How often should I antifoul my boat?

Mike McKiernan
Posted September 9 2015

At Ryan Short Marine people frequently ask us, "how often should I antifoul my boat?"

To ensure a boat is well looked after the answer is approximately every 9-15 months, depending on how frequently the boat is used, where it lives and the harshness of that environment.

However it seems there is still that minority out there who push the boundaries in an attempt to save a few pennies. But in fact, that’s not that case.

What we are seeing more and more often are customers who bring their boat in to be antifouled 18-24 months later and commonly find more issues with the boat, which is costing them more money in the long run.

When a boat owner has pushed the limits regarding booking their vessel in for a clean, antifoul and anode replacement, here are some of the issues that we commonly find:

Fiberglass Damage

Excessive growth becomes difficult to remove once the barnacles have stuck to the fiberglass underneath the antifoul.


Sacrificial anodes play a crucial role in avoiding corrosion to all propellers, shafts, stern drives, trim tabs and rudders. If these are not replaced annually the risk of corrosion to the running gear is greatly heightened.

Engine Overheating

Raw water intake blockage is one of the most common contributors to an engine overheating. This can be avoided by the clean out and re-antifouling of all intakes and skin fittings. This is all included in the process when a boat is antifouled.

Fuel Consumption

As the growth underneath the hull continues to build up, so does your fuel consumption. It causes increased drag, and in turn, the boat travels much slower because it requires more engine power. There have been cases where excessive growth has been responsible for fuel efficiency dropping by 50%.

All of the above issues are frequently seen when antifouling is left too long after being due – they are costly and can be avoided with a little TLC and monitored maintenance.

At Ryan Short Marine, we understand that boating is a leisure activity and it is easy to get caught up in a busy schedule. This is why we make sure each and every customer is reminded of when they are due for antifouling by placing a Ryan Short Marine service sticker in a visible position on board all boats serviced. We also make a friendly phone call or reminder email to ensure that your boat is not forgotten.

More often than not, delaying antifouling will NOT save you money. In fact, it will actually cost you more in the long run! So go on, give your boat the care it deserves.

4 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Mike McKiernan


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