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My routine for maintenance of ablative bottom paint (Micron CSC) is to have the boat pressure washed on haul-out for the winter, and every three years in the spring to wash it with Joy and a big sponge+Scotchpad combo, then apply two-three coats of paint, depending on the location (more on the rudder, stem, etc.). This spring the yard owner very much took me to task for washing the boat as above, claiming that only dry sanding with a dustless sander is permitted under Connecticut state law. I could not verify this on Connecticut's "Clean Marina" website. Dry sand ablative bottom paint? Can a guy with a bucket of Joy and sponge be a menace to the planet?
 

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Reason being, is the paint has copper etc in it, and when you wash as you are, the copper goes down the drain to polute the local area. Likewise, most marina's do not want you going down scuba wise, and toweling of the bottom, or as some dockmates that race with hard paints, use a brush to clean off the bottom before a race either.

marty
 

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What's the difference between having ablative paint wear off by moving through the water and washing it off? Only difference I can detect is that in one case the boat is moving and the water is not, and in the other the boat is not moving and the water is. Go figure!

And while you're figuring it out.....stop breathing! You're putting CO2 into the atmosphere with every breath you take.
 

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Before we get too hard on the yard owners......keep in mind the fact that the state environmental nazis are holding them (not us) responsible for the practices in their yards. As my yard put it recently, and I'm paraphrasing, "If you guys don't to it the right way we're going to have to stop allowing owners to do DIY maintenance.....we just can't take the legal liability for your screw ups".

If I were a yard owner I might feel the same way. As a boat owner....I really appreciate being able to do my own maintenance -- so in spite of the fact that I think the states are probably going overboard, I'm willing to cut the yard owners some slack.
 

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the pointy end is the bow
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Actually, our local yards paid big bucks to have their run off go into a closed loop collection system. So all the stuff coming off the boat doesn't actually run into the bay. They also have air monitoriing units around at least one yard I've used to sample the air for toxic dust. So the yards are being monitored and their livelyhoods can be impacted for not following "best practices".
 

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BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Your Country is very funny...really is...

so you can't wash a product that goes in the water, but you can have a Hummer...

you guys crack me up...."one says kill the other hang him".....
 

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Probably the main reason, is to keep said stuff from getting too thick in a given area. While a bit here, a bit there is not a big deal, when you put those bits on top of ea other in one spot, you then end up with places that fall into the toxic waste problem. Then in some cases, one needs to spend money to contain, or clean up.

This is one of those, I use chemicals at work, ie insecticides, herbicides etc, but prefer to keep the use to a minimum. I use them, but unlike some folks, that avaid them like the plague, one has to have trade offs. But, if you rub cleaned you boat bi weekly over a period of time, granted in salt water, the tide would move some of said compound around, but MOST, would end up under your boat, creating its own little pile of copper or equal that would/kill organisms under you. This is to a degree what the marinas are trying to avoid, such that they get fined etc

Your boat itself is not the issue, it is when your boat plus a dozen others do the same thing ea day that eventually causes issues.

Same as DDT yrs ago, a little here, a little there, and all of a sudden, we have the US national symbol on the brink of extinction because the DDT went thru the food chain, from insects to small animals that bald eagles eat, and they are not laying eggs with thick enough shells, babys are not living etc... So any way, off on a soap box, but with similar issues. Same as locally Dursban, a good insecticide for bugs, that has worked thru the food chain hurting local salmonoid runs. SOme of what I said is not the only issue, but part of the overall issue with things.

Cut them ie owners of the marinas some slack and move on, not the end of the world......yet.

Marty
 

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Once again this is an example of the government going after the smallest contributer to an environmental problem. I think the reason this happens is marina and yard owners are relatively small fish that the EPA can bully around without any reprecussions. What about the massive amounts of heavy metals in the drilling muds used by offshore well drilling companies. This "mud" routinely winds up on the bottom of our bays and oceans, I know this from first hand experience. I have spent many hours working on the bottom slogging through mounds of drilling mud around oil platforms. NO effort is ever made to clean this up so far as I know.

Giu is right, we americans have some really absurd practices.
 

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My routine for maintenance of ablative bottom paint (Micron CSC) is to have the boat pressure washed on haul-out for the winter, and every three years in the spring to wash it with Joy and a big sponge+Scotchpad combo, then apply two-three coats of paint, depending on the location (more on the rudder, stem, etc.). This spring the yard owner very much took me to task for washing the boat as above, claiming that only dry sanding with a dustless sander is permitted under Connecticut state law. I could not verify this on Connecticut's "Clean Marina" website. Dry sand ablative bottom paint? Can a guy with a bucket of Joy and sponge be a menace to the planet?
The federal government considers copper-laden anti fouling paint to be a pesticide. As such, it must be regulated. In California ( I can't speak for the policies of other states) boat yards are required to capture the water used to pressure wash boat bottoms, filter out the bad stuff and have it barreled up and shipped out as a hazardous material. All very expensive, of course. Maybe the owner of your yard is trying to avoid this where possible.

Likewise, most marina's do not want you going down scuba wise, and toweling of the bottom, or as some dockmates that race with hard paints, use a brush to clean off the bottom before a race either.
I don't know where you live, but here in California there would be riots if in-water bottom cleaning were restricted.
 

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It is ok to in-water bottom clean "IF" you have hard paint. "IF" you have ablative paint, that is NOT ok to do, which is what I was implying there.

marty
 

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It is ok to in-water bottom clean "IF" you have hard paint. "IF" you have ablative paint, that is NOT ok to do, which is what I was implying there.
I understand what you were implying. However, to my knowledge there is only one state in the country (Washington) that has any restrictions in place regarding the cleaning of ablative paints. If you know of others, please enlighten me.
 

