Whilst antifouling does a great job of keeping our hulls clean, and even has some environmental benefits such as improving fuel efficiency and preventing the spread of invasive non-native species, it is toxic to aquatic life. Most antifouls are copper or zinc based. Some of the compounds found in these antifouls can accumulate in marine organisms, and can find their way into marine wildlife further up the food chain.

The majority of copper in antifouling enters the marine environment through leaching. However concentrated amounts do enter the marine environment during the removal of antifouling paint, which occurs mostly by water blasting or mechanical scraping, and can form concentrated deposits in the sediments around marinas and in river beds.

Boat owners can play a vital role in preventing concentrated scrapings from entering the water by choosing a marine facility that uses a washdown system that captures run off and by following our best practice advice.