Repainting and Refinishing a Superyacht – Paint Shed Versus Shrinkwrap Tent

At Oceania Marine over half of our business is painting. We run a specialist marine coatings team from the shipyard that cover construction and refit of Superyachts. As a consequence we see it all-  from basic prep, fairing and the application of finish coats.

In terms of repainting and refinishing Superyachts we undertake in the water, outside hardstand and undercover paint shed projects. If we had the choice we would always paint undercover in our paint sheds for the following reasons:

  • It is protected and not exposed to wind, rain and other climatic vagaries
  • high quality power, compressed air, and lighting services are reticulated to all parts of the vessel
  • optimum environmental conditions for product application is maintained via climate control equipment
  • vessel access is efficient boosting productivity
  • mezzanine floor workshops and project offices also boost productivity
  • efficient extraction and containment systems radically reduce dust contamination as well as provide healthier working conditions
  • vessel is secure under full security alarm monitoring
  • vessel is secure under full fire protection system externally monitored by fire authorities
  • product application is carried out under approved conditions so as to meet paint supplier company specifications – therefore qualifies for a full international paint guarantee

However it is not a perfect world and we have to undertake projects outside either on the hardstand or afloat berthed alongside. Predominately the reasons for this would be:

  • the paint sheds are all booked out and the owner wants it done now
  • the job is relatively small involving localized areas of the vessel
  • the vessel is to big for the paint sheds
  • the yacht managers, skipper or owner are convinced this is a cheaper option over a paint shed

Dealing with the last point before moving on, cost is an interesting matter and we are certain that painting in a shed is highly competitive on price for the following reasons:

  • granted the shed rate will be a little higher than laydays on a slipway and a lot higher than hardstand rates off the slipway (if your vessel is small enough)
  • granted it is a lot cheaper in terms of facility costs to stay afloat
  • however any additional cost in being in a paint shed will not be a significant proportion of the overall cost
  • access costs inside a shed are much lower
  • tenting and containment costs in a paint shed are significantly lower
  • reticulation of services to the project as much cheaper in a pant shed
  • productivity gains inside a paint shed are considerable (means much less hours)
  • project duration is certain inside a paint shed
  • re-work is much lower inside a paint shed

Despite the almost overwhelming factors in favour of painting inside we find ourselves with projects outside for the reasons stated. The advent of modern shrinkwrap materials, better mobile heaters/extraction and experience has led to an improvement in productivity and quiality but the following shortcomings have to be acknowledged:

  • project setup in involved, expensive and time consuming
  • tent damage due to worker negligence and weather is constant
  • New Zealand’s climate is wet, humid and stormy for long periods making conditions inside the tent very poor at times
  • condensation inside the tent is a constant problem often resulting in application of product being postponed until late morning
  • environmental standards are hard to meet particularly afloat
  • paint standards are also hard to meet often compromising paint company approvals and guarantees
  • application failure risks are increased resulting in much more rework

In finishing we have to say that our overwhelming preference is to complete our larger paint projects inside one of our paint sheds rather than outside. But sometimes that is not a feasible option and having said that it is our contention that cost should not be used as the prime motivation for not doing so.

If you want to use our wide-ranging experience in all situations please feel free to get in touch

We deliver a refit service of proven quality and efficiency