Environmental Management

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 243–247

Antifouling paints: Use on boats in San Diego Bay and a way to minimize adverse impacts

  • Jean A. Nichols

DOI: 10.1007/BF01873393

Cite this article as:
Nichols, J.A. Environmental Management (1988) 12: 243. doi:10.1007/BF01873393


High concentrations of copper and tributyltin, two biocides used in antifouling paints, are found in harbors. Efforts are necessary to reduce the adverse impact of biocides from antifouling paints, but little is known about the actual use of such material. I surveyed the operators of 435 boats berthed in San Diego Bay, to determine what paints and maintenance procedures were being used.

More than 90% of the respondents used conventional leaching paints. These paints contain 40% to 65% copper compounds and 3% to 7% tributyltin compounds. Few respondents used copolymer paints. Those who did use copolymer paints seemed to repaint less frequently than those using conventional leaching paints.

Professional maintenance companies do not initiate repainting as frequently as individuals doing their own maintenance.

It appears that the input of antifouling biocides to harbor waters could be reduced by at least one-third simply by educating boat-owners about the chemical mechanisms involved in antifouling paints, by explaining the environmental and economic advantages of using slow-release paints, and by encouraging them not to repaint until their paint's useful life has expired.

Key words

CopperTributyltinBiocidesAntifouling paints

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean A. Nichols
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Coastal StudiesScripps Institution of OceanographyLa JollaUSA