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The Best Boat Bottom Paints in 2021

best boat bottom paint

Undeniably, the hull is the most important part of the boat. If it gets damaged, then you basically have no choice other than to ground it until you finish repairing it. By using the best boat bottom paint, you can protect your boat from many of the possible forms of damage that it can receive.

A good best antifouling bottom paint needs to do more than just make the vessel look pretty. It should also provide the necessary protection against the environment that the boat is in. For instance, if your boat will be going out to sea, then it will need to have saltwater protection as well as an antifouling agent.

The boat bottom paint is one of the things that you should never skimp on. It is such an important component of the boat that it warrants something that is of high quality. If you want to learn more about getting the best bottom paint for aluminum boats and other kinds of water vessels then continue reading this article.

Best Boat Bottom Paints Reviews

1. TotalBoat JD Select Bottom Paint

totalboat jd select bottom paint

If you have a seafaring vessel, then it is one of the best paints that you can get. For one thing, it has an excellent antifouling property that completely protects the hull of your boat for an entire season.

This paint is the best choice if you do not want to be scraping barnacles off the bottom of your boat after every fishing season.

Although this paint has a rather thick consistency, it is still easy to apply. I personally just used a wide brush and a couple of narrow ones for the hard-to-reach places, though I can’t see why you can’t use a roller brush to paint it all over the hull.

This best bottom paint for boats saltwater is so thick that you do not even need to do extensive surface prep. Just make sure that the hull is clean.

Because this product is water-based, cleaning any paint that accidentally drips onto any surface that it is not intended for is also easy. Unless the paint has dried completely, you can just wipe it off using a wet rag. It also means that cleaning your tools is easy. Just immerse the brushes in a bucket of water after using and the paint will rinse right off.

Another thing that is worthwhile to mention is that because this paint contains minimal VOCs, you don’t have to worry about noxious fumes suffocating you. I still wore a mask when I was painting my boat, but that’s just a safety precaution that years of experience ingrained into me. Unlike other paints, I did not get a whiff of it through the mask at all.

Be warned though, this paint is not meant for light vessels, like aluminum boats, canoes, or kayaks. It is for boats that are too large to place on a trailer every time you finish using it. Using this thick and heavy paint on a small vessel will only encumber it.

What We Like
  • Provides maximum protection against fouling
  • Easy to use
  • Not difficult to clean at all
  • Does not have a harsh odor
  • Can adhere over previously applied paint
What We Don’t Like
  • Heavy and thick, which makes it not advisable for light watercrafts

This paint is great for what it is meant for and that is protecting large boats from fouling. If you have a medium or large fishing boat, I recommend that you give it a fresh coat using this paint before starting the next fishing season.

2. US Marine Coastal Copper Bottom Paint

us marine coastal copper bottom paint

One thing that impressed me the most about this bottom paint is that it is significantly thinner than other ablative paints I had the pleasure to use. It is already viscous enough that you no longer need to thin it. You can easily apply it using brushes or rollers.

This paint has a relatively thin consistency. Such consistency is so great that I was able to apply two coats on my boat easily with a bit more left to spare. If you have a smaller boat, you can be sure that a gallon will be more than enough paint for your needs.

I was utterly impressed with the effectiveness of this product’s antifouling property. I had to dry dock my boat in the middle of one fishing season due to bad weather. Surprisingly, I discovered that there is not even a trace of barnacles and other biological matter stuck on the hull.

Unlike some of the other ablative paints that I used in the past, this best bottom paint for aluminum boats is quite durable. After a couple of weeks in the water, I was expecting that the bottom of my boat would have peeled in several places at least. Surprisingly, the hull’s bottom was still completely intact with only minor chips.

Now, the bad news is that this paint takes a lot of time to dry and cure. I suggest that you paint your boat at least a week before you plan on taking it out in the water. It is the absolute minimum amount of time you can let it dry and cure completely.

What We Like
  • Easy to apply – It is more viscous than other ablatives.
  • Does not require too much to produce the effect you want
  • Effectively prevents critters from latching
  • Does not chip nor peel easily
  • Great value for your money
What We Don’t Like
  • Takes a while to cure completely

Despite the uncommonly long drying and curing time, this product is still one of the best that I have used thus far. If you will be the one painting the hull of your boat, give yourself a break and use this paint.

3. Interlux YBB379/1 Bottomkote NT Paint

interlux ybb379/1 bottomkote nt paint

One of the things that makes this paint stand out is its durability. After an entire season, I inspected the hull of my boat and I was impressed at how the paint is still relatively still in one piece. There were no noticeable cracks or peeling aside from the color fading a bit from being in the water for a couple of months.

