Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Swarthmore, PA
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As a general rule, ablative paint can go over hard paint with modest surface prep. Where you get into problems is putting hard paint over ablative. Consult the websites of paint manufacturers (Pettit, Interlux) for specific compatibility charts and recommendations for the amount of sanding. If would help a lot if the prior owner could tell you exactly what paint is on the top layer.
Get recommendations for a good boat yard if you want this work done for you. However, based on the marina owner's questionable advice about ablative over hard paint, I would not work with that marina.
There are others with much more experience than me in this area - hopefully they'll have more advice.
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1998 Catalina 250WK Take Five (at Anchorage Marina, Essington, on the Delaware River)
1994 Mason 44 Firefly on loan from my BFF (West River, Galesville, MD)
1991 15' Trophy (Lake Wallenpaupack)
1985 14' Phantom (Lake Wallenpaupack)