A Boat That Can Be Wet Below The Waterline?!?

I just had it confirmed that Interlux Brightside paint that I bought from CLC is suitable "above the waterline" and that if used on the bottom of a boat will peel in pretty short order.

Any suggestions if I want to leave my boat in the water for a couple weeks at a time, or maybe the summer?

Specific materials to use that are known to work would be appreciated.


Curt 830/997-8120



6 replies:

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RE: A Boat That Can Be Wet Below The Waterline?!?

I had the same problem with my chester yawl. I leave it in the water all summer long so I had to go to a bottom paint. I use pettit ultima eco on the bottom and epifanes enamel on the sides. Make sure you only paint to the water line with the bottom paint as anything above that line has a tendency to "mud crack." I've used this two years now and it seems to be working fine.


RE: A Boat That Can Be Wet Below The Waterline?!?

Any boat left in the water "for a couple of weeks at a time" is going to have problems with marine growth.  Barnacles in salt water, algae in fresh water.  You'll need herbicidal bottom paint below the waterline.  This paint should be applied directly to the sanded epoxy.  

It's rare enough for these boats to live in the water that it just doesn't come up much, and up to a week isn't a problem with the Brightsides paint.

Chesapeake Heavy Craft, like PocketShip and the Peeler Skiff, come with specific bottom paint instructions.  

RE: A Boat That Can Be Wet Below The Waterline?!?

John...are you saying if I got bottom paint and applied it directly to my epoxy (thus not having to do primer)  it wont peel?  Why would I not do that or have had it suggested previously?

My time in salt water will only be on a daily trailer-in and trailer-out basis so I'm not concerned about salt water, but I may have the opportunity to have dock space in fresh water, thus longer stays in the water.  I'm not the least bit concerned about algae, I'm used to that and would pull it up on shore once a week or so to wipe down the algae.  My only concern is the Brightside paint peeling.  I read of one guy whose Brightside peeled in just 3 days?!?

Any others with experience with how long Brightside can sit in the water on the bottom of a boat before peeling?

Could I get the instructions for bottom paint from either the PocketShip or Peeler Skiff?

Quick discussion on this appreciated as I'm in a hurry to decide.


Curt Dennis 830/997-8120 curtdennis@msn.com



RE: A Boat That Can Be Wet Below The Waterline?!?

>>Why would I not do that or have had it suggested previously?

Because you never mentioned that you were continuously keeping the boat in the water before.

>>Quick discussion on this appreciated as I'm in a hurry to decide.

Make haste slowly. Act in haste, repent at leisure. <Insert other appropriate platitudes here>

A bit more seriously, Curt, bottom paint information can be found on the paint manufacturers' websites. This includes the conditions under which it's appropriate to use the different types. Be aware that some types must be continuously underwater (what Don's talking about above) because exposure to air dries them out and degrades them. True bottom paints also tend to be much more expensive than topside paints.

Good luck,



RE: A Boat That Can Be Wet Below The Waterline?!?

Couple of thoughts (for general consumption;  Curt and I just chatted via telephony):

1.  Bottom paint sucks.  It's toxic and nasty.  So we avoid using it on small boats as much as possible.  But it's the only solution for a boat that lives in the water for long periods...

2.  Except to switch to a two-part paint, like Interlux Perfection.  This won't degrade after long immersion, at least not as quickly, and freshwater algae can be scrubbed off from time to time.  (In salt water it's not a good option.)  The downside is that two-part paints are very tricky to work with unless you have a lot of painting experience.

3.  If you use bottom paint, it should be applied directly to the sanded epoxy.  MAS Epoxy and bottom paint get along well.  You might have to use a special primer with some epoxy brands.  

4.  For small boats that will be in the water longer than a few weeks but less than a few years, I prefer a non-ablative bottom paint.  We use Interlux TriLux 33 on PocketShip, Peeler, and Madness-the-proa.  Intended for powerboats, it's hard enough not to come off in your hands or on the trailer bunks.  It's not as resistant to marine growth, however.

5. I've been using Interlux Brightsides paint below the waterline on small boats since about 1991.  It's fine for a small boat's typically short stay in the water.  The Eastport Pram I towed behind my cruising sailboat had Brightsides on the bottom.  The paint never gave any trouble when kept in the water for as much as a week at a time.  

6.  It's worth noting that Interlux Brightsides takes a long time to reach full hardness.  Once it's really baked onto the boat---after a few months, say---it'll be a lot more durable.  I think if you rolled on a few coats below the waterline and put the boat in the water a day later, the immersed paint would start peeling pretty quickly.  

7.  Single-part paints like Interlux Brightsides and single-part varnishes like Interlux Schooner remain the best choice for amateur boatbuilders who use their light craft in normal ways.  We have one of the world's most reliable ongoing product tests in the form of our 80+ boat demo fleet, all of which have Brightsides paint and Schooner varnish on them.  Several of the boats live outdoors full time;  all of them are abused at demos.  They hold up great and still look pretty good at the end of the season---thousands of people saw 20 of the demo boats just last weekend at Canoecopia in Wisconsin.  Another interesting data point:  Scott Mestrezerat's varnished Kaholo did 2400 miles on the Missouri and the varnish on the bottom looks fine.  I know because the board was leaning up against the checkout counter in the booth all weekend.

I hope this thread forestalls hand-wringing about using Brightsides paint and Schooner varnish below the waterline on small boats.  You only have to fret about it if you're going to leave the boat in the water continuously for weeks or months at a time.  


RE: A Boat That Can Be Wet Below The Waterline?!?

   John, I take it this guidance also extends to the choice of primers that CLC recommends for brightsides paint?

From looking at the cans and Interlux's recommendations, they suggest using a two part epoxy pre-kote when using brightsides on bare epoxy, different from the one part pre-kote CLC recommends.  I'm curious why the difference in recommendations...


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