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Hmmmmm, Did not know washington was the only one.........ok, I will shut up then. I thought this was a more widespread rule than here in puget sound.

Marty
 

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Well, Alex, we've been deprived of the facist leadership for 194 years longer than you all have, so sometimes things get confused over here. Give us a call and let us know how you're doing 194 years further down the road, will you?

wnor-
In the northeast most marina owners are quite frankly in terror of "epa" violations and penalties, one incident, one big penalty, and they are out of business forever. Sometimes they are paranoid, sometimes they are correct. Right now, all you can do is comply. But if you chase down the state authorities, and get them to cite the actual code to you and explain it to you, you may be able to either understand the marina's requirements, or show them what the law actually requires.

I would expect that IF you can dry sand the bottom, you can wet sand/wash the bottom, since either way you are polluting the marina grounds unless there is a containment system. Many marinas will allow dry only--and even that only if you have a tarp and you contain and remove all of the sediment. Having to empty out a boatyard and have all the gravel and then the top foot of soil bulldozed and removed for hazmat disposal can be damned expensive. That's the specter being thrown at the marina owners.
 

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I care about the environment more than laws. When I read this post it seemed obvious to me that cleaning ablative paint is an problem because it leads to MUCH more of the toxins being released than through normal process of the boat hull moving in the water. I did a quick search on the internet and found this document that seems to back this up:

http://dnrweb.dnr.state.md.us/download/cleanmarina/BottomPaint.pdf

It seems that the question of whether or not washing ablative paint is a crime depends on the local jurisdiction and the way it is done. Regardless of the legality, it is bad for the environment to wash ablative paint and not contain the runoff. Don’t do it if you care about the environment!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Many interesting comments in this thread. Thanks to all. Pursuing the specific situation with which I began this thread, the marina in question has no waste water abatement system; pressure-washing is done while the boat is suspended in the TravelLift at the head of the TravelLift's slip, and the water drains into the bay. Compare this to a guy with a bucket of Joy and a sponge 100 feet deep into the yard. While all human endeavor carries an environmental impact greater than zero (consider the potential impact of generating the electricity to manufacture and run a dry sander; yikes!), a balanced, consistent, data-driven approach seems needed for these problems. I don't see that in this situation. Perhaps the missing piece in the situation I've described is that the marina should install an abatement system (something, of course, that customers will ultimately pay for). Or perhaps the impact of ablative bottom paints as currently used is trivial in comparison to other sources such as municipal sewer discharges, and a total ban on copper bottom paints would have no discernible impact on the bay. I don't know, and, after a lot of web-surfing, I'm no smarter.
 

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Once again the solution to pollution is dilution. Small amounts of many toxic substances often cause no harm and, in fact, can in some cases be beneficial to certain lifeforms. That phenomena is called hormesis. It certainly makes sense to monitor all such cleaning operations while perhaps avoiding the broad-brush legislation that lumps all operations into a single one-size fits all law.

A couple of minor errors in the previous posts worth noting. DDT was banned on the fear of it's being a carcinogen risk. In actuality, when tested on rats it has been shown to be an anticarcinogen if anything. The study on eagle's eggs was flawed in that the eagle's calcium intake was also reduced in the original study. One of the researchers in this area, J. Bitman, performed his study again without reducing the calcium in the bird's diets and found no thinning of the egg shells. Science magazine refused to publish the second study vowing that they'd never publish anything favorable to DDT. the results were enventually published in Poultry Science, not exactly the most widely read of scientific journals. A leading proponent of DDT was the late J. Gordon Edwards, professor of entomology as San Jose State University who regularly consumed a spoonful of the substance at the beginning of each year for the enlightenment of his students. He died in 2004 at the age of 85. One might think about these facts when reading about malarial deaths in the third world. Malaria regularly infects 300,000,000 people annually with nearly 2,000,000 dieing each year. The vast majority live in sub-Saharan Africa.

The drilling mud cited as containing heavy metals is most likely bentonite mud. Bentonite is a naturally occuring high-solids clay that is used in oil and gas drilling as well as water well drilling. It is used to keep the bore hole open during rotary drilling operations and also as a grout to prevent transmission of fluids in the well casing annulus. Bentonite is also fed to dairy cattle as a laxative and is also used in humans for the same purpose. Bentonite is used in winemaking and is reputed to be an ingredient in Clearisil acne cream. It's also used in some cosmetics. Bentonite contains no heavy metals. Oh, and 99% of oil and water wells are drilled and/or grouted using bentonite.

While sailors perhaps more than most care about water quality and the environment it would certainly be nice to see some data on areas where removed bottom paint has accumulated, assuming that it does indeed tend to accumulate from hull scrubbing versus dissipating, and what actual environmental effects result. One thing we do know for sure is that recovering it and concentrating it causes the production of a highly concentrated amount of heavy metals that you cannot just dump anywhere. And those new hazardous waste dumps are just popping up everywhere you turn aren't they? But then, like DDT, it's not always necessary for government to have all the facts in place before banning either a substance or a practise. A shrill cry of, "what about the children?" is often sufficient to obviate the scientific process in favor of the politically expedient, "just to be on the safe side". Unless of course, those children are African.
 

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This is pretty interesting since the marina I use for winter haulout requires that they pressure wash the bottom. reguardless what paint is on the boat. It is added onto your bill as part of haul-out and storage. No exception.
 
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