You can remove old bottom paint
, but I am not sure that I would ever classify it as easy. Depending on the type of bottom paint
you have two choices. If the bottom paint
is of teh "soft" type or is a harder bottom paint
like ''Vinylast''that has some age on it, then the fastest way to remove it is with a hook scraper. I have removed all of the bottom paint on a 22 footer in a little over a day.
The key here is to get a hook scraper with a good handle and a smooth edge (rather than serated) and keep the blade sharp (carry a metal file in your back pocket and stop and sharpen when ever you feel like you are working too hard). Wear eye protection, a good quality repirator (face mask with filters not the surgical masks that are out there)and a tyvek suit.
I would do a test area first to see if the scraper will work. Hold the blade flat against the hull and be careful not to scrape into the gelcoat. I would then sand the bottom starting with a 220 grit to get off any residue. From there I would go with progressively finer wet and dry sandpapers until the hull is clean enough to use rubbing compound and wax. Do not use a silicone wax as they make repainting next to imposible. If you do nick the gelcoat deeply, then you are stuck sanding the bottom with a coarser paper and applying an epoxy
or vinylester barrier coat.
Plan ''B'' consists of using a chemical stripper. There are specially made chemical strippers that have a special paper that traps the chemical and holds it against the hull. While these are more expensove, smellier and less palatable to use, they are more environmentally friendly and do a very good job. You need to follow the directions explicitly and then use wet and dry sandpapers and compound like above.