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billyruffn 03-25-2013 02:37 PM

First they took the they want the paint!
Caveat: No, I'm not making this up!

The government is after more than your guns and 32 oz soda pop! The EPA is now coming for your bottom paint. And I don't mean that they want to take the copper out becauses it may change the sex of mollusks.....the SOB's now are trying to force us to be green (as in the moss that will grow on your hull) by limiting the amount of anti-fouling we can use.

I got a letter last week from my boat yard announcing "extremely important environmental issues...that will require your co-operation in order to comply with a new set of regulations".

The letter goes on to say:


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has come up with some very stringent requirements, similar to those already in force in California and many other states, regarding Volitile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions, not only on the various paints and products used by NEB (the yard), but all emissions on site whether by individual customers or sub-contractors. The most common targets of these regulations are bottom paints and thinners, but also include varnishes and paints whether enamels, acrylics or epoxies. NEB is required by law to provide an accounting of all VOC emitting products used on site to the EPA, with a cap on usage amounts, and substantial penalties for non-compliance.
A paragraph or so later it mentions how they're going to enforce the new edict:


We will require all customers when scheduling a launch to sign the enclosed statement indicating whether they painted the bottom and/or used any other paint or thinner products to prepare for launch, what paint or products were used and how much. If you hire a subcontractor to paint your bottom or for other work, they will have to countersign the form as being accurate. We will not launch boats without a signed affidavit of material useage.
And then they get to the consequences for me and thee (bold in the original):


The strict limit on VOC emissions throughout the entire faciltiy imposed on us by the EPA, will expose NEB to substantial fines if it is exceeded. We will be tracking eimssions on an ongoing basis and, if it appears that we are going to exceed the permissible volume, in a worst case scenario we would have to strictly limit or possibly even prohibit use of VOC emitting product to ensure that we do not exceed these limits. Althought this may appear draconian we do not have any alternative option at this time.
So, you ask, "How bad could it be?"

I googled "EPA VOC boat yards" and found this:Annapolis Admiralty and Maritime Law Attorneys Lochner Law Firm, P.C. - Admiralty and Maritime Law, Boat, Boatinglaw, Boating Law, Law - BOATINGLAW.COM - New Regulations on Volatile Organic Compounds Emissions

It appears from the above url that California and Maryland have set the limit at 15 pounds of VOCs per day per boat yard. Your average gallon of bottom paint has around 4 pounds of VOC. That would limit the yard to less than 4 gallons of bottom paint to be applied per day -- to say nothing of the other paints and varnishes that may be in progress that day.

This spring I will use about three gallons of Micron 66 on BR's hull. If Rhode Island has the same limits as CA and MD, I'm going to eat up most of the entire yard's daily quota the moment I crack the lid on the first 3 gallon can. I guess I should plan on being at the yard as the sun rises so I can be the first antifouler in line that day.

When is this lunacy going to end?


benesailor 03-25-2013 03:07 PM

Re: First they took the they want the paint!
I certainly hope that the makers of "Bottom paint" are stepping up to find new alternatives. Soon

I think most of us saw this was only a matter of time.

flandria 03-25-2013 03:16 PM

Re: First they took the they want the paint!
A few weeks ago I started a thread asking about the bottom paints now being advertised that are less toxic... While there was a fair amount of response to this, I am still largely in the dark as to the relative quality and effectiveness of the new stuff coming on line and how they in fact reduce harmful compounds. I would think that this is a heavy-duty topic for the established sailing/boating magazine... unless they are afraid to speak up and ruffle the feathers of their advertisers... I do look forward to a solution that is more environmentally friendly.

Now, going sideways with this issue, perhaps we'll see people going back to careening somewhere the old-fashioned way, around the corner from the marina, somewhere with a suitable range in the tide, to slap some paint on the bottom after scraping off the barnacles...

carl762 03-25-2013 03:50 PM

Re: First they took the they want the paint!
Hopefully the manufacturers will get something together by Spring 2014, when I plan on pulling my boat. I'll scrub her this year.

I am so sick and tired of the government's continuing intrusions into my life. :(

Brent Swain 03-25-2013 03:51 PM

Re: First they took the they want the paint!
Thank god I live in a free country and not in the US. In BC such laws are completely unenforceable in remote areas.

kellysails 03-25-2013 03:57 PM

Re: First they took the they want the paint!
We in the fine state of Washington have about six years left before copper paint is banned. Hopefully we will be gone by then for warmer waters far far south of here by then. Oddly, here, the law only applies to recreational boaters below 65 feet in length. Because we all know that those private boat owners who have boats larger than 65 feet head out of the Puget Sound every winter (so their impact must be less). What fu%^ing hog wash. Let's not discuss all the commercial boats/ships who are also not under the new regulation. More hogwash. Once again, the little guy gets all the focus and attention.

Hesper 03-25-2013 04:04 PM

Re: First they took the they want the paint!
Yeah, well, we're subject to the same regulations, but the response hasn't been nearly so draconian. I'm required to put down a tarp before sanding or painting (dry sanding is OK, for wet sanding I'd need a vacuum attachment) and dispose of any debris before I pack up for the day. No biggie. Maybe you just need to find a more reasonable yard.

Grb a Big Gulp and mull it over.

kellysails 03-25-2013 04:10 PM

Re: First they took the they want the paint!
The VAST majority of the yards in the Puget Sound no longer allow boat owners to put on their own bottom paint. The WA branch of the Marine Trade Association loves this stuff and is a huge supporter of this regulation. Why you ask, well if people have to put crappy paint on their boat they will just have to get it hauled and serviced by one of their member Yards more often. And btw, the Yard has to put the crappy paint on, you are not allowed.

Brent Swain 03-25-2013 04:47 PM

Re: First they took the they want the paint!
A recent article in 48 north pointed out how most of the copper in Puget Sound comes from brake shoes and only a tiny portion comes from antifouling, an even tinier portion from pleasure boats under 65 feet.

SloopJonB 03-25-2013 04:50 PM

Re: First they took the they want the paint!

Originally Posted by billyruffn (Post 1007557)
When is this lunacy going to end?

It isn't.

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