Editorial: Goodbye (for Now) to Copper Boat Paint Ban Legislation

At last, some good news for boat owners: A California Senate bill that would have eventually banned the use of copper-based hull paints on recreational boats statewide has been dropped.            

State Sen. Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego), has decided to shelve Senate Bill 623, saying that more scientific studies need to be completed before legislators move forward with a ban on copper-based paints.            

Recreational Boaters of California and BoatU.S. — state and national boater advocacy groups, respectively — had both opposed the planned legislation, which ignored the use of copper-based paint on larger commercial and military vessels and focused solely on pleasureboats.            

Complicating plans to ban the most effective antifouling paints on the market for recreational boats, the State Lands Commission is about to require the use of strong antifouling coatings and frequent in-water hull cleaning for large vessels, as a way to combat the onslaught of new invasive species in state waters.            

At the same time, new scientific studies seem to indicate that current levels of copper in the state’s harbors are lower than previously thought, and that this amount of copper has no damaging effects on most marine life.            

Common sense may not be “common,” but it’s nice to see our legislators use it once in a while. Thanks to Sen. Kehoe for asking legislators to wait until all the data is in before imposing a costly ban on products that may not actually harm the marine environment at all.

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