Tricks of the Trade

Tricks of the Trade

Coomera, Queensland, Australia: Overlooking a yard and marina filled with beautiful and luxurious yachts at the Riviera Aftermarket facility on Australia’s Gold Coast, it strikes us to ask the talented team’s manager Michael Swain: “What’s the best advice you can offer an owner?”

His answer comes quickly: “Anti-fouling – it’s the one thing that most piques the interest of owners during the Tricks of the Trade workshops at the Riviera Festival of Boating, and it’s the one thing that’s really important to fully understand.


Riviera Aftermarket & Service manager Michael Swain.

“More and more owners are realising that they can save themselves a great deal of money simply by ensuring the quality of their regular maintenance is up to the exacting Riviera standards.”

Of course, the Aftermarket team of experts is skilled in pampering your yacht in hundreds of different ways – everything from restoration and minor repairs to full refits, stainless steel fabrication and technology upgrades.

However, Michael says he often receives calls from owners who feel they need to check that the teams undertaking their anti-fouling are complying with set standards.

“Unfortunately there is no Australian standard,” he says. “That’s why it is so important to understand the entire process, from preparation to knowing exactly how much product should be used for a yacht of a certain size to ensure you get the most value for money when you slip your yacht.

“Riviera has its recommended standards and I think that’s a key reason why our owners keep coming back to us here at Aftermarket, especially for anti-fouling.

“They know we will do a premium job every time.”

Attention to detail - it's why Riviera and Belize owners place their trust in the experts at Riviera Aftermarket

Attention to detail – it’s why Riviera and Belize owners place their trust
in the experts at Riviera Aftermarket.

Indeed, many Riviera and Belize owners travel up from Sydney and even Melbourne and stop in to get their anti-fouling, servicing and refitting completed at the Aftermarket facility, where a team of 10 highly-trained experts ensure the quality standards are met.

Michael says some owners who bring their yachts to Coomera are preparing to cruise the Queensland coastline throughout the southern winter, while others are returning because they appreciate the exacting eye for detail applied to everything we do here at Riviera.

“The benefits of anti-fouling are obvious to motor yacht owners – from running speed to performance and fuel efficiency. If it’s done correctly, owners can avoid a full sand-blast of their hull for a few extra years.

Michael says that, on planing boats in particular, even a light build-up of fouling can reduce top speed by up to five knots and can increase fuel consumption by up to 30 per cent.

“Heavier growth may prevent a boat from planing altogether,” he says.

Once the Aftermarket & Service team lifts a Riviera or Belize from the water for anti-fouling, the hull is water-blasted to remove as much build-up as possible.

And then comes the key step: sanding.


Smooth to touch—the finish is second to none.

“Sanding is the big thing,” says Michael. “The hull has to be absolutely smooth, with no ridges, so the anti-fouling paint will stick the way it is supposed to and last as long as it should without flaking – and this is where it pays to make sure everything is done to exacting standards.”

Michael says a series of routine checks are then undertaken to ensure the hull carries no unforeseen damage before it is masked up and placed into a moveable trolley to be wheeled across to a state-of-the-art paint booth that meets the highest of environmental standards.

“Riviera and Belize owners care for the environment, so it’s important to note that here we make sure we meet or surpass the environmental requirements of this process,” says Michael.

Air-less spraying in the Riviera Aftermarket and Service anti-foul facility.

Air-less spraying in the Riviera Aftermarket and
Service anti-foul facility.

The team then uses an air-less spray of quality anti-fouling paint – as opposed to a roller – ensuring even coats by applying the paint at 250 microns so it dries to 200 microns, although Michael advises that this will vary between brands of paint.

“The amount of paint used is also critical to ensuring the job is done right,” says Michael.

As a rough guide for owners to check that the contractor is applying the correct amount of paint they can use the 60 per cent of the boat size rule: 40 feet x .60 = 24 litres of paint or 51 feet x .60 = 30.6 litres.

“The paint is designed to wear down slowly to prevent barnacles being able to stick to the hull – it wears gradually for planing boats at a speed of between 20-30 knots, and at about 12 knots for displacement hulls.

Prop-speeding perfection---the service standards at Riviera reflect a passion for perfection.

Prop-speeding perfection—the service standards at Riviera reflect
a passion for perfection.

“The better quality the anti-foul, the better performance of the yacht, and the less it costs to re-paint next time – ideally yachts that live in the water should be anti-fouled every 12-18 months.”

Michael says the Riviera Aftermarket & Service team carries out regular maintenance, including anti-fouling, for hundreds of luxury motor yachts each year.

“Our team is highly trained and expert in everything we do,” he says.

Michael will be conducting a series of Tricks of the Trade seminars at the Riviera Festival of Boating from 19-22 May – designed to assist owners to maintain their motor yachts in prime condition.

  • If you would like to register your early interest in receiving a priority copy of the Festival program, please click here >>