Summary: RWU Bottom Paint Study 2015
What We Tested
The best antifouling paint is the one that works best in your boating environment. Our goal was to see which antifouling paints performed best in southern New England waters during a single boating season. This study was conducted by researchers in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Roger Williams University (Bristol, RI) from May to October, 2015.
Antifouling performance can vary not only from location to location, but within different areas of the same location, so we deployed our test panels in locations that varied by a host of factors such as water circulation, salinity, temperature, and biofouling organisms present.
Where We Tested
To learn as much as possible about how location affects antifouling performance, four rafts containing test panels were deployed in four different locations in the Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island; one raft was placed in Sippican Harbor in Massachusetts. Specific locations are listed below.
|Warwick, RI Warwick Cove||Harbor with restricted water circulation|
|Wickford, RI Wickford Harbor adjacent to Mill Cove||Harbor with restricted water circulation|
|Providence, RI India Point Park||Head of an estuary, near a major freshwater source, with urban conditions and runoff from land that introduces contaminants and excessive nutrients into the water|
The northern Sakonnet River
At the head of Sippican Harbor
|Head of an estuary, surrounded by saltmarsh and mudflats, with very little freshwater input|
How We Tested
Over 700 wooden test panels were primed and painted by Roger Williams University students*, then attached to five rafts for this innovative antifouling paint study using a quantitative study of paint performance, replication to allow statistical analysis, and procedures to simulate boat movement. Each raft contained 144 numbered wooden panels and was set up as follows:
- 132 panels were coated with TotalBoat TotalProtect Epoxy Primer & barrier coat before antifouling paint was applied. Each of 22 antifouling paints was applied to six panels, for a total of 132.
- 12 panels served as control measures: 6 were coated with TotalBoat TotalProtect Epoxy Primer & barrier coat only; 6 panels were coated with blue TotalBoat Wet Edge Topside Paint only.
Each panel was numbered so that during the study, testers were not aware of the paint names and brands.
*The Roger Williams University (RWU) students are an independent group paid by RWU, not by Jamestown Distributors.
The rafts were submerged at their various locations beginning in May, 2015. Let the fouling begin!
Every two weeks, the rafts were pulled from the water, panels were removed and photographed for comparison, and the percentage of accumulated soft and hard biofouling coverage was noted.
Before being reattached to the raft, each panel was wiped lightly with a sponge to simulate boat movement through the water and mimic the self-eroding properties of ablative paint. Panels were then put back on the raft randomly in order to minimize the effect of panel location on antifouling performance. The raft was again submerged in the exact location from which it was pulled.
All Sites Results
The charts below indicate biofouling coverage results for all test sites. TotalBoat Krypton copper-free antifouling paint containing Econea™ and boosted with slime-fighting zinc pyrithione received highest marks for performance, with many other TotalBoat antifouling paints performing well against competing brands. See our TotalBoat Antifouling Paint Compatibility Chart for how to prep previous antifouling coatings for overcoating with TotalBoat antifouling paints.
Coverage Index for All Sites
The testing showed that paint performance varied by location, and was affected by local variations in the amount of sunlight, currents, and proximity to other fouled substrates (docks, for example). This goes far to explain why different boaters using the same paint can observe differences in performance at the same marina. To find out what antifouling paint will work best, use our survey data and interactive bottom paint map to see what paint works best in your area. It's also a great idea to talk to other boaters and to boatyard professionals who are knowledgeable about specific fouling problems.
Since antifouling performance can also vary from season to season, our testing will be ongoing, and as we learn more, we'll keep improving our paints so you'll always have the most current information and the most effective products.
For details, please read the full study