OXNARD—Speakers from the University of California’s Sea Grant Extension Program and Cooperative Extension Program, along with a representative from the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, held a free workshop to investigate tactics for addressing anti-fouling concerns at the Channel Islands Boating Center June 7.
The seminar, titled “Eco-Friendly Fouling Control for Your Boat,” provided a platform for recreational boaters to gain knowledge of regulatory restrictions of copper anti-fouling paint on hulls and the effects invasive fouling organisms have in relation to the process.
To help boat owners address the policies when planning boating activities against fouling control programs, Leigh Taylor Johnson of the University of California Cooperative Extension Program and Carolynn Culver of the University of California Sea Grant Extension Program outlined practical steps from prior research on vessels throughout Southern California.
Introducing the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for boats, they drew on procedures used in the past to control pests in agriculture, landscaping and buildings.
The speakers also discussed the progression of the IPM for boaters’ pyramid, which ascends in order from cultural, mechanical/physical, biological and chemical tactics.
“A physical tactic would be changing for the physical environment,” Johnson said. “For example, in other parts of the country they have what they call boat barns where the boats are stored in these big racks. Smaller boats can be put on a trailer, so that way you are basically creating drying which is a change in physical factors.”
Other tactics include cleaning the hull frequently and in a gentle manner. Johnson said, boats in the areas between Santa Barbara and San Diego are cleaned on average once a month.
“The value of cleaning frequently is you remove the growth before it hardens down and becomes more mature,” she said.
More than 2,000 boat owners in the Shelter Island Yacht Basin in San Diego have already been subjected to a regulatory program, which requires boaters to reduce copper discharged from boat bottom paints by 75 percent over 15 years.
Similarly, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board has requested a new regulatory program be approved. Restrictions will require more than 4,500 boat owners in Marina del Rey to reduce copper discharged from boat bottom paints by 85 percent over 10 years.
Summarizing research conducted over a 12-month period, Johnson said within three months invasive species were discovered on a copper-coated test panel and, by month 12, native species had dominated the panel. She also discovered, through interviews with marina owners, half of all boats rarely leave their home marina. With the test panels being stationary, the similarities between motionless hulls are important to note.
“You need to think about how you’re going to balance the need for boat operation, cost effectiveness, water quality, and invasive species,” Johnson said. “It’s really important for boat owners to understand the different tactics they can use and put them together in a strategy that’s going to suit their situation.”