Sustainable and safe use of biocidal antifouling products for boats

Biocidal antifouling products are hazardous to health and the environment. Each product’s instructions for use indicate how to use the product safely. The user must read the instructions carefully before using the product. 

Restrictions on use

Restrictions have been set for the use of biocidal antifouling products on boats to prevent environmental risk and health hazards. Always check product-specific restrictions in the product’s instructions for use. The following general restrictions apply to all biocidal antifouling products intended for boats:

  • Only products approved by Tukes can be used, sold or imported.
  • Any use of products other than that mentioned in the product label, or any violation of the instructions for use, is forbidden.
  • Products can only be used in marine areas. The use of the products is prohibited in freshwater areas and inland waters

Instructions for painting and removing the paint

Biocidal antifouling products contain substances that are hazardous to health and the environment. When you paint the hull or remove old paint, select your working methods so that paint or paint waste are not spread into the environment. Wear protective clothing and the personal protective equipment. Always follow the instructions included in the product packaging. 

  • Protect the ground against splashes using e.g. a tarpaulin.
  • Only paint in a space that has proper ventilation.
  • Only paint boat’s waterline or only places where the old paint has lost, if possible.
  • Remove any old paint by wet grinding.
  • Keep children away from the boat painting area until the treated surfaces have dried.
  • Always use chemical-resistant protective gloves and goggles when handling paint. 
  • When finished, dispose of any paint waste, dirty covers and painting tools as hazardous waste. 

Instructions for washing boats

When washing a hull to which antifouling paint has been applied, chemicals hazardous to the environment are released from the painted surface. Boats must be washed so that no untreated water can be released into the environment. When washing a boat to which biocidal antifouling paint has been applied, consider the following:

  • Avoid using a pressure washer or other high-intensity washing method, as it damages the painted surface and reduces the paint’s service life.
  • Wash the hull in an area in which the water used can be collected and treated. Any water used in washing the hull cannot be released into the environment.
  • Do not wash the hull in a boat washer in the sea.

Save the environment and avoid using biocidal antifouling products!

Biocidal antifouling products are also highly toxic to organisms other than the algae, barnacles and common mussels that attach to the hull. The toxic substances released from the painted surface have an adverse impact on the reproduction of fish and other aquatic organisms.  Therefore, the use of biocidal antifouling products should be avoided and other methods should be preferred to prevent organisms from adhering to the hull. By combining various alternative methods for biocidal antifouling products, you can achieve the best results without using any toxins. More information about alternative methods is available on page Boat paints (in Finnish).