Copper Bottom Paint Ban In San Diego (Long but Important!) - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 3 Old 01-14-2004 Thread Starter
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Copper Bottom Paint Ban In San Diego (Long but Important!)

If you live in San Diego or for that matter anywhere in California please read this letter from RBOC (Recreational Boaters of California). FYI, RBOC is a watchdog group that looks out for recreational boating interests in the CA Assembly and elsewhere. Sample letters are on the RBOC website.

To: California Boaters

From: Recreational Boaters of California

Date: January 7, 2004

Re: Call-to-arms – Proposed Copper TMDL

Recreational Boaters of California [RBOC] is urging boaters in the San Diego area, as well as boaters state-wide, to sign and send in letters opposing a proposed TMDL and implementation plan for dissolved copper that is before the Shelter Island Yacht Basin.

Letters are available at - click-on to the call-to-arms button.

Letters should be sent in by January 20 to meet the public comment deadline that was extended by the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board at its December 10 meeting. The Board could take action on the plan as soon as March without further public comment or testimony.

This proposal could establish a precedent for similar actions by regional boards throughout the state.

The proposed action would establish a specific numerical limit for the presence of dissolved copper in the basin. That number would become the goal of an implementation plan that would also be adopted by the Board.

The plan would establish a multi-year effort with marinas and yacht clubs responsible for lowering the levels of dissolve copper, and with individual boaters participating through conversion to other hull coatings and other activities.

Details of the proposal are available at the Board’s website:

RBOC is the nonprofit organization that promotes and advocates the interests of boaters statewide before the legislative and executive branches of government.
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post #2 of 3 Old 01-20-2004
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Copper Bottom Paint Ban In San Diego (Long but Important!)

Here''s the post I placed on another BB regarding this same "Henny Penny, the sky is falling..." note on reducing copper content in bottom paint.

I had an interesting, very informative chat with one of the techncial guys at the International Paints booth here in London this week. He''d worked at one point for 3 years on the East Coast of the U.S., is British by birth and now represents International to all of the southern European region''s vendors, yards, etc. In short, he''s got a keep perspective on bottom paint technology and also practices in various parts of the world.

He explained how different the history of bottom paint development has been in Europe vs. the U.S., driven primarily by EPA''s initial reluctance to allow biocides and metals to be used in U.S.-sold products other than copper. Copper became King in the U.S. products (especially so, once tin was outlawed) and we boat owners would all carefully shop for ''best value'' by reading the % by weight of copper in a given product vs. its price. Consequently, modified epoxy media became common because it was the paint type most suitable for large copper content paints.

Meanwhile, European countries took an oppositie tack, allowing a wide range of biocides to be used, in part to encourage a reduction in the use of copper. (Truly: one person''s pleasure is another person''s poison...). Manufacturers over here have had to adapt to changes in govt. positions on certain biocides but, in general, work harder at developing the most effective combination of metals and biocides, and therefore neither they nor the boat owner is so focused on copper content alone (which is quite low by comparison in all the products here, something like 10% by weight). That''s why you can''t find modified epoxy paints over here; the self-polishing and ablative media better suit the molecule chains developed for these combination-poison products.

I have no idea what''s best for San Diego Bay but suspect what we''re seeing here is that, once again, California is going to drive the market by acting on a more informed view of the total environmental equation...perhaps due to a less provincial view of the antifouling industry than most of us U.S. sailors enjoy. There may also be a wee bit of a civics lesson here for us, as well. Watchdog groups serve a useful function but see all things through their one lens, which may seem to be a benefit for us as sailors but perhaps less so as citizens of the Big Blue Marble).


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post #3 of 3 Old 01-25-2004
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Copper Bottom Paint Ban In San Diego (Long but Important!)

For the definitive word on the anti fouling situation in California, and in particular, San Diego Bay, you should contact the California Professional Divers Association. They are at the forefront in the nation for educating hull cleaners, marina operators and boaters about the environmental impacts as well as the current and future of not only cuprous oxide laden paints but alternative (read: Nontoxic) anti fouling solutions as well.
Further, the CPDA is the only organization currently certifying hull cleaners in the use of Best Management Practices for in-water hull cleaning, something the state of California has mandated in it''s Non Point Source Pollution Control Plan. See the CPDA web site for details and contact info:
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