SeaGuard® Heavy Metal Free Antifoulant Offers Environmentally Responsible Alternative For Ship Owners

Sherwin-Williams Protective & Marine Division Offers First Metal-Free Antifouling Hull Coating For Commercial & Military Vessels

CLEVELAND, Ohio (January, 2009) – It’s a problem as old as marine navigation itself.  

Ever since mankind has ventured into the sea on crude rafts and boats, marine organisms such as mollusks, tubeworms, barnacles, seaweed and bacterial slime have “hitched a ride” on the bottoms and hulls of vessels. 

The result: creating drag on vessels, which, in turn reduces a vessel’s speed.  And ever since oceangoing ships stopped relying on wind power and turned to fuels, these “hitchhikers” add to the vessel’s weight and increases fuel consumption, which in turn increases carbon emissions to the atmosphere. 

Taking a vessel into dry dock to physically remove these organisms is a time-consuming, expensive proposition in terms of both cost and service time lost while maintenance is performed.
That’s where antifoulings, developed over a century ago, have come into play.    Traditionally, these coatings utilize heavy metals, such as copper, that act as biocides, helping to prevent the attachment of marine organisms to ship hulls.
But there’s a cost involved –the heavy metals in the coatings leach out, and can, over time, harm marine life.   And as the world grows “greener” every day, Sherwin-Williams Protective & Marine Division saw the opportunity to offer an environmentally responsible alternative for its commercial marine and military marine customers.
Utilizing a patented, metal-free antifouling agent, the company developed SeaGuard® Heavy Metal Free Antifoulant.  EPA-approved and tested on vessels, the new coating provides the same effective antifouling protection as copper-based coatings while helping to protect the environment.  The metal-free biocide has an extremely short hydrolytic half-life, meaning that it breaks down rapidly, and the biodegradable breakdown products will not harm marine organisms.
But SeaGuard Heavy Metal Free Antifoulant goes one step further – because there is no copper used, the coating’s weight is substantially reduced, by up to five pounds per gallon, or 40 percent less weight than traditional copper antifoulings.    This adds to the potential of increased fuel savings and/or increased tonnage in terms of cargo.
SeaGuard Heavy Metal Free also provides a very low VOC level, <340 g/L, lower than traditional antifouling coatings.

Sherwin-Williams Protective & Marine Coatings Division serves North America with a broad line of high-performance coatings, comprehensive technical service and the industry’s largest distribution system.  Relying on more than 140 years of experience in formulating protective coatings, the Division provides cost-effective solutions for applications where extreme corrosion, abrasion and chemical attack are present.

Editor contact, Debbie Pirone, 216-292-4700,