Marine coatings company Oceanmax will launch its new product, Lightspeed, at the Auckland on Water Boat Show. The first transparent foul-release coating specifically formulated for underwater lights, Lightspeed will be distributed by West Marine and Land ‘N’ Sea in the United States, Burnsco in New Zealand, and All Marine Spares and QEP Marine in Australia.
Following the success of Propspeed, Oceanmax’s industry-leading foul-release system for propellers and running gear, the company adapted its proprietary coating technology to maximise the long-term performance of underwater lights. Like Propspeed, Lightspeed is an eco-friendly alternative to conventional anti-fouling, which has recently come under regulatory scrutiny due to its toxic biocide content.
With practical applications including underwater photography, fishing, nighttime navigation, security, and aesthetics, underwater lights have become a desirable feature on boats, both inland and in coastal communities. Lightspeed offers an easy and affordable way for marine enthusiasts to reduce maintenance, protect their investment, and maintain lighting system performance.
“I already use Propspeed on my 43ft launch and save countless hours in unnecessary maintenance,” said boat owner Geoff Smith. “So when I found out that Oceanmax was releasing Lightspeed, I knew exactly the kind of product I would get and the extended performance I should expect.”
Lightspeed’s technological advantage comes from its proprietary silicone base, which enhances luminosity by increasing emitted light organisation while decreasing its scatter. Unlike current competitors, which are opaque and use toxic chemicals to kill marine growth, Lightspeed repels growth by creating a nontoxic, “super-slick” transparent coating that prevents barnacles and algae from colonising on underwater surfaces in first place.
“Underwater lights have been one of the marine industry’s fastest-growing sales categories over the last three years,” says Oceanmax managing director Clint Jones. “Off the back of the success of Propspeed, we’ve created Lightspeed to meet that huge market demand. Lightspeed is the only high-performance product that keeps these boating assets in great condition.”
Lightspeed has been shown to save three times its retail value in maintenance costs on top of the unquantifiable damage to marine ecosystems caused by traditional antifouling products.
The global market for marine coatings is expected to surpass USD $15 billion by 2024 at approximately 7 per cent annual growth, and antifouling in particular is projected at 13 per cent annual growth. Similarly, the market for underwater lights has accelerated due to their range of uses for marinas, commercial fisheries, and recreational boaters alike.
Underwater lights are just as susceptible to marine fouling as any other underwater surface — perhaps more so, as the light and heat generated by underwater lighting devices creates conditions that favour marine growth. Efforts to remove barnacles in particular can damage delicate lighting components, given that barnacle glue is the most powerful adhesive in nature and six times more powerful than any manmade glue.
Oceanmax develops high-performance products that make marine craft more efficient and economical to run and maintain, with an eye toward doing the least harm to humans and the marine environment. Oceanmax manufactures and distributes Propspeed, recognised globally as the leading product for preventing marine growth on underwater metals. Biofouling – the accumulation of marine life on ships’ hulls – increases drag and costs the global shipping industry an estimated $7.5 billion a year in wasted fuel. Based in New Zealand, where sailing excellence is culturally ingrained, Propspeed has become a worldwide phenomenon throughout the marine industry.