Rising Demand results in more boats than ever on our canals and waterways

According to The Guardian, there are more boats on canals and rivers than in the 18th century due to people opting to live afloat. Rising house prices and restrictions on overseas travel is leading to a surge in popularity for houseboats.

It is reported in March, there were 35,130 people with boat licenses for rivers and canals compared with 34,435 last year and 32,490 in 2012. Canal Trust surveys put the proportion of “liveaboard” at around 25% (a rise from 15% in 2011) nationally, and it believes the majority of boats in London are permanent homes.

Stay vacations are another factor driving demand which is expected to continue throughout 2022. More families are turning to the UKs canals and waterways for their spring and summer vacations. Narrowboats and cruises are nostalgic with images of Rosie & Jim reminding us of our childhood memories. A floating holiday is invigorating and educational full of pleasant surprises. New boat owners are on the increase and specialist hire firms are providing more capacity to meet the demand of first-time mariners.

Boat builders and sellers are reporting record demand, one boat company reported record sales with business up 50% year on year. Boats can be made to order or purchased second hand if you are interested a great place to start is the New and Used Boat Co.

With the increase in demand for more boats and spring fast approaching there is no better time to begin planning important maintenance and prepare your boat new or old for launch.

For more information on the great charitable work being undertaken by the Canal Trust you can read more here or donate.

How to Protect the Hull to reduce corrosion and fouling

The type of substrate and the environment in which your boat is operating will determine the specification that is best suited for your requirements. Avace offers a large range of marine paint products for above and below the waterline including specialist primers, topcoats and antifouling for steel, wood, aluminium and GRP hulls. You can read more about our recommended products here.

Surface preparation

Making sure the surface you are going to coat is properly prepared is important. It ensures better paint adhesion to the surface which will increase the paints durability and prolong the lifespan of the product. Steel ideally should be abrasive blast cleaned to Sa2.5 to remove all rust, corrosion products and loosely adhering paint. If blasting is not practical or economic hand prepare the steel to St2 using hand or power tools. GRP and Aluminium should be degreased and abraded with abrasive paper or disks to roughen the surface. Wood surfaces should be degreased and abraded in the direction of the grain with 180-220 abrasive paper or a power sander. All substrates should be free from oil grease and other contaminants before applying the first primer coat.

Marine Primers

Marine Primer Paints are designed for application onto metal, wood and fiberglass to improve adhesion, prevent corrosion and increase the coverage rates of the subsequent topcoats. Selection of the appropriate primer is critical to the long-term performance of the system. For ease of application air drying systems are often preferred, they can be applied by brush, roller or spray and there are no special mixing requirements associated with two pack products.

Metaclor Antifouling Primer is a strong, versatile, chlorinated rubber-based primer suitable for above and below the waterline. It provides excellent water resistance and adhesion to wood, metals and GRP, it can also be used as a sealer tie coat over any existing antifouling. One coat is sufficient on GRP, on wood it is recommended to apply a first coat thinned 25% prior to applying two full coats. On aluminium and steel two coats are recommended for added corrosion resistance. It is suitable for narrowboats, cruisers, barges, yachts and marine structures.


For increased long term durability, corrosion and abrasion resistance two pack epoxy primers are recommended.  Jotamastic 87 aluminium is ideal for steel hulls above and below the waterline. It can be overcoated with Jotamastic 90 black it is a more durable alternative to bitumen when increased abrasion resistance is required. Jotamastic 90 is also available in a range of colours for topside and superstructure. Jotamastic surface tolerant epoxies are ideal when abrasive blast cleaning is not practical or economic. They can be used to upgrade an existing unknown painted surface to a higher performance system. A wintergrade version is available to enable application in cold temperatures.

For Aluminium and GRP vessels adhesion of the primer coat to the smooth surface is critical. Penguard HB is the ideal primer as it is high build fast drying epoxy with excellent adhesion, abrasion resistance and water resistance. Two coats should be applied for total protection and is suitable for hulls, topsides and superstructure.


