New green campaign focuses on antifouling

Boat owners are being urged to ‘Protect, Collect and Dispose’ as part of a new initiative promoting best practice for antifouling vessels.

The RYA and British Marine joint environment initiative, The Green Blue, has joined forces with the British Coatings Federation (BCF) and The Yacht Harbour Association in a drive to encourage boaters to seek the best method for protecting boats and the environment.

Launched today (April 25) at the 2019 Marina Conference in Bournemouth, the Protect, Collect and Dispose campaign offers plenty of advice for those who antifoul their own vessels, as well as for marinas and boatyards which offer professional antifouling services.

Kate Fortnam, Campaign Manager for The Green Blue, says: “We have developed guidance with the BCF for antifoul application, removal and disposal to ensure hazardous paint does not enter the environment during these processes. The guidance explains how to best protect yourself and the environment, especially with regard to collecting paint debris and disposing of waste.

“This isn’t just an opportunity for marinas and individuals to ensure they are adopting best practice but to encourage others to do the same and help raise awareness of the main environmental issues.”

While antifouling does a great job of keeping hulls clean and preventing the build-up of marine organisms, 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.

Since the banning of TBT in 1987, most antifouls are now 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.

Trevor Fielding, Regulatory Affairs Manager at the BCF, comments: “This new initiative is intended to raise awareness of environmental issues relating to antifouling amongst the boat-owning community and our UK boatyards and marinas. Everyone wants to do the right thing but either they don’t know how and/or they lack the facilities to do so. We hope that the information provided will help to improve the practices followed by DIY antifouling paint users, as well as those applying antifoul professionally.”

Look after your boat and the environment 

When antifouling your boat:

  • choose an appropriate well-ventilated location and follow marina and boatyard rules;
  • read labels and literature thoroughly;
  • wear all recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) and keep this on until the end of the application;
  • protect the ground and surrounding area;
  • keep dust to a minimum and capture all debris and scrapings;
  • minimise paint dust by using wet sanding techniques;
  • thoroughly clean up after;
  • wash skin with warm soapy water or approved cleaners;
  • dispose of all waste responsibly.

For further information and detailed advice visit the RYA website and The Green Blue website.

Help to deliver the message

An informative leaflet has been produced explaining how to best protect yourself and the environment, especially with regard to collecting paint debris and disposing of waste. A weather resistant poster is also available for display in chandlers, marinas and boatyards. For these and other awareness raising materials, visit

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