Marine coating

marine coating

Marine coatings on land and sea

Marine coating applications can take place during ship building or as maintenance on sea or on dry dock. On sea applications are often minor changes on or reparation of the topside coating. Bigger maintenance jobs and antifouling applications must take place on dry dock, which makes also the hull accessible. The downside of dry dock applications is that the vessel is out of service until the paint job is ready. Therefore, it is crucial and thus cost efficient to choose for the best quality products and certified applicators.


Marine coating solutions for all shapes and sizes 

The term marine coating covers coatings for all sizes of ships and boats. The marine coatings can be divided into those designed for consumer market yacht paint; and those for applications on cruising ships, tankers and tugboats.

Moreover, there are two groups of marine coating solutions: coatings for topside (including ship decks), above the waterline and antifouling paints for the bottom (under water). Antifouling coatings are developed mainly for protecting the ship bottoms from microorganisms which might hinder the performance of the ship. The deck and topside coatings for their part protect from various hazards and increase safety on board.

Marine coatings in the UK

In the UK, there are many shipbuilders and ship yards which use marine coatings. The marine coating solutions have several requirements of which the most important is long term cost efficiency. Applying marine coatings on drydock is usually a costly process which also requires time and leads to the vessel being “out of service” for a while. Therefore, it is important to choose for the most durable marine coating with necessary properties for the sea or sweet water environment. Next to cost efficiency, environmentally friendliness is an ever-growing trend. This is not only due to increased awareness but also due to regulations such as the EU set REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) and BPR (Biocidal Product Regulation). These limit the amount of harmful substances in the marine coating systems. The changes in regulations also encourage development of new, more sustainable and performance increasing marine coatings.

The marine coatings market includes several large manufacturers whose products are also available in the UK. The large businesses are the leaders on the marine coatings market and they provide coatings for new build, drydock and on sea applications.

  • PPG (such as the Sigma marine paint coating)
  • Akzo Nobel (International marine paints)
  • Jotun (for example Jotamastic and Jotaguard products)
  • Brunel Marine Coating Systems (Envirogrip)

The cherry on top – topside coating

marine coatings

Marine coatings protect vessels from harsh environments.

Topside marine coatings are systems for the parts of the ship that are above the waterline. The topsides must endure all kinds of weather conditions and occasional exposure to sea water. The marine coating system must endure the rainy weather in the UK and the warm and dry weather in the African seas.

The most important characteristics of marine coating include: corrosion resistance, UV protection, gloss and colour retention as well as overall durability whatever the weather.

Nevertheless, the ship paint also has a decorative function. The topside is the part of the ship which is visible. Therefore, for example, cruise ships present the company logo on the topside. The coating must thus be aesthetically appropriate and possible to paint over.


Marine deck coatings – anti slip systems and other safety paints

Also ship decks must endure different weather conditions and resist UV radiation. Additionally, the decks must be able to withstand high mechanical loads depending on the type of ship. Therefore the ship deck coatings are usually two component epoxy or latex systems which provide a strong, abrasion resistant surface. However, the ships must also be safe for passengers and employees. The marine decks are often wet and therefore, slippery. Slipping and tripping on the decks may lead to injuries; which could however be prevented by creating an anti slip surface. On a ship deck anti slip systems are in their element; they make the surface rougher and thus reduce the risk of injuries while not compromising on the other essential properties of the deck paint.

Another safety coating system applicable on ships is fire retardant paint. In case of fire, it insulates structures and surfaces from the heat and provides extra time for evacuation. These coatings are available for wood, concrete and steel among other materials.


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