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How Long Does Bottom Paint Take to Dry? (Quick Answers)

Bottom paint for the boat is a thing that most people who do not know about the first will find quite confusing. The thought of painting the bottom of a boat is important will make them question if they have been ripped off or not. 

However, once we learn the importance of bottom paint, we will understand why it is used on almost all boats with a few exceptions. Some people do not even keep their boats on the water, for their bottom paint is not necessary.

We at least understand why bottom paint is important. Bottom paint is used to protect the boat’s underbelly from all sorts of things. 

So, when we DIY and paint it ourselves we would need to know the drying time for the paint. We will discuss all of that and more below so keep reading to know more.

Bottom paint drying time

When we bottom paint boats, we need it to give the paint to dry over otherwise the paint will not stay. That will ruin the process of it in the first place. Therefore, we have to at least give the bottom paint a minimum of 3 hours and if possible 6 hours overnight, which is recommended. 

Bottom painting boats can be tedious, but we can turn it into a fun project if we do it right. In order to do things right, we need to have the right tools and the right type of paint. Those are the basics of such a project.

If we cannot do it in the open then we can do it inside. However, we need to make sure the humidity inside an enclosed place is not too high. 

That will increase the drying time otherwise. Usually, the drying time for the bottom paint of a boat depends on the humidity as well as the temperature of the day. Sometimes some paints will require 2 coats for them to become effective. 

Thus, that also affects the drying time as well. Below we will go through some of the standard drying times for both the “overcoat or recoat” and the dry time for “ready to launch”.

Dry time to overcoat or recoat:

Depending on the type of paint and the manufacturer, the usual dry time for an overcoat or recoat for boat bottom paint is 3-6 hours.

Dry time to launch:

The minimum dry time for the time to launch a boat from painting the bottom will be at least 24 hours. Some paints can even take 12 hours to be ready for launch while others can need up to 48 hours.

What antifouling bottom paint dries faster?

When it comes to bottom painting our boats, there are many reasons to get things to suit our needs. If we get bottom paint that will oxidize if we keep it outside then we need something that is designed for staying out of the water longer. 

The same goes for something that is designed for staying in the water longer.

Antifouling paint is another type of paint that is important for the boat to keep the nasties away. Nasties like the barnacles, weeds, slime, and other creatures that can grow under our boat. These things will slow down our boats or eat the metal parts away.

If we would need something for the antifouling, then we would need to pick the right type as well. There are some paintings by TotalBoat, Interlux, and Rust-Oleum. 

However, we can all agree that the Rust-Oleum Marine Coatings Antifouling Bottom Paint for boats dries the fastest among the bunch. The paint can be recoated in 4 hours of the first coat and the boat can be ready for launch in 16 hours after the second coat. 

Making the process of the full cure be finished in 72 hours or so.

Bottom paintDrying time
Interlux bottom paint4 hours
Pettit bottom paint2-6 Hours; To Launch: 12-48 Hours
Seahawk bottom paint1 Hour; To Launch: 12 Hours 

How to dry bottom paint faster?

The painting’s a tedious process in the first place, then we need to go through the drying process. This waiting process can be decreased with help of some simple tricks, let us go through those below.


When buying paints, if we find these types of chemicals in the paint, then the drying time for the paint will be much shorter than the usual time. The chemicals are Zirconium, Manganese, and Cobalt.


If more heat ability is given to the paint, the paint will dry faster. It’s simpler than it sounds as well. We would need for the paint to dry in the sun for 3 days straight for it to oxidize and get hard.


The use of fans can also accelerate the process of paint drying. Although this will help the paint dry faster that’ll be later counterproductive as too much air circulation in a tight room will raise the humidity of the enclosed room.

This doesn’t allow for the paint to become dry faster but rather elongates the process. Thus, we would need to paint somewhere open if we use this process to help it dry faster.

Tips to bottom paint a boat:

Painting the bottom of your boat can be a difficult task. However, if you follow the right steps, you’ll have it done in no time. Here are some tips to help you out as well.

Shake the container:

After opening the bottom paint we brought, we can shake the container beforehand to help it become smoother. This is because the paint when it stays idle for a long time tends to become a bit congealed. 

So, after opening the lid, we can stir and also gently poke the inside walls of the paint so that it mixes well.

protect the boat with an Epoxy System:

If you are someone that is worrying about the blisters on the boat, then you have to protect the boat with an Epoxy System on the bottom of bare fiberglass. 

Get the water line before starting to paint the bottom:

Always make sure to get the water line before starting to paint the bottom of your boat. In order to find that out, you have to let your boat sit on the water for a few days so that there is a growth line on it. 

That way you will know where to find the water line.

Another way we could find the water line is by throwing sawdust alongside the boat in the water to find the water line of the boat. Once we do that, we can simply tape the water line.

Select the right type of paint for your boat:

Make sure to select the right type of paint for your boat. This is important because, if you get the wrong type of paint, it will become ineffective. 

Ablative paint is for the people that keep their boat outside of the water, and Hard paint is for the people that keep their boat on the water all the time.

Final thoughts

The bottom painting of boats plays a crucial role in the boat’s overall future health. We use it to help us from getting issues we would have otherwise. Therefore, we have to know all the nuances of painting the bottom of a boat, for example, the drying time for the bottom paint is around 3-6 hours.