Boat hull paints

Save the environment and avoid toxic paints!

The toxic paints, or antifouling products, used on boat hulls are also very dangerous to other organisms than the algae, barnacles, Electra crustulenta and common mussels that attach to the hull. Most of the substances applied on boat hulls dissolve into water bodies, disrupting the reproduction of fish and other aquatic organisms.  Therefore, you should avoid using toxic paints and use other methods for boat hull maintenance instead.  Use of toxic paints is prohibited in freshwater areas or inland waters.  

Instead of toxic paints, you can use one of the following methods:

  • Clean the hull mechanically by scrubbing and/or using a pressure washer or a hull washer.
  • Hoist the boat on dry land every now and then.
  • Protect the boat hull from light and sun to reduce attachment of organisms on the hull.

If you paint the boat hull anyway, remember the following:

  • Do not use paints in freshwater areas or inland waters!
  • Use only antifouling products (toxic paints) approved by Tukes that are found on this list
  •  Paint the waterline of the boat only and/or patch up the former coat of paint.
  •  Let the paint dry long enough.
  • Protect the ground with tarpaulin or other impermeable fabric while painting or removing paint from the bottom of a boat, or, if possible, paint/remove paint in an area specifically intended for the purpose to ensure that the paint waste will be treated appropriately.
  • Do not allow paint waste to spread on the ground or into water, but take it to a collection point for hazardous waste.
  • Read the instructions for use carefully and wear appropriate protective equipment.
  • Use protective gloves! According to Tukes’ regulations the paint supplier should provide you with them when you are buying the paint.
  • Use wet grinding to remove the old pain, ensuring also that the paint waste and wastewaters are treated appropriately.
  • Take also appropriate care of other boating waste by taking boat batteries, old paints and oils etc. to a collection point for hazardous waste.

Keep the Archipelago Tidy Association has published guidelines on non-toxic boating (in Finnish) Askeleet myrkyttömään veneilyyn: Katseet veneiden pohjiin, which provides concrete tools for how boaters, yacht clubs, shipyards and local authorities can reduce the harmful environmental effects of boating Pidä saaristo siistinä /katseet veneiden pohjiin.