Yacht Painting: Protecting Your Investment

Quality maintenance is an important element that will impact the life span of any vessel. Yacht owners must consider protecting their investment as much as possible and one way to increase longevity is by using high-performance coatings. 

That’s why we’re going to provide a  rundown of some of the most essential yacht coatings and we’ll also discuss why they are so important. 


Antifouling is arguably the most important protective coating applied to a yacht or vessel. It is the process of protecting the hull of your boat from marine growth by applying a protective paint layer. Antifouling paint is not standard paint; in fact, it has very few similarities. What sets antifoul above your standard household paint is a chemical combination that includes copper and biocides. This protects your boat from barnacles, algae and marine organisms. The growth of marine algae can significantly affect the performance of your hull and your fuel efficiency.

How often you apply antifoul to the bottom of your boat depends on its usage and storage. If your vessel stays in the water then it should be checked at least every year, and for those that live ashore every other year should suffice. When the time comes to apply antifouling paint, the number of coats will be determined by the condition of the hull. If your vessel is well maintained, the likelihood is that it will only require one coat, whereas if it has been some time since the hull’s last antifoul then two coats may be needed.

Antifouling is a messy job and most boat owners will use marine maintenance professionals to take on the work. If you decide to take on the challenge yourself then you will need to find a suitable shipyard. It’s also important that you have the correct protective equipment and purchase quality antifouling paint from a company such as Seahawk, who leads the way when it comes to coatings. 

If you decide to outsource the job of applying antifouling your vessel, be sure to contact Bridgeport Boatworks. We can provide the expert advice and services necessary for successful maintenance and repair. Applying antifouling paint correctly is vital to preserving your yacht’s lifespan and performance. At Bridgeport, we have years of experience in the industry, which means you can be safe in the knowledge you’re leaving your vessel in the best possible hands.

Fillers & Undercoats

Fillers are designed to fill in any pits or imperfections on the surface. This is an important part of the painting process and ensures the hull offers the least resistance to movement through the water. It’s likely that at some point you will fill damaged areas that need to be attended to in order to create a strong bond for the undercoat to be applied. 

There are many different fillers on the market today from brands including AWL FAIR and West System, with epoxy fillers being the most popular option. Epoxy-based fillers are set harder than standard acrylic, and water-based fillers, which makes them more durable. They can also offer more flexibility than other fillers when fully cured. Epoxy fillers are hard and stable enough that, when cured, they can take sanding and drilling.

The more work put into the preparation of the surface, the better the yacht paint finish will be. An undercoat provides a cover for any minor imperfections and creates a smooth, even-colored surface ready for the application of the topcoat. An undercoat also helps to lighten a surface when changing from a dark to a pale color. 


Enamel protects the surface from ultraviolet rays and weather and provides an excellent aesthetical effect. Enamel paints can be applied to virtually any surface — wood, fiberglass, or metal — provided that proper preparation has been carried out. Enamel offers protection as well as a fantastic finish and can be found in a wide range of colors.

Under harsh marine conditions like sun, salt, and varying temperatures, and depending on the latitude and climate good-quality enamel paint can be expected to hold up for three to five years. It’s important to take this into consideration when choosing your enamel as a lower-quality product may be cheaper, but you will likely need to reapply it more regularly. Enamel paints are by far the easiest of all common marine paints to apply as they flow easily and are often thick enough to fill in small surface imperfections.

Although many yacht owners decide to take on the job of applying enamel themselves, there is a wide range of professionals who specialize in yacht painting. At Bridgeport Boatworks, we offer professional yacht painting services. Explore our list of services or, for any more advice, feel free to contact us today.


Varnish is a finish and protecting film that is typically associated with wood but can be used on other materials too. While having many of the same qualities as paint, namely protection and aesthetics, unlike paint varnish it will penetrate the wood and form a protective film over the surface. Yacht varnish was originally designed for use on boats where the main purpose was to stop water from seeping into the wood.

As the wood on yachts flexes and strains due to movement caused by the sea, the varnish used must be flexible otherwise it will crack and allow water to penetrate. Yacht varnish also provides much-needed protection from the elements. While preservation is one of the main reasons yacht owners apply varnish, it also provides a very appealing finish. 

Application to wood requires a good-quality, soft-bristle brush. The surface must be completely dry and free from grease, oil, and wax. It then needs to be rubbed down with fine abrasive paper so that the surface is smooth and uniform, then any dust should be removed. Most marine varnishes typically last for at least two years, but there are options that have a minimum of three years before they begin showing signs of damage. There are many different brands that produce quality yacht varnishes, such as Epifanes and Total Boat.

If you want to outsource the task of coating your yacht to a professional, look no further than Bridgeport Boatworks. Contact us today to find out how we can help.