulls no more frequently than once a month using soft - pile carpet can significantly reduce copper loading into the water (a best management practice used by the California Professional Divers Association). If you can get by with cleaning less often, do so.

Please note that if boaters do not voluntarily change to low copper paints, we expect more onerous and expensive regulations, and enforcement actions to come.

For further information, we suggest that you contact either Greg Schem at The Boatyard or Simon Landt of the Windward Yacht Center, who are both very knowledgeable about paint alternatives and can recommend low copper paints that may suit your needs.

Here is a link to the DPR hull paint publication that's on our website, or you can stop by the CYC Dockmaster's Office to pick up a copy.

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