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'PREPPING' YOUR BOAT FOR SUMMER WATERS? FOUR STEPS TO PERFECT BOTTOM PAINTING

 'PREPPING' YOUR BOAT FOR SUMMER WATERS?
 FOUR STEPS TO PERFECT BOTTOM PAINTING
 ROCKAWAY, N.J., March 10 /PRNewswire/ -- You'll soon be enjoying another summer of boating -- but before the fun can begin, there's work to be done. And of all the chores awaiting you, none is more critical than bottom painting.
 A quality bottom paint protects the hull against marine growth and fouling -- algae, barnacles, etc. which cause drag and waste fuel.
 And the most critical step in bottom painting is proper surface preparation. "It's arduous and time-consuming," says Jim McCarthy, technical director of Pettit Paint Co., a leading manufacturer of marine paints and finishes. "But paint adhesion failure can be directly traced to improper surface preparation."
 McCarthy recommends a four-step application procedure:
 1. Clean/dewax. Every boat with a bare fiberglass bottom will have some contamination (mold, oil, etc.) which will affect adhesion. The bottom should be wiped down thoroughly with a fiberglass dewaxer or a brushing thinner. Be sure, he warns, to cover every inch of the surface; contamination is typically not visible to the eye. Be careful when applying; dewaxer won't hurt gelcoat, but it will affect painted top sides.
 2. Sand. Never sand without dewaxing first. If you do, the sanding will imbed the contaminants into the sanding scratches, making them virtually impossible to remove. Using 80 or 100 grit sandpaper, sand the entire bottom until the gelcoat is a frosty, dull surface. If you don't do a thorough job, the paint will not bond to the gelcoat; a blistering or peeling of the antifouling paint will occur sometime during the season.
 Note: Do not sand if you have an anti-blister warranty. Apply a sandless primer after dewaxing, and let dry for one to four hours before applying paint.
 3. Clean/dewax. A second dewaxing is additional insurance against any contaminants the first dewaxing may have missed. And it will remove the dust generated from sanding.
 4. Paint. Be sure to choose the correct paint for the waters you'll be frequenting. For example, McCarthy points out that warm tropical waters with intensive fouling require a paint with a higher level of cuprous oxide. Stir thoroughly before and during painting because cuprous oxide settles. Never thin more than 10 percent. Thinning reduces the thickness of the paint film and reduces anti-fouling longevity. Use a brush or roller that is lint-free, and apply the paint at an ambient temperature of 50 degrees or higher. Since copper leaches out of the paint while in the water, two coats are better than one, advises McCarthy, especially for boats in areas with long boating seasons. And always follow the manufacturer's directions.
 Boats with pre-painted bottoms require a different procedure.
 1. Power wash at end of season to remove slime.
 2. Not all paints are compatible. Test the new paint in a small area. The paint will bubble or crack if it is not compatible, in which case you'll have to remove the old paint by sanding or scraping. Even if the paints are compatible, the existing coat should be lightly sanded to remove peeling or bubbles.
 3. After sanding, wipe down with a dewaxer to remove dust and contaminants.
 4. Apply paint according to the manufacturer's directions. Remember to keep a record of the type of paint used.
 Good surface preparation can assure proper adhesion of antifouling bottom paint, McCarthy emphasizes. "With some extra time and attention, you can extend your boating season and your boat's useful life by keeping the bottom of your boat growth-free."
 For a free booklet on care and maintenance of all boat surfaces, write to: Jim McCarthy, technical director, Pettit Paint Co., Inc., 36 Pine St., Rockaway, N.J. 07866.
 -0- 3/10/92
 /CONTACT: Jim McCarthy of Pettit Paint Co., 201-625-3100; or Steve Cardone of Potter Hazlehurst, 401-885-4300, for Pettit Paint/ CO: Pettit Paint Co., Inc. ST: New Jersey IN: LEI MAR SU:


SM -- NYLFNS6 -- 6677 03/10/92 07:16 EST
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Date:Mar 10, 1992
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