Anti-fouling Subsea Markers vs. Paint – An Honest Comparison

Over the next few months here on the blog, we’ll be taking a look at some of the popular subsea marking methods and seeing how they stack up compared with Aquasign, our unique anti-fouling subsea marker system.

We’ll give you an honest outline of the pros and cons of each marking method, so you can make the right decision for your project.


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Types of paint used in subsea markers

There are two main kinds of paints used for subsea markers:

  • Biocidal paint
  • Silicone paint

Each has a range of pros and cons, of course, and we’ll be going into each of them in turn. So, without any further ado…

Biocidal paint for subsea markers

Plenty of fabricators still opt for biocidal paint when it comes to marking up subsea assets. So what’s the deal? Is biocidal paint a good choice for subsea markers?

Pros of biocidal paint

  • Stencilling can be applied along structure coating
  • Can be used on a wide variety of substrates
  • Marker stencils are generally inexpensive

Cons of biocidal paint

  • Harmful to marine environment and life
  • Needs multiple coats (min three)
  • Becomes less effective over time
  • Has a relatively short lifespan (~five years)
  • Not effective against all types of biofouling
  • Errors are costly and time-consuming to fix

Silicone paint for subsea markers

Silicone anti-fouling paint uses a non-stick principle to prevent biofouling. Originally designed for coating the hulls of sea-going vessels, silicone paint is sometimes used for marking subsea assets. But is it up to the job?

Pros of silicone paint

  • Stencilling can be applied along structure coating
  • Can be used on a wide variety of substrates
  • Marker stencils are generally inexpensive
  • Non-toxic

Cons of silicone paint

  • Low effectiveness on stationary structures
  • Needs multiple coats (min three)
  • Not guaranteed to last the lifetime of your project
  • Low damage tolerance
  • Marine growth flourishes when damaged
  • Errors are costly and time-consuming to fix
  • Expensive

Aquasign anti-fouling markers

OK, so you know we’re biased, but we don’t need to spin any stories about how effective Aquasign anti-fouling subsea markers are. So, the pros and cons of Aquasign:

Pros of Aquasign

  • Simple to apply: no curing time, limited surface preparation
  • Suitable for any substrate
  • Prevents marine growth attachment at the lowest level
  • Guaranteed to stay in place and visible for 60 years
  • Quick and significant ROI
  • Non-toxic
  • Quick manufacturing time (~three days)
  • Additional damage tolerance available through Shield fixings

Cons of Aquasign

  • Higher initial outlay than paint
  • Additional procurement required
  • Operators may be unfamiliar with the product

Ready to benefit from Aquasign?

To us, it’s pretty clear that Aquasign is a stand-out choice for marking up your subsea assets.

Versatile, easy to apply and cost-effective, our smart silicone marker is guaranteed to perform for 60 years.

Assets marked in paint are likely to be ineffective after around five years. Needless to say, it’s not possible to add an extra coat of paint post-deployment.

Aquasign can be installed – or retrofitted on a submerged asset – using a variety of simple and powerful methods.

Learn more from the fixing section of our website where you can download quick fixing guides and watch our installation videos. And like we say, our non-toxic, smart silicone markers are guaranteed to stay put for 60 years.

If Aquasign sounds like the right choice for your project, we’d love to speak to you about a tailored solution for your asset. Contact us today for a no-obligation discussion.


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➡️ Related content: read our guide to the different Aquasign installation methods or review our smart silicone marker’s key features for your next project.

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