With the science and technology of paint and surface coatings used on superyachts ever evolving, we look at product innovations, their sustainability and environmental impact
The past decade has seen a true leap forward in terms of yacht coating technology. The improvements and variety in products available means yachts can, for example, extend the life of their paint work or renovate it using ceramic based coatings whilst nano technology is revolutionising the entire industry.
New biocide-free nanotech coatings can now provide a surface so slippery (on a molecular level) that molluscs and weeds simply can’t get a grip on the hull. There are strict controls for application and the initial outlay is more costly than traditional antifouling. However once applied they deliver huge benefits not only to the environment, but very importantly in reduced downtime for the yacht, as not only can these coatings last up to 5 times longer than traditional antifouling, they help reduce fuel consumption and improve performance due to reduced drag.
Surface protection products such as ceramic coatings can be applied to a wide range of areas including glass, stainless steel, leather, and marble/stone, giving interior crew a much reduced clean/turn-around time between charters. They allow for easier cleaning around exhaust ports and heavy traffic areas.
Currently in the world of superyacht coatings the biggest debate involves antifouling. The industry has already removed the real nasties that were found to be harmful to the planet. TBT was banned back in 2003 whilst, more recently, copper-based products and anything else which releases biocides into the environment, have been banned in many countries. The discussion about antifouling paints now centres on what products do the least amount of harm and yet still keep the hull free from fouling.