How Long Can a Boat Without Bottom Paint Stay in Water?

It’s essential to keep your boat in good condition and free from slime, barnacles, and other sea and lake creatures. Bottom paint is an excellent way to prevent these creatures from latching on, yet it can be an effort to paint a boat. But how long can a boat without bottom paint stay in the water?

A boat without bottom paint can stay in the water for approximately three days before it begins to attract barnacles, slime, and algae. Bottom paint isn’t necessary if you take it out of the water after every use. The longer you leave your boat in the water, the harder it’ll be to remove the growth.

The rest of this article will discuss this in greater detail. It’ll also discuss whether saltwater and freshwater have different bottom paint requirements, how often you’d bottom paint your boat, and if bottom paint affects speed.

How Long Can a Boat Without Bottom Paint Stay in Water?

Can You Leave a Boat in Water Every Day Without Bottom Paint?

You shouldn’t leave a boat in water every day without bottom paint because it’ll eventually begin to grow algae and barnacles. Generally, you can leave a boat without bottom paint in fresh water for slightly longer than salt water because there’s less growth.

However, if you leave a boat without bottom paint (aka “anti fouling bottom paint”) in any water for an extended period, it’ll always begin growing unwanted things. 

Barnacles are a common problem on boat hulls. Naturally, barnacles will search for a place to call home, and once they find it, they latch onto it. Boat hulls are the perfect spot for them to call home, so bottom paint helps prevent this from happening. Barnacles are primarily found in salt water, not fresh water.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the difference between saltwater and freshwater when it comes to bottom paint.

Can You Leave a Boat in Water Every Day Without Bottom Paint?

Leaving a Boat in Saltwater

Things will grow easier and quicker in salt water, so you’d bottom paint your boat if you plan on leaving it in the water for more than a few days. If you’re unsure whether the water is salt water or not, there are some ways to find out.

The primary way is to think about where the water is. If it’s in a marine environment, it’s salt water. This includes oceans, seas, coral reefs, and even rivers that are near the ocean. Since the growth is quick in saltwater, you’d want to use strong bottom paint. 

An example would be TotalBoat JD Bottom Paint, available on Amazon. This bottom paint is made for marine boats and keeps slime and barnacles away from your boat for the whole season, so it’s an excellent choice overall.

Leaving a Boat in Freshwater

One of the primary differences between freshwater and saltwater is, of course, salt levels. An example of freshwater would be a lake. Luckily, you can keep your boat in freshwater a bit longer than saltwater.

In freshwater, you can leave a boat without bottom paint for approximately a week. However, some growth may begin before the week is up, so you should be cautious. It’s always best to remove your boat every few days if it doesn’t have bottom paint. 

You can use the same type of bottom paint for freshwater as you’d for saltwater. 

Is Bottom Paint on a Boat Necessary?

Bottom paint on a boat isn’t necessary, but it’s best to use it if you want to keep your boat in the water for more than a few days. It can be challenging to clean if you leave a boat for too long in the water without bottom paint. All the algae and barnacle growth can also damage your boat.

Is Bottom Paint on a Boat Necessary?

How To Care for a Boat Without Bottom Paint

While bottom paint isn’t necessary, it’s important to care for your boat if it doesn’t have any. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Keep your boat out of the water as much as possible. This should be your primary objective to prevent the growth of sea creatures.
  • Spray your boat down every time you remove it from the water. This further ensures there won’t be any unwanted growth on the bottom of your boat. 
  • Power wash the bottom to remove any growth as soon as possible. If you leave your boat in the water for slightly too long, be sure to address growth immediately.

How Long Can a Boat With Bottom Paint Stay in Water?

A boat with bottom paint can stay in the water for a few weeks, but no longer than a month if you want to prevent any growth. However, leaving it longer only allows small levels of growth, so you can potentially leave it in longer. 

Applying Bottom Paint To a Boat

How often you need to bottom paint your boat will depend on the paint you use and how often you keep the boat in the water.

Generally, you’ll need to apply bottom paint once every 1-2 years. However, you may need to apply it more than once a year if you keep it in the water all the time. 

To apply the paint, you’ll need to ensure the bottom of the boat is completely dry and clean. You may need to apply more than one layer, so keep that in mind. Once you’ve applied it, you’d let it fully dry before putting it back in the water.

Does Bottom Paint Affect a Boat’s Speed?

Bottom paint doesn’t affect a boat’s speed if applied smoothly. There may be a slight loss of speed, but it will be negligible. If you don’t use bottom paint and things begin to grow on the hull, you’ll notice a more significant decrease in speed.

So, although bottom paint may slow your boat down by a tiny amount, creatures growing on the hull will slow it down much more. 

Check out this video for the Do’s & Don’ts of boat bottom paint.

Conclusion

A boat without bottom paint can last approximately three days in the water before it begins to grow algae and barnacles, whereas a boat with bottom paint can last a few weeks. So, it’s best to use bottom paint if you plan on keeping your boat in the water for an extended period.

Keep in mind, if you leave your boat in the water too long (with or without bottom paint), it’ll eventually grow sea creatures, and it may get damaged. Not to mention, the longer you leave it, the longer it’ll take to clean everything off.

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