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Requirements for Applying Antifouling Paints

Antifouling paints are pesticide products used on vessel hulls, boat bottoms, structures and other marine surfaces to inhibit the growth of aquatic organisms such as barnacles and algae. Because they are pesticides, antifouling paint products must be registered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Antifouling paints are further categorized as Restricted Use or General Use pesticides.

Restricted Use antifouling paints contain ingredients such as tributyltin (TBT), can be purchased only by a Certified Commercial Pesticide Applicator, and can be applied only by a Certified Commercial Pesticide Applicator or a Commercial Pesticide Technician working under the Commercial Applicator's direct supervision. General Use antifouling paints are less toxic than those containing TBT and, if allowed by the marina, can be purchased and applied by an individual boat owner. Strict adherence to the pesticide label directions while applying antifouling paints greatly reduces the potential for harming the surrounding aquatic environment.

Certified Commercial Pesticide Applicators and Marina Owners/Operators

Marina owners/operators who apply General Use or Restricted Use antifouling paints as a service to boat owners must register as an aquatic antifouling paint application business with the Department. They must also employ or contract with another registered business that employs at least one Certified Commercial Pesticide Applicator or Commercial Pesticide Technician licensed in subcategory 5D - Aquatic Antifouling Paints, or an Aquatic Antifouling Paint Applicator.

As required in 6 NYCRR 325.7, the Certified Commercial Applicator must provide direct supervision of pesticide technicians who are employed by the marina and apply antifouling paints. The Certified Commercial Applicator must keep daily application records that include specific information on each antifouling paint application, and must also report these commercial applications on their annual use report, as required under the Pesticide Reporting Law, by February 1 of each year. To make this annual reporting requirement easier, marinas may report the daily total of each antifouling paint product applied at the marina address location.

Marinas that sell Restricted Use antifouling paints to Certified Commercial Applicators for end use, or to other Commercial Permit holders for resale, must also be registered by the Department as a Commercial Permittee.

Boat Owners Who Apply Antifouling Paint on Marina Property

Boat owners who are not Commercial Pesticide Applicators Certified in subcategory 5D may use antifouling paints on marina property only if all of the following conditions are met:

  • the boat owner uses antifouling paints that are General Use pesticides and follows all pesticide label directions; and
  • the boat owner personally owns or leases the boat being painted; and
  • the boat owner has an agreement for boat storage at the marina and has written permission from the marina owner/operator to paint their boat on marina property or a specific clause in their contract, lease, or other form of written agreement for boat storage at the marina that allows this activity.

Boat owners should discuss applying antifouling paints to their boat with the marina owner/operator before they begin painting, and become familiar with the marina's policies and/or restrictions regarding this maintenance activity. Boat owners should be aware that they are subject to enforcement by the Department if they violate the relevant sections of the Environmental Conservation Law and related regulations if the antifouling paint is not applied in accordance with the pesticide label or if any wastes are disposed of improperly.

Spill Prevention, Cleanup, and Waste Disposal

Certified Commercial Pesticide Applicators and Technicians, Aquatic Antifouling Paint Applicators, and boat owners who apply antifouling paints must follow label directions, and are responsible for preventing environmental contamination. The marina's boat painting areas should be located away from the water's edge and in a location that is not susceptible to runoff. Marina owners/operators should monitor their painting activities, and those of boat owners on marina property, to ensure that paint chips, paint spills and other wastes from boat painting activities are collected and prevented from contaminating the surrounding area and waters, and are disposed of properly.

Boat owners and marina owners/operators should be aware that they are subject to enforcement action by the Department if they violate the relevant sections of the Environmental Conservation Law and related regulations, if they do not apply antifouling paint in accordance with the pesticide label, or if they dispose of any wastes improperly. Furthermore, the cleanup of any wastes and/or contamination that result from a boat owner's pesticide application activities, if not properly handled by the boat owner, could ultimately become the responsibility of the marina owner and/or operator.

If you have any questions about applying antifouling paints, or any other pesticide regulation, contact your Department of Environmental Conservation Regional office.

For additional information on pollution prevention for marinas please visit the DEC's Pollution Prevention Unit's page to access the Environmental Compliance, Pollution Prevention and Self-Assessment Guide for the Marina Industry (PDF, 710KB). Note that the above information supersedes the information contained in pages 49-51 of this guide.