While antifouling does a great job of keeping our hulls clean, and even has some environmental benefits such as improving fuel efficiency and preventing the spread of invasive non-native species, it is toxic to aquatic life. Most antifouls are copper or zinc based. Some of the compounds found in these antifouls can accumulate in marine organisms, and can find their way into marine wildlife further up the food chain.
The majority of copper in antifouling enters the marine environment through leaching. However, concentrated amounts do enter the marine environment during the removal of antifouling paint, which occurs mostly by water blasting or mechanical scraping, and can form concentrated deposits on land and in the waters around our marinas, clubs, and centres.
Protect, Collect and Dispose Initiative
Building on the successful, award-winning DIY Safe Antifouling programme launched in 2017, the British Coatings Federation (BCF), The Green Blue (RYA and British Marine) and The Yacht Harbour Association (TYHA) have launched the ‘Protect, Collect & Dispose‘ initiative focused on environmental best practice when antifouling yachts and boats.
The initiative has set out environmental best practice and is intended for DIY antifouling as well as for marinas and boatyards who offer professional antifouling services.