The most comprehensive survey ever undertaken to study the DIY use of antifouling (AF) paints in the UK has shown that boat owners are ‘taking the correct precautions and are well aware of the hazards involved when using these products’.

The British Coatings Federation (BCF) Marine Coatings Group launched the survey in September, to acquire information and data to defend the DIY use of these products.

There is a concern that authorities may decide to restrict the application and use of AF paints to professional applicators through the implementation of the latest EU regulations on biocides.

The survey was completed by just under 2,500 boat owners, the vast majority of whom paint their own boats with antifouling paint on an annual basis.

More than 90% of the boat owners who responded to the survey were found to be ‘well aware of the hazards involved in the application of AF paints’, and using the appropriate personal protective equipment accordingly.

The survy also highlighted several areas where improvements could be made, including the provision of training courses, better guidance on preparing the boat and disposing of waste paint, and further efforts that could be made to minimise the risks of skin contact with AF paint during its application.

BCF members are now reviewing a 14-page preliminary report on the responses and discussing how to take forward this information to the next stage.

Boat owners and representatives from the marine industry have been invited to a meeting in early February to discuss the findings summarised in the report and to put together a strategic action plan as the BCF proceeds with lobbying to defend the continued use of AF paints by the DIY applicator.

Queries regarding this survey may be addressed to Trevor Fielding, the BCF’s Regulatory Affairs Manager,