PBO reader Brian Williams wants to know whether he can re-activate copper antifoul after 3 years of use? Our expert has this advice…


Brian Williams writes: “I read with great interest the article on different antifouling treatments in the May 2021 edition of PBO.

“Based at Suffolk Yacht Harbour I had Coppercoat professionally applied to my boat in 2012 and found it worked wonderfully for three years and then problems started to arise.

“When weed started growing quite badly after three years Coppercoat advised reactivation of the surface with fine abrasive paper or a pot scourer.

“I did this but was not impressed particularly near the water line, as there seemed to be continuing growth of weed there requiring scrubbing brush removal despite my efforts to reactivate the copper antifoul coating.

“Then further problems developed where some areas of coating were losing their bond with the hull, particularly on the keel.

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“The boatyard was excellent in providing cost-free repairs but now it has been back to the yard twice in succeeding years and needs a third repair for newly debonded patches.

“I don’t have enough expertise as a boat owner to know if the lower performance of the Coppercoat and the peeling problems are related and would therefore welcome your opinion.

“I now have the dilemma of whether to have Coppercoat reapplied professionally – which I am partially persuaded to do as it was so good for the first three years – or to adopt a completely different approach.”


Suffolk Yacht Harbour – the Suffolk coast is known to be a high fouling area. Photo: Jon Taylor/Alamy

PBO paint and antifoul expert Richard Jerram replies: “Suffolk Yacht Harbour is generally considered to be a high fouling area, particularly for slime.

“As you’ve had successful protection for three years it may be necessary to expose more of the copper powder content and this can be achieved by lightly abrading with a medium to fine wet and dry abrasive – as Coppercoat have recommended. This will help to reactivate the surface and should improve the performance of your copper antifoul.

“With regards to the patches of detachment it would appear the original application is possibly losing its grip on the original coat of primer – or the primer is losing adhesion to the actual substrate.

“In either case to rectify this you’ll probably have to abrade the primer or substrate in those areas with a coarse abrasive, re-prime and then apply the necessary coats of Coppercoat.

“Provided this solves the problem areas it’ll be an easier and cheaper course of action than abrading the whole hull back to bare substrate and starting again.”

Got a question? Email pbo@futurenet.com and we’ll put it to a relevant expert. 

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This feature appeared in the November 2022 edition of Practical Boat Owner. For more articles like this, including DIY, money-saving advice, great boat projects, expert tips and ways to improve your boat’s performance, take out a magazine subscription to Britain’s best-selling boating magazine.

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