Marine Antifouling


Slime, weed, barnacles, worms and other fouling are sailing nemeses. They create drag, slowing you down burning unnecessary fuel. They also reduce manoeuvrability potentially damaging your hull and also cause environmental harm if moved to new habitats. The resultant costs are high, which explains why antifouling is such an important product.

The fouling challenge can vary massively with tiny geographic movements. Even within the same marina, each berth may experience different fouling challenges. With 5 products in our range of Marine antifouling paints, we have a product to suit your boat.

For air-drying systems where Metaclor has been used as the primer and intermediate coat,  Antifouling D Plus is recommended. A high-performance eroding antifouling with 2 coats providing 18-24 months protection in the harshest of fouling environments. It is suitable for boats, yachts, barges and commercial vessels with a maximum cruising speed of 30 knots. It can be used on steel, wood or GRP hulls. For aluminium hulls Antifouling A Plus is recommended, both of these products also perform well as a Boottopping due to their harder film matrix. In fresh and brackish water Protector II is an alternative economic antifouling system, providing 12 months protection.

If more durable two pack epoxy primers and intermediates have been used a tie coat of  Vinyguard Silvergrey should be applied prior to applying Seaforce Antifoulings. Vinyguard may also be used to seal unknown existing painted surfaces and can be used as a primer on wood boats providing excellent water resistance and flexibility.

Seaforce 30M is a one component High Solids hydrolysing self-polishing Antifouling based on ion exchange technology. It is designed for vessels with a wide range of speed and activity.For vessels with long service periods up to 5 years Seaforce 60M is recommended for the long-term protection from fouling.

The part of a ship’s hull that is between the load line and the water line when the ship is not loaded can also be protected to ease the removal of  marine growth and fouling.

Boottopping is the ideal coating for these areas it provides an attractive, scrubbable hard-wearing surface, an easy clean finish which protects against corrosion. It is suitable for wood, GRP, steel and aluminium in the splash zone for yachts and cruisers.

Fishing Boat

In fresh-water environments, fouling is not a major problem, and the ship’s hull can be protected with two pack epoxy paints like Jotamastic 90 or Hull Blacking.

Hull Blacking  is a high-quality bitumen-based coating that can be applied to suitably prepared steel, wood and cast iron. This product provides excellent water and corrosion resistance and doesn’t require any primers or undercoats. It is economic and easy to apply.




Marine Topcoats

Above the waterline on the topsides and superstructure Marine grade topcoats should be applied over suitably primed and clean surfaces. They are available in both air drying and two pack finishes.

For ease of application brushing enamels like Pilot II are recommended. A water-resistant high gloss finish which can be applied by brush, roller or spray. Where more durable two pack epoxies have been used as the primer it is recommended to apply a topcoat of a two-pack polyurethane finish such as Hardtop XP. It has excellent mechanical and chemical resistance and excellent exterior durability. It produces a UV resistant coating and is available in an extensive range of colours and gloss levels.

Once the superstructure is protected you can turn your attention to the deck. Suregrip Anti-slip Deck Paint is a high quality, durable anti-slip deck paint improving safety in both wet and dry conditions. It provides superior grip on wood, GRP, concrete, steel and aluminium surfaces. Available in a range of colours ready mixed with anti-slip aggregate. Wood trim and handrails can be finished with Teamalak high performance varnish as it provides a scratch resistant mirror finish with excellent UV resistance, it also has an easy clean finish that prevents fungal and algae growth.

Teamalak yacht & seaplane varnish is an economic alternative to high performance varnish it is an air-drying varnish which can be easily applied by brush or roller on wood.

AVACE is a leading supplier of marine, protective coatings and decorative paints. Our products are made in the West Midlands for free delivery throughout the UK. We manufacture a range of RAL, NCS and British standard colours here.

Have a question about our range? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our outstanding customer service team at

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