But boaters aren’t exactly lining up to convert. Indeed, Hardaker said at the end of
November, he was aware of only two.
The “voluntary” aspect of conversion could
become moot (even by the time you read
this) if a bill now before the California
Legislature is enacted. Introduced last year,
it sets a January 1, 2015 deadline for copper-containing paints to meet low-leach rates
as determined by the California Dept. of
Pesticide Regulation. (To see a copy of the
bill as amended since the 2011 session,
visit www.BoatUS.com/gov/Copper.asp.) So
if California goes the way of Washington, is
it a matter of time before boaters across the
country are faced with a copper conundrum
in their own states?
“I was very involved in the TBT regulations in 1988, so I’ve been down this road
before,” reports John Ludgate, now president of Pettit Paints but then with Interlux.
“This time, even though Washington and
California have taken actions to restrict it,
I don’t see copper legislation rolling toward
the Eastern Seaboard. As paint companies,
we’re not panicking because we have [non-
40-FOOT BOAT COST COMPARISON (TABLE PROVIDED BY PRACTICAL SAILOR)
copper] products already and obviously the
technology will get better. Right now every
paint company has at least one product
without copper, and over time we’ll all
develop the ‘good, better, best’ products for
non-copper bottom paint.”
But that market is small, Ludgate adds,
only about one percent of the industry’s
sales, because the products are fairly new
and may only appeal to “early adopters and
boaters who are especially sensitive to envi-
ronmental issues.” The most usable replace-
ment these days, according to Ludgate and
others in the industry, is Econea, a phar-
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