BOATERS ARE GETTING MORE environmentally savvy every day, it seems, and the winners of the West Marine “Green Product of the Year” award are further proof that manufacturers recognize a growing “green streak” in
their customers. Two innovative manufacturers
shared the $10,000 prize for the first copper-free, water-based antifouling bottom paint on the
market and a fuel valve that prevents outboard
engine flooding that can occur when using portable tanks that conform to new EPA regulations.
On January 1, 2011, air-quality regulations
required portable-tank manufacturers to meet a
“zero emissions” policy, meaning fuel systems
— tank, hose, primer bulb, engine connections — had to be pressurized, much as modern automotive fuel systems. But a pressurized
system, as opposed to the old “open system”
that let gasoline vapor vent into surrounding air,
could also force unneeded fuel into the engine,
which could lead to engine flooding and wasted
fuel. To solve the problem, Attwood Corporation
designed a valve that goes in the hose, between
tank and primer bulb, to prevent fuel from flowing unless there’s demand from the engine. The
Attwood Fuel Demand Valve is available individually, to splice into an existing hose, or as part of
a complete EPA-compliant assembly. It fits any
brand of tank manufactured to conform to the
regulation and can be installed in the top of a
Winning innovation below the waterline took
the form of CFA Eco, billed as the first copper-free
antifouling paint to combine two organic biocides
with water-based solvents. Instead of copper to
kill marine growth, CFA Eco uses pharmaceuti-cal-grade Econea to control hard growth like barnacles, and Zinc Omadine to retard slime buildup. The result is an ablative antifouling paint,
meaning that as the boat is used, fresh biocide is
released. In addition, innovative resin technology
replaces commonly used chemical solvents in
CFA Eco, giving the paint extremely low VOC —
volatile organic compound — content coupled
with water cleanup and convenience.
West Marine, the nation’s largest boating supplies retailer, announced the winning products in
February at the Miami International Boat Show.
The panel of nine judges included BoatU.S.
President Margaret Podlich. — R.L.