How to Paint the Bottom of Your Boat

In order to maintain the durability and appearance of your boat, occasionally the bottom of your boat will require a new paint job.  While the prospect of doing so may seem somewhat daunting, here are some helpful tips to make the process of painting the bottom of your boat as smooth as possible.

While your boat is still wet, use a biodegradable boat cleaner like Boat Wash from Wise Solutions.  Follow this with a pressure washer to further clean the bottom of your boat.  If there appears to be any paint chipping, ensure that the area is pressure washed thoroughly enough to remove any loose paint flakes.

The next step is to strip the old paint from your boat’s bottom; Molecular-Tech Coatings Inc. of Canada manufactures an eco-friendly marine paint stripper called EFS-2500.  As always, read all manufacturers’ instructions thoroughly before proceeding.

Once you’ve stripped the paint, the next step is to sand the bottom of your boat using an 80-grit paper – a random orbital sander won’t cause the damage that a standard belt sander could.  If you don’t have a vacuum hose connector to remove the dust, consider using a length of flexible plastic tubing, which can attach to the sander’s dust bag mount and then can be directed into a shop type vacuum.  Be sure to wear proper safety equipment including a respirator, gloves, and earplugs during the process.

Once you’ve finished sanding, it’s time to wash your boat once again with an environmentally friendly cleaner.  This will ensure that any remaining paint chips and the dust from sanding will be removed.

Before you begin painting your boat bottom, you will need to choose an appropriate color.  A great tip is to choose a different color from which your boat bottom is already painted so that it will be easy to recognize when it’s time to paint again.  A variety of eco-friendly anti-fouling, copper-free and solvent-free bottom paint is available for purchase in today’s market.

Be sure to check the weather forecasts before you begin painting; you don’t want wind (dust) or rains to wreak havoc as you’re trying to paint.  It’s also a good idea to have extra paint rollers on hand, just in case you need them.

After taping off the waterline, use a paint shaker before applying the paint.  Use a short-napped roller with an optional extension handle to apply the paint to help ensure being able to reach the boat’s entire bottom surface.  Try to work quickly as many bottom paints dry fast.  Check the paint specifications to see if a second coat is required.

At one point, you’ll need to remove the stands underneath the boat to paint the spots the stands were covering.  You will need to ask assistance with this portion of the process.  A boatyard manager would be able to assist you.

Be patient and follow the paint manufacturer’s instructions as to how long your new coat of paint needs to dry before you can place her back in the water.  Drying times will vary with outside temperatures and could be as short at 12 hours or up 24 hours to dry.

Wise Solutions
Molecular-Tech Coatings Inc.
Bottom Paint Store


  1. scott fodor says:

    great article and website!

  2. Steve says:

    Just beware of the toxic properties of some bottom paints. They’re not exactly environmentally friendly. Be sure to explore the alternatives to conventional paints. There’s a good tip over at

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