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California Boating News - Copper Anti-fouling Paint Ban

May 31, 2012
Sponsor of SB 623 withdraws bill

California State Senator Christine Kehoe has withdraw Senate Bill 623, legislation which would have banned the use of copper anti-fouling paint on recreational boats in California. Working with the Recreational Boaters of California, BoatU.S. and representatives of the coatings industry, Senator Kehoe determined that it was appropriate to defer consideration of this legislation pending the outcome of several different studies and regulatory actions by the Federal Environmental Protections Agency and other California agencies.

June 2, 2011
California State Senate passes legislation to ban antifouling paint containing copper

On a vote of 25 Ayes to 15 Noes, SB 623 was passed by the California State Senate. The legislation now moves on to the California Assembly where it has been referred to the Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials.

May 26, 2011
Legislation to ban copper antifouling paint progresses

The California Senate Appropriations Committee passed SB 623 on a vote of 6 to 2 . The legislation now proceeds to consideration by the full state Senate. To contact your state Senator regarding this legislation please go to

May 3, 2011
California State Senate Committee Passes Ban on Copper Antifouling Paint

The bill was also re-referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee for further consideration with a May 27th deadline for action. BoatU.S. will continue to monitor its status and provide updates on this web page.

As passed this legislation will:
After 1/1/2015: Bans the sale of new boats with copper bottom paint. After 1/1/2019: Bans the use of antifouling paint containing copper on recreational boats.

April 29, 2011
California State Senate Committee to Consider Ban on Copper Antifouling Paint

The California State Legislature is about to consider a bill that, if passed, will ban copper antifouling paint for all recreational boats. Senate Bill 623 is being heard on Monday, May 2 at 11am by the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality.

If passed, Senate Bill 623:
  • After 1/1/2015: Bans the sale of new boats with copper bottom paint.
  • After 1/1/2019: Bans the use of antifouling paint containing copper on recreational boats.

We understand the origins and respect the good environmental intentions of this bill. BoatU.S. has been monitoring developments in alternative antifouling paints for more than a decade. As a result, our concerns include:

  • Few choices: In March 2011 "Practical Sailor" analyzed 62 antifouling paints, 12 of which contain no copper. In terms of performance, one non-copper paint (which contained zinc) rated "excellent", one rated "fair", and ten rated "poor."
  • Invasive species control: Copper paints currently serve as the #1 defense against invasive species transfer from hulls to waterways.
  • This ban would only apply to recreational boats, which may not provide a large enough market to stimulate research and development on alternative coatings. Commercial and military vessels will continue to use copper paints.

We recognize there are many opinions about this bill, and encourage you to contact your state Senator to express your own views. BoatU.S. encourages innovation in antifouling paint and we hope that sustainable solutions for boaters and the environment can be found. BoatU.S. is working with our partners at Recreational Boaters of California (RBOC) on this issue, and they will be testifying at the hearing on Monday.

To read the bill:

California State Senate Bill 623

To contact your state senator regarding this legislation visit:

For specific questions about boating issues or BoatUS Government Affairs, please e-mail the department at
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