This paint is also rather easy to use. The product is already thin so there was no preparation needed aside from mixing the contents of the tin. I used a wide brush and the paint job still turned out nice. There were no streak marks and the brush strokes were almost invisible.

Another nice thing about this paint is that it is noticeably quick-drying. After just an hour or so, the surface was already dry to the touch. It does not have any tackiness whatsoever. I allowed the paint to cure for around three days just to be on the safe side and it held up nicely during the fishing season.

Because the paint is already thin, it goes on smoothly and evenly. I still had a bit of paint left over after giving my 24’ boat two coats of this antifouling paint. If you want to make this paint go far, then use a roller brush as it is more efficient.

Even though it is one of the best options recommended for those searching for high-quality bottom paint for sailboats, there is one thing that I did not like about it. Yes, it is an ablative paint and is not meant to be permanent, but the finish should at least look somewhat decent.

As it is, the finish had a very uneven gloss – shiny at some parts and matte on the rest. Although it does smooth out after a couple of days on the water, it should not look shoddy when new.

What We Like
  • Guaranteed to be durable
  • Dries and cures quickly
  • Easy to apply
  • Covers well and goes on evenly
  • The surface smooths itself out with time
What We Don’t Like
  • Does not have an even gloss

The issue that I have with this product is purely subjective and is at most a minor inconvenience. This boat bottom paint still does its job, and excellently at that.

4. Duralux M722-1 Marine Paint

duralux m722-1 marine paint

Unlike other marine boat paints, Duralux has more than a dozen color options and they have camouflage options as well. I bought three shades of the camo colors and the resulting paint job looked so great.

As a marine paint, this product did a good job at protecting my boat against the corrosive properties of saltwater. It has already been a couple of months since I used this paint on my boat and it has yet to develop any noticeable rust patches.

I also liked how a single gallon of it can already cover such a large surface area. As mentioned earlier, I got three gallons of three different colors and they were more than enough to paint three 18’ boats. I still even ended up with enough left over to paint the roof of my shed at home.

As mentioned, I also used this product to paint over the corrugated iron roof of my shed and it went on quite well with little preparation. Since it did such a great job keeping my boat and shed rust-free, I figured that it would also work on my iron gate and fence and it did.

However, you have to remember that even though you can use this paint below the waterline, it does not have any antifouling properties. With that said, critters such as barnacles and clams can attach themselves to the surface. However, if you always place your boat on a trailer after every use, then this should not be a problem.

What We Like
  • Comes in a wide variety of colors
  • Provides moderate protection against saltwater
  • Works great for other things that need weatherproofing
  • Requires little surface preparation
  • Can cover a lot even if you only use a bit of it
What We Don’t Like
  • Usable only for painting above the waterline

Even though this paint does not have any antifouling properties, it still provides quite a lot of protection for your boat. Moreover, the bright colors and glossy finish makes this paint look good.

5. Sea Hawk Bottom Paint Primer

sea hawk bottom paint primer

If you have no idea what kind of paint the bottom of your boat has, then it is highly recommended to use this product. What is great about it is that it can adhere to almost any surface, including the ones previously painted with ablative paints. I had no problems using just a brush to apply this product.

Yes, this primer has a rather thick consistency, but it is necessary. A thick primer can also act as a filler, so any minor dents and imperfections are smoothened out before you apply the topcoat. This results in a smoother-looking finish. My boat looked like it had a couple of decades removed after I used this on it.

I am also glad to say that this paint is completely waterproof. Of course, it should be waterproof as it is a primer for boat hulls, but even when compared to other similar products, I can still say that it is one of the best. Also, thanks to its thick consistency, this primer can fill small leaks on the hull.

This primer also dries and cures rather fast. After an hour, it is already dry to the touch, which means you can already apply the topcoat over it. Although I recommend that you let the primer cure for around five days, just to be sure, I believe that you can already take your boat out fishing just one or two days after painting.

In terms of complaints, I can’t find anything that serious. I noticed that this product does what it is supposed to do and even exceeded my expectations. However, if you want to be nitpicky, you can say that its thick consistency makes it problematic to use on a spray gun.

What We Like
  • Adheres to surface with minimal preparation
  • Easy to use – It does not even need a thinner.
  • Can go on top of existing ablative paint
  • Dries and cures quickly
  • Completely waterproof and highly resistant to saltwater
What We Don’t Like
  • Needs quite a bit of thinning if you intend to use a spray gun

Keep in mind that this product is a boat bottom primer so you still need to paint over it. However, it can still provide more than what it originally intended, making it a good investment.

