RYA encourages boat owners to participate in antifouling survey

To gain a better understanding on the current use of antifouling paints by recreational boaters

The RYA is working with the British Coatings Federation (BCF) to help better understand the current use of antifouling paints by recreational boaters and is inviting boat owners to take part in the antifouling survey.  

A number of surveys have been launched by the BCF which aim to determine current antifouling practices, user awareness of the potential hazards of antifouling paint and whether appropriate Personal Protective Equipment is used.  

“We are encouraging as many members as possible to take part in the survey to ensure we get a broad understanding of how antifouling is used by our members and recreational boaters in general,” commented Emma Barton, RYA Planning & Environmental Manager.   

“We have received a number of enquiries from concerned members following the release of this survey but our message is that this survey has not been prompted by a specific proposal to regulate or prohibit use of antifouling paints; it is merely intended to inform the debate.  We know that the majority of boat owners use these products in a responsible way, and this survey will help us demonstrate that.”  

Important role

Antifouling paint has an important role to play in combatting the spread of invasive non-native species and other harmful organisms but, by its very nature, antifouling can also pose a risk to humans and to the environment. The use of biocides like antifouling are therefore closely regulated under EU law.  

In 2012, EU regulations came into force covering some of the biocide substances used in a number of products, including antifouling paint.  As part of this, the list of substances covered by the regulation is kept under review.  The evidence collected by the survey will enable the RYA and the BCF to influence this process more effectively.   

Information gathered from the surveys will be shared with the RYA and will form the basis for a report from the BCF, providing an overall picture of the application of antifouling paints in the UK.  It will provide an indication of any possible impact on antifouling paint sales, boat maintenance costs and leisure boat ownership, should any restrictions be put in place in the future.  The results will also enable us to understand how any possible regulation could affect our efforts to combat the threat of invasive non-native species in the future.  

Fantastic response so far

So far, the boat owners’ survey has had a fantastic response with over 800 submissions, indicating the level of interest regarding this issue from the recreational boating sector in general.  This week, three further surveys have been launched aimed at the industry’s use of antifouling paint.  

Please complete the relevant survey by 30 November 2015:

Advice on antifouling.