May 28, 2020

Web ConferenceThere’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world. Some of the changes are huge: social distancing, sanitizing and face-masks have become our new norm. Adapting to working from home, and meetings via platforms like Zoom are challenges we’ve accepted and conquered.

As we work through flattening the curve and our societal obligations, many of us in the boating world have been able to take advantage of learning opportunities, professional upgrading. Many associations, organizations and companies have filled some of our ‘stay at home’ time with webinars and courses that enable us to take part in boating from a new angle.

I took part in a seminar hosted by Interlux at the end of April. The attendees joined from all over North America, and the host was a product expert from Interlux’s head office. The seminar was in a question/answer format – with some questions asked prior to the Zoom meeting, and others asked live as new topics or terms were introduced.

I’ve enjoyed using Interlux products for a number of years: VC17 and Micron bottom-paints. Interprotect 2000E barrier coat, and Brightside topside paints are my go-to. I love Awlgrip for a high-end hull and deck finish.

Terms and Tipsa coverage chart found on the Interlux website

Despite feeling comfortable with Interlux products, I learned a lot. And I noticed a number of trends amongst the attendees:

1) Each of us seemed to have the same types of questions. This tells me that it was high time for an information session. We all get comfortable using certain go-to products – but I learned quickly in this webinar that each coating manufacturer has similar products. These product offerings differ from each other for specific purposes and applications. Product knowledge is key – and I discovered a number of online resources and material data sheets to aid in choosing the right product for the right job. is the place to go.

2) ‘How’ is just as important as ‘Which”. It’s not just which product is chosen, but how it is prepped and applied. A number of questions were asked about the ideal surface temperature, and how and when to prime surfaces before applying the surface coat. A bit of time was devoted to how to apply: brush, roller or spray application, and how and when to apply second (or third) coats.

(To simplify a long discussion: priming with the right product is important, and the magic number is 5 degrees Celsius. Rolling and tipping is recommended and the second coat can go on when the first coat is ‘thumbprint tacky’).

Interlux Polyurethanean example of a high-end boat finish

3) We’re all looking for the next best product – not simply because of innovation or because we seek the newest and coolest thing; rather, we’re all hoping that the manufacturer has identified consumer needs and have made their products easier, safer and cleaner.

The great new is: Interlux is listening. Their ‘no sand’ system is designed to simply the process to painting a brand new hull bottom, and their online resources are designed to simplify everything from how to calculate coverage, to the correct product selection.

4) Antifouling paint is a mystical science. Which one to choose? When to apply? What is the coverage? Why are there so many options?

There were 22 professionals in the webinar and more than half of the allotted time was devoted to bottom paint. All the specific questions were answered quite well, and the most valuable take-away was this: it may seem like a mystical science, but the information is readily available in material data sheets as well as through the online resources at

Many of us have spent a number of months working hard to look at the COVID-19 pandemic with a ‘glass is half full’ attitude. Many of us have struggled with this. But – this webinar was one of a number of opportunities that I may have missed out on had the 2020 boating season been typical. I’m glad I had the chance to learn more and to apply that knowledge moving forward.

Hopefully you’re able to take the time to find similar resources and explore the many dimensions of boating.

Take care and stay safe.

Andrew McDonald is the owner of Lakeside Marine Services – a boat repair/maintenance firm based in Toronto. Andrew has worked in the marine industry for 12 years and is a graduate of the Georgian College ‘Mechanical Techniques - Marine Engine Mechanic’ program.

Questions or comments for Andrew? Email him directly via: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.