How often should I paint my boat?
If done correctly and with the correct materials, you should paint your boat every 4-5 years. This is completely dependent on whether your contractor or shipyard used the best paint and the best painting practices. The average repaint we've seen is about 3 years, considering many contractors don't use the best materials.
Which paint is the best?
There are TONS of paints out there, and new technologies developing in the industry... but, so far as we've seen, Pettit Trinidad Pro paint (or Pettit Trinidad SR) are by FAR, the best paints out there. We'll keep you updated if technology changes, but for now, there's no question. Some shipyards will offer a low cost haul and paint, but beware of low-cost paint jobs! You never want to have anything but the best, considering you'll just be hauling out more often. From a boater's perspective, nobody wants to be in the shipyard all the time! Stay out on the water
How many coats should be applied?
We've proven time and time again that there should be no less than 2 full coats applied to the bottom and 3 coats applied to the waterline. DON'T believe the snake oil salesmen that say the less paint, the better... That's just shipyard nonsense! The more, the better, and the less you'll be in the shipyard. Really, these are boats, and not aircraft- the weight of a gallon or two of paint is like telling your guests they can't bring a case of beer on your yacht because the weight is going to make that much of a difference. The waterline needs 3 coats because of the grass that generally grows on the surface of the water, assisted by the sunlight. Your diver will have to scrub your waterline much harder than the rest of the boat (except for the metals) so you'll need more paint there
Can I paint the metals? I.e. trim tabs, struts, shafts, props, etc.?
Yes!!! Only a few shipyards in the country understand this process, but there is only ONE way of doing this: numerous coats of epoxy primer. Most shipyards who are painting use the same processes that they've been using for the past 35 years... which are very outdated.
If a shipyard simply puts regular primer onto your metals and paints them, expect the paint to last about 3-4 months before it's rendered ineffective. This is due to the electrolysis corrosion between the copper in the paint and the stainless/bronze on your running gear. It's common sense to understand that, when you mix two metals in salt water, electrolysis will begin to dissolve the lesser metal. In this case, your paint will suffer. Many shipyards apply paint to the metals, not knowing what a waste this is.
In order to properly seal your metals from the salt water and paint, you MUST use a product such as Pettit Protect 4700 Epoxy primer
There's a few substitutes out there, but this stuff is the best. Put 3-4 coats of this stuff straight onto your metals, bare or not (yes, this can be applied over a bit of hard-growth, doesn't have to be raw metal) and you'll have a good bond for your paint to attach to. This stuff will also lower your zinc draw considerably, which will save you money over time.
We've seen drastic cost savings using this method, and our clients' boats have the greatest speed and efficiency of any in their harbors. No growth on metals = highest performance!
How long till my diver can clean after a fresh paint job?
90 days, plain and simple. If you got your hull painted in the summer, ensure your diver inspects/cleans your running gear once a month. If you did not get your metals properly painted, even 2 weeks of growth in warm summer months will slow you down.
How long should I wait till I can enjoy my boat?
I'd like to say that you can just ride off into open waters immediately after your paint dries, but that's not the case. Please allow at least 5 days till you enjoy your yacht, simply to allow the coatings on your running gear to solidify. If you jump the gun a little early, the paint will flake off of your props and rudders, since the power of the water will be working against the coatings.