Bottom painting is a messy job, but it is so expensive to have a professional do the job that it becomes pretty hard not to do it yourself. An added bonus is that you have some idea that the job was done right. Preparation is everything. An owner can attend to other things at the same time such as, regressing sea cocks, polishing the prop, and checking the cutlass bearing. 2 Painting a boat bottom can go fast; it's the prep and repair that take the time. I would plan three work-hours for every 15 feet of boat prep and one work-hour for every 15 feet of painting. 3 Antifouling boat bottoms can save you up to 10% of energy required to move your boat through the water and that can be real money. Copper has been used since the 1700s as a great tool to avoid growths on your boat bottom. And a smooth Teflon-type bottom has a drag coefficient smoother than ice. 4 While some owners like contrasting the previous year's coating color, I prefer using the same color every time. Then if you have a miss or need to sand an error, the bottom remains looking good. 5 Painting boat bottoms is like painting ceilings. But because boats are outside, often rain or dew can roll down the side onto your wet coating. To avoid water running down the side of the boat onto the bottom, you can put a crease in 2-inch masking tape the long way and stick half to the boat with the lip sticking out. Most of your water should then roll off the tape to the ground rather than flowing around the curve of the boat. 6 Don't forget that dust can cause major health problems. The asbestos legacy suggests that anywhere there is dust from sanding you should wear a mask or a real respirator. A particulate filter and an organic vapor filter combination works best. 7 For sanding, a random-orbit sander works really well for prep. But a good job can also be done with sanding sponges and iron shaped vibrating sanders. The point of the iron can get at those areas by the keel, rudder, and bottom fittings. 8 It's best to get the jack screw pads rested just before you launch the boat to avoid risking having your boat slip on its jacks. 9 There is now a green masking tape available for your water line, which will help leave a much crisper edge. But it still pays to brush from the tape downward to avoid forcing any coating up under the tape, leaving a ragged edge. Then pull the tape off before the coating dries. You don't want to glue the tape on, requiring scraping to remove it later. 10 Bottom painting is not so hard on your back if you can get an angle on it. Select a handle that fits the angle to the center, then change to a length that fits the mid-sections and then one for the curve up. This usually means long handles moving toward shorter handles. 11 Have some fairing compound handy; there will inevitably be a few gouges, and it's easy to fill them right away. A quick-dry epoxy works well especially when drying is accelerated with a hair dryer. 12 Your boat bottom coating may be a two-part mixture or may have copper or other additives that don't hold in suspension well. Use 200 strokes in order to mix thoroughly before applying the finish. Sanding well will assure that you get the best adhesion and most uniform application of the solids that will remain on the bottom of the boat. 13 Brush the tight areas first so that the roller can smooth any drips that result. 14 A short stool or adjustable stool that can be lowered and raised to fit the angle you want can make your back a lot happier when coating your boat bottom. 15 Most roller frames are threaded and having a few handles cut to different lengths can help. You can also get telescoping handles. Not only can you coat more quickly, but you can also avoid being dripped on. 16 A pail with a roller screen in it can work better than a roller tray. Moving the pail is safe and quick because they are deep so sloshing won't affect them. Also, long handles mean you can often set the pail on the ground to dip saving a lot of time and effort. 17 I like to apply the roller just one direction, bottom to top, and overlap just a little. This will help avoid pulling any wet coat off and also limits air bubbles that two-way motions can put into some coatings. 18 Using an airless sprayer can do a great job but then you have particles in the air so be careful of your neighbors' boats and equipment. And don't forget that you will need to clean that sprayer and lines when you are done. Durall Marine Products, Bloomington, Minnesota. Durall's 40 years of specialty coating chemical manufacturing experience has produced over 500 special coatings and preparation systems to assure optimum adhesion and wear results. Material purchase include full directions and 24/7 help lines staffed by seasoned coating experts, so professionals and amateurs alike can successfully install a quality boat bottom. Durall provides factory-direct support for these new products. This full-service concept allows anyone to enjoy the benefits of installing a fast, fuel saving boat bottom successfully.