6. TotalBoat Underdog Bottom Paint

totalboat underdog bottom paint

The best thing about using this paint is that it is highly economical. I have a 24’ boat and I was able to give it 3 coats of this paint. Even after that, I have a bit of paint left over, which I used on the handrails of my porch at home. I am also pleased that this paint is already thin and it goes on evenly. I used a nap roller and the result is amazingly even.

Also, I can say that it is one of the most durable boat bottom paints I have had the pleasure of using. Even when you beach or replace your boat on a trailer after every use, you will not be leaving any serious damage on the paint job.

As mentioned earlier, it is quite easy to use. Thinning is unnecessary, so you can use a simple brush to apply this on the hull of your boat. You can even use it in a traditional spray gun, but in such a case, you will need to thin it out so it can go through the spray nozzle.

This paint also has excellent antifouling properties. I used it on my boat just a little over a week before fishing season then I looked underneath my boat mid-season. There were no traces of fouling whatsoever. This paint continuously releases the right amount of copper, thus preventing barnacles and similar organisms from latching onto the boat.

There is not anything major that I could complain about in this product. However, if you will be needing an exact shade of color, then I suggest that you have it tinted just the way you like because the color shown on the packaging is not accurate to the contents.

What We Like
  • Highly economical with its huge coverage
  • More durable compared to similar products
  • Effectively prevents biological organisms from attaching onto the hull
  • Easy to use
  • Can adhere to almost all surfaces
What We Don’t Like
  • Some colors are inaccurate

If you are thinking about giving your boat’s bottom hull a fresh coat of paint, then this product should be on the top of your list as it has a high chance of giving you the result you want.

7. Rust-Oleum 207012 Marine Flat Bottom Paint

rust-oleum 207012 marine flat bottom paint

One of the reasons why I genuinely liked this boat bottom paint is that it can adhere to almost all surfaces. It is especially important for me because I own several boats and one is fiberglass. This paint sticks even with minimal surface preparation. In the case of the fiberglass boat, all I did was thoroughly clean the hull.

Unless you own a huge commercial fishing boat, you do not need to worry about fouling. On the other hand, I must leave my boat docked in the marina for months at a time during fishing season, and having the best bottom paint for fiberglass boats helped curb the number of barnacles that used to latch onto the hull below the waterline.

Another amazing aspect of this boat bottom paint is that it dries and cures quickly. It is probably one of the quickest drying boat bottom paints that I used. It dries completely after just 4 hours. By that time, you can already start applying the second coat. Also, 16 hours after the last coat of paint, your boat is once again ready to launch.

This paint is also economical. I was able to apply two very generous coatings on the hull of my 24’ boat, and there was still enough left over for the roof of my garden shed. I just used a nap roller to apply this product and it went on smoothly and evenly.

I cannot find any fault in this sailboat racing bottom paint. However, if I need to give some sort of criticism, it would be about its thick consistency. Some people say that this product is a bit too thick, especially when used on a spray gun.

What We Like
  • Can adhere onto almost all surfaces
  • Effectively protects against mild to moderate fouling
  • Quick-drying and curing
  • Can cover a huge area
  • Suitable for both fresh and saltwater
What We Don’t Like
  • A bit too thick – It may need a bit of thinning before use

Rust-Oleum has never failed me yet, and this antifouling boat bottom paint of theirs is very much deserving of the brand. I highly recommend this paint if you are preparing your boat for the upcoming fishing season.

Who is This for?

best bottom paint for aluminum boats

Although both freshwater and saltwater boats can benefit from having the best ablative bottom paint, the boats that go out to sea need this paint because they are more susceptible to barnacles and other biological organisms.

However, if you do not leave your boat moored in the marina and put it on a trailer after every use, instead, then you do not need ablative paint. Moreover, if you own a light boat, you should not use this kind of paint as it will only hamper your vessel’s mobility.

Features to Consider When Buying a Boat Bottom Paint

If it is the first time for you to shop for the best boat bottom paint for speed, then here are some of the things that you need to take into serious consideration:

Freshwater or Saltwater

Paint that can withstand saltwater can deal with freshwater without any problem. However, even the best bottom paint for freshwater is not suitable for marine environments.

Saltwater is highly corrosive so you must use paint specifically formulated for it; otherwise, your paint will chip and peel off, leaving the metal underneath to rust away.

