How Do I Choose the Best Marine Enamel Paint?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 23 February 2020
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In order for you to choose the best marine enamel, you will need to examine the paint container and check for certain ingredients. Some types of marine enamel contain trace elements that prevent the buildup of barnacles on the hull of the boat. These elements are not legal in all areas due to the harm they impose on certain forms of marine life. While you want to use a quality marine enamel, you do not want to break the law or harm the marine life. You should always choose an enamel made to resist the ultraviolet (UV) rays that are so prevalent on the water, as well as a paint that will survive contact with saltwater if you operate your boat in such an area.

Most marine enamel is formulated to resist fading and crazing caused by constant contact with the water. Made to adhere to wood, aluminum and most metals and composites, marine enamel allows the boat to flex and will not crack or peel, provided it is applied according to label directions. The best marine enamel is manufactured from the best ingredients and is typically higher in cost than a comparable non-marine type of enamel. The best marine enamel contains high levels of ultra-violet (UV) protection to keep the paint from fading.


Unlike the enamel used to paint furniture or automobiles, the marine blend has a much harder finish and resists chipping and cracking from everyday use of the boat. The manufacturer's recommendations for surface preparation and the proper primer must precede the application of the enamel in order for the paint to provide maximum protection. The best enamels are not water-based and will offer a superb, long-lasting shine if applied as directed. You may also wish to choose an enamel that can be applied by brush, roller or sprayer.

The best enamel for a marine application will also serve as a rust preventative when used on a metal boat, and as an anti-corrosive agent when used on an aluminum vessel. You should avoid enamels that boast single-coat coverage, as the best marine enamels are intended to be applied in several very thin coats. The better enamels are often designed to function as an epoxy, with a specific type of primer used to adhere the paint permanently to the boat's hull. You can also check with your boat's manufacturer about which type of enamel is recommended in the event touch-ups are needed.


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Is it possible to use autobase paint for a fiber glass boat?

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