Marketed since 2016, the adhesive antifouling film is, according to its manufacturers, “an innovative and non-polluting alternative” to the traditional paints used to protect the hulls of boats. It does not contain any biocide and prevents marine organisms from clinging to the hull.
On the docking area of Port-la-Forêt, in Finistère, a boater attentively observes the installation of a protective film on the hull of a boat. The process is intriguing and is rather unusual because, usually, it is with the help of an antifouling paint that the operation is carried out. Paints which, if they prevent algae and other mollusks from attaching to the shell and damaging it, are not ecological since they contain biocides.
Two companies have pooled their expertise to manufacture this anti-fouling film: on the one hand, Mactac, world leader in self-adhesive signage. On the other, PPG, supplier of high-tech paints and coatings for the maritime industry. “It took ten years of research to arrive at a product that performs well over time, notes Hélène Gobry, project manager at Mactac. In Europe, there are already two hundred boats using this new antifouling and a few in Australia “.
Marketed since 2016, this anti-fouling film is intended “an innovative and non-polluting alternative” traditional antifouling treatments. Jean-Luc, who owns a five-meter sailboat, listens with interest to the explanations given that day in Port-la-Forêt. Whether at sea or on land, man says to himself “very interested in environmental issues. Every year, he explains, I have to use antifouling paint to protect the hull of my boat. And it’s a shame to have to use products that pollute the water. So I documented myself here and there to find out if there were cleaner solutions and I heard about this film “.
Félix Gheerbrant, who distributes this adhesive antifouling, recognizes that “boating lags behind ecology” “Only the legislation will be able to help, by prohibiting the paints which are not very respectful of the environment, he said. Especially since the demand from boaters is increasing. They want less harmful products “.
“5 year lifespan”
The film developed by Mactac and PPG has, according to Hélène Gobry, “a lifespan of five years” and adapts to all types of boats, motor and sail. “It has a mechanical action, indicates Félix Gheerbrant. Marine organisms cannot cling to the surface of the boat, which also prevents them from being transplanted from one port to another around the world. And then, the action on human health is not negligible either, in particular on shipyards where exposure to biocides contained in conventional antifouling paints remains very toxic “.
This presentation of the adhesive antifouling film in Port-la-Forêt was not by chance since, for two years, this port in southern Finistère has benefited from a double certification: “clean port” and “active port in biodiversity” . “We are open to all alternatives that go in the direction of the environment, underlines Frédéric Boccou, the director of the port. Since 2005, we have set up specific fairing areas where all the particles resulting from the cleaning of the hulls are recovered. They are then treated so that the fairing water is clean before being discharged. We also want to make Port-la-Forêt an experimental site for start-ups working on these environmental aspects. Reducing the use of antifouling paints which degrade the environment, we see that rather favorably “.