The frequency of bottom painting depends on where you are.
Here in North Carolina, most boats stay in the water year-round, and we have pretty aggressive carpet growth in the warm months. Most boats need a bottom job every 12-18 months. I would say most people around here probably stretch that out to two years, and this can be ok if a diver cleans the bottom regularly. And of course some people stretch it farther than that - but when the bottom is coated with growth and the barnacles have taken hold, the bottom job ends up costing more anyway, and negates any savings you might have had.
There are different needs for places with warmer water, cooler water, places where the boat is on the hard for several months in the winter, etc.
Carolina Wind Yachting Center, Washington, NC
Charters * Brokerage * Pacific Seacraft * Zodiac
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Who is staring at the sea is already sailing a little.