Painting your bilge

A freshly painted bilge is much easier to wipe down and keep clean, reducing the risk of odours that may result from unwanted residue. A clean bilge will also make it easier to find small parts or fastenings, which may have been dropped whilst working on your engine or other equipment.

Step 1: Health and Safety

Before commencing preparatory work, ensure the area you are working in is adequately ventilated. Ensure you are wearing the correct PPE; we recommend safety glasses, goggles or visors, nitrile rubber gloves, overalls (ensuring skin is not exposed) and a solvent mask or a respirator (if working in confined spaces).

Previously painted surfaces:

Step 2: Inspection

Check for areas of damage, separation or peeling, or any other indications that the existing coating is not firmly adhered to the substrate.

Step 3: Preparation – in good condition

Remove surface contamination by wiping down with Interlux® Special Thinner 216 or Fiberglass Surface Prep YMA601. Once the surface is clean abrade with 220-320 grit sandpaper. Remove the sanding residue and allow to dry.





Preparation – in poor condition

If previous finish is cracking, peeling or showing signs of separation from the substrate all previous coatings should be removed and the substrate primed.

Bare substrate:

Step 4: Priming

Bare substrates should be primed to promote good adhesion and provide a smooth even surface, prior to applying Bilgekote. Your choice of primer will be dictated by the substrate; product recommendations are provided on labels and data sheets. Remember to pay particular attention to drying times and overcoating intervals.


Pay particular attention if the substrate is the reverse side of molded fiberglass – this does not need to be primed.

Step 5: Application

Sand the primer smooth with 180-280 grit paper and remove dust with a wipe or tack rag.







Apply 1-2 coats of Bilgekote.







For added protection against moisture absorption and osmosis in bilge areas, use Interlux InterProtect® or Epoxy Primekote – prior to applying Bilgekote – always follow the label instructions.

Important: When painting in enclosed spaces, such as bilges, ventilation is very important not only for your own health and safety but also to help the products dry properly. Wear the proper Personal Protective Equipment and to help the paint dry properly we suggest two fans; one to push air in and another to pull air out.