Q1: What Type of Antifouling is Suitable?
There are a few different types and qualities of antifoul and basically it all comes down to what type of vessel you have. For example, aluminum vessels need a special paint that has no copper present in it as it reacts with the aluminum and causes terrible corrosive damage.
Hard antifouls are generally used on very fast moving vessels that would otherwise wash off an ablative antifoul. Hard antifouls are also good to use on running gear.
Ablative antifoul is now the most common of antifouls used as it provides the best performance by always cleaning its top layer thereby leaving fresh antifoul to fight off seascum. There are different qualities of this paint as each company uses different boicides and copper content. If applied properly even the less-expensive paint will last up to 15 months whereas the higher quality paints will last up to (and sometimes beyond) 24 months.
Typically we recommend an ablative antifouling over the hard types. As most boats tend to spend a significant portion of the year on their mooring or in their pen and not moving through the water, we observe that ablative antifouling with its slow but continual release of copper and biocide, does a better job of delaying the onset of growth for boats that are perhaps only used once a month, or less.
Q2: What kind of Polishing is Recommended?
Machine polishing is highly recommended to protect your boat from the salt and sun by introducing a wax layer to the surface. Newer boats will retain their gloss much longer with regular polishing. They will stay looking new and help add value upon re-sale against a similar boat that has not been machine polished.
Older boats are more difficult to bring a shine to, though with an acid wash and a good machine buff, you will certainly notice the difference even if you don’t achieve the “as new” shine. For older boats it is a longer process and the machine buffing provides a good platform to build upon; the more you polish during your regular maintenance days, the better she will become.