Keeping your vessel’s hull clean and free of growth is important but not at the cost of fouling Delaware waters. All anti-fouling paints work by releasing toxic chemicals into the surrounding water. In general, the more effective the paint is, the more toxic its ingredients are.
- Copper-based paints, used for decades, have generally proven adequate to keep a hull clean for a year or more and are less toxic.
- Newer tin-based paints (such as tributyltin or TBT) should not be used. TBT is one of the most toxic chemicals to aquatic life—interfering with reproduction, especially of shellfish. Studies indicate TBT also causes health problems in humans. Delaware law restricts the use of products containing TBT.
- When preparing your vessel for being painted, catch all toxic paint scrapings and dispose them off in a proper container. When painting, keep all paint thinner, brush cleaners, etc. away from the water and dispose them off properly to reduce the chance of fouling the water.
- Consider using a dry-stack boat-storage system to reduce the need for bottom paint.