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Algex or Alumabrite on anti-foul paint

  Skipper

Question:

Our pontoon has that black anti-foul stuff painted on the bottom of the pontoons. Can Algex or Alumabrite be used on this paint or will it harm the finish or dissolve the paint? Currently, if we touch the paint, we get black stuff on our skin which is difficult to come off. Since we don’t have a pressure washer, I was also concerned about using either of these products with a deck brush on the anti-foul. What do you suggest?

Answer:

Hi Debbie,

It sounds like you have ablative anti-fouling paint on you aluminum pontoons. I assume that you also have a barrier coat under the paint to protect the aluminum from galvanic corrosion.

First of all, do not touch the paint or get it on your skin. Also, be careful about swimming around the boat. Try to swim upstream or stay out of the water. Anti-fouling paint contains heavy metal neurotoxins that can penetrate human skin and enter the body through the mouth, nose, eyes, etc. It can attack your nerve ends and cause other health problems. When washing or cleaning the bottom of the boat, when it’s on land, you should place a ground cloth under the boat to capture the effluent so it can disposed of in a proper facility instead of allowing it to go into the ground where it can eventually get into the ground water which may be used for drinking.

Algex and Alumabrite can both cause streaking of the anti-fouling paint and can also interact with the active ingredient, typically cupreous oxide, converting it from water soluble to water insoluble, rendering it ineffective. Algex is used to remove algae and Alumabrite is used to clean water or atmospheric stain and brighten aluminum. What are you trying to do?

Normally anti-fouling paint is not cleaned. Pressure washing and brushing will remove some of the paint. Usually, new paint is applied over the old, either annually or whenever the paint becomes exhausted. If you have fouling on the paint, this means that it is exhausted and needs to be replenished.

Thanks for your question.

Captain Aurora
Richard Kittar

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