Paint Consistency

If you will be using a brush or a roller to paint the bottom of your boat, you would not want the paint to be so thick that it does not spread evenly. It is especially important if you will be using a spray gun. If the paint is too thick, then it will only clog up the nozzle.

Durability

Get a paint that can take a hit. There are lots of things that can hit and scrape the bottom of your boat, and if those things manage to scrape off or chip the paint, the exposed part of the hull is at the mercy of the water.

With that in mind, it is crucial to choose a boat bottom paint that dries hard. It should be able to withstand impacts that can make other paints crack and peel.

Antifouling Property

Fouling happens when biological creatures, like algae and barnacles, latch onto the surface of the hull. A good boat bottom paint has copper particles slowly leeching out of the surface. This can prevent organisms from even coming close to the paint.

Ease of Use

Ideally, the best boat bottom paint saltwater you get should be usable right out of the can. In other words, the consistency should be thin enough that it is easy enough to apply using a regular paint brush or roller. However, it should not be so thin that it runs before it gets a chance to dry.

Recoat and Launch Times

The recoat time is how long after laying down the first coat before you can paint on the next coat. According to marine bottom paint reviews, a good boat bottom paint has a recoat time of around 1-2 hours.

On the other hand, the launch time is how long after the last coat of paint before you can launch the boat in the water. Ideally, the launch time of the best boat bottom paint should not be longer than a day, but some paints are ready in just 6 hours.

You don’t need to worry about curing because it will continue to cure even when submerged in the water.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Boat Bottom Paint

best bottom paint for fiberglass boats

So what are the advantages that you can expect to gain from a boat bottom paint? Here are just a few of them:

  • Protects against barnacles, algae, and slime infestation
  • Plugs tiny leaks that the eye cannot see
  • Can make the boat cut through the water faster
  • Prevents corrosion due to exposure to saltwater
  • Protects the hull from light bumps and impacts

It also has a couple of disadvantages, though – among which are:

  • Makes the boat a whole lot heavier
  • Needs to be reapplied annually
  • Difficult to apply using a paint sprayer

Care and Maintenance

If you have any boat bottom paint left over from your last project, you should find a way to use it as soon as possible. Once you open the lid of the paint, it will already start drying and curing. You can probably store the leftover paint for a week or two. Do not store it any longer as it may already harden.

Even though the boat bottom paint has antifouling properties, you should still clean the bottom of your boat as much and as often as you can. There is still a chance that critters like barnacles can find a way to latch onto the bottom of your boat, but you can lessen their chances if you keep your boat clean.

Be careful when loading your boat onto its trailer. If you push it too hard, you might scratch or peel off the paint. If possible, just tie your boat to the dock until the end of the season so as not to cause potential damage to the hard bottom paint for boats.

Frequently Asked Questions

faqs

How Long does Boat Bottom Paint Last?

Even the best marine bottom paint is usually only usable for one season of fishing. This means that you will need to reapply a new coat for the following year. The reason is the antifouling property that only lasts for a couple of months and after that, it will no longer be effective.

You can technically leave the bottom paint for a couple of years, but during that time, all sorts of sea creatures will be covering the hull of the boat. Not only would the barnacles cause excessive damage to the hull, but they will also create a lot of drag, making it harder for the boat’s engine to push it through the water.

How to Remove Boat Bottom Paint?

There are several ways to remove antifouling paint from the bottom of a boat. First, there is the wet sanding method. By far, I consider it the most tedious as you will need to sand every square inch of the bottom hull manually until you get rid of all the antifouling.

The next method, sandblasting, is easier. However, not everyone has access to the equipment needed. Aside from that, it is also crucial to have the proper training to use it properly.

The last and probably the easiest one is to use an antifouling paint stripper. It is not the same as your normal household paint stripper. It is different as it will only attack the antifouling paint and not the paint or fiberglass underneath. Just apply a liberal amount over a small area and wait for the paint to bubble then scrape it off using a blunt scraper.

How much Boat Bottom Paint will I Need?

The amount of boat bottom paint you need to buy will depend on the size of your boat. In my experience, I have a 24’ boat and I only needed a gallon to apply two coats of antifouling paint, and I still had a bit of paint left after.

Another factor that might affect the amount you will need is the consistency of the paint. You can expect thinner consistency to allow for more coverage.

Conclusion

Your boat is a big investment, which is why you need to protect it in whatever way you can. One way to do so is to invest and use the best boat bottom paint. Note that the bottom of your boat receives the most abuse, which is why you need to give it the kind of protection that it needs through the paint.

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