“When people saw that Propspeed was working, I couldn’t keep it on the shelf.”
Owner, Bristol Professional Yacht Refinishing Services, Costa Rica
Ben White has been the owner of Bristol Professional Yacht Refinishing Services in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, for 16 years, specializing in full paint and woodwork on production and custom yachts of all sizes. He also operates Bristol Marine Supply at Los Suenos Marina and is Costa Rica’s sole Propspeed distributor.
“We have 25 guys—three in our office and four in the marine store—so 29 total,” he says. “Five full-time applicators and bottom-crew members. We’re very busy!”
Ben began learning his craft at a young age, working alongside his father at Bristol Conditioning in Fort Lauderdale. He would later name his business after his dad’s, applying the same “ship shape and Bristol fashion” work ethic as well.
In 2002, Hatteras Yachts sent Ben to Costa Rica to refinish one of their 65-footers. There he met the owner of Los Suenos Resort and Marina, and the two formed their own business in 2003. “Costa Rica was just the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen and offers some of the best fishing in the world, to this day.”
Once word about Costa Rica got out, “all of the new custom boats and yachts came here by the boatload—literally.” Naturally, Ben decided to stay, a decision that has since proven to be a very good call.
“All the new custom sport fishing boats you read about in magazines are coming to Costa Rica for our exceptional billfishing and beautiful landscapes. Costa Rica has also become one of the few places in the world where you can have all the amenities of the United States in Central America,” he says. “You can have your yacht or sport fisher completely refit from bow to stern, just like in the States, no questions asked. We have everything you could ask for in the US in Costa Rica now.” Including Propspeed.
“I first started using Propspeed in 2012, if I had to guess. This was when it was a fairly new product and not many people wanted to spend the money on something that wasn’t proven yet.” But Ben was a believer from the beginning: “We really pushed people to use it. After we did a few boats, we would take them out once every year or every other year. When people saw that Propspeed was working, I couldn’t keep it on the shelf.”
Around that time, Ben met Oceanmax’s Clint Jones and Mark Billingsley at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and encouraged them to establish a Propspeed distributorship in Central America. “We’re marketing Propspeed in Central America now and we’ve sponsored three tournaments so far.”
“Since we’ve been distributors—in January  it will be two years—we’ve sold over 250 liter kits. More than that. Probably close to 300, about 150 kits a year. That’s 150 boats in two years! That’s a lot of boats for what we do.” Ben estimates that each application uses two to three liters of product. “We do about 75 boats a year with Propspeed. We’ve gone through over 300 kits in the last two years.”
Ben sees Propspeed as an important part of bottom paint, a necessity rather than a nice-to-have. “I can’t stress enough how important it is. It definitely helps boats be more fuel-efficient,” he says. “I’ve seen some boats where their load has gone down five to 10 percent on the motors and some boats have gained 1 to 2 knots, so the price of the product is definitely paid for by how much fuel they save.
“Propspeed is not only good for propellers; this is what people need to understand. We put it on everything, for example: brass steering ramps. It keeps them from oxidating and it lasts. We put it on all intake screens and strainer baskets. It’s also good for any metal on the bottom of a boat—stainless steel, brass, bronze. We use it on trim tabs, lifting brackets, on swim steps and all of the underwater lights.” And now that it’s on the market, Ben highly recommends Lightspeed as well.
Ben first heard about Propspeed from some of his yacht painter colleagues in Fort Lauderdale. “Everybody in the industry talks,” he says, and boy was he glad they did. In the generous spirit of marine industry camaraderie, Ben also likes to spread the good word—and the proper technique.
“Before, a lot of people in the States didn’t know how to apply it properly. They didn’t know how to do it properly here either; that’s why I had to go do training in the US, so I could teach everybody here how to properly apply the product. Now it’s a proven product and it’s showing results. You have to Propstrip or grind it to get it off, even after two years. This stuff really made a difference.”
What size Propspeed kit do I need?
The right kit for your needs will depend on the size of the area you’re coating. Our three kit sizes correspond to the following coverage areas:
200ml: up to 0.4m2 or 4.3ft2
500ml: up to 1m2 or 10.75ft2
1 liter: up to 2m2 or 21.5ft2
How does Propspeed work?
Propspeed is a foul release coating, not an anti-foul, so it doesn’t harm marine life. The top coat on the Propspeed system is an ultra-slick surface that marine growth can’t grip. Propspeed’s effectiveness does depend on movement of your boat - the more you use it, the better Propspeed performs. Propspeed sets itself apart from the competition with the exceptionally strong chemical and physical bond between the metal substrate, the primer and the top coat - this ensures that the Propspeed coating actually stays on your running gear.
Is Propspeed environmentally friendly?
Yes. Propspeed contains no copper, tin or any other toxic substances harmful to marine life.
How long does Propspeed last?
Propspeed will last at least a year, but many customers report another one or even two years service life. This depends on what sort of marine environment your boat is moored in, the water temperature, and how often you use it.
Will Propspeed lose its effectiveness if my boat is out on the water for a period of time?
No, provided the only maintenance given to the parts with Propspeed applied is a light wiping with a non-abrasive cloth, the boat can be hauled and launched multiple times, or left out for long periods without affecting the performance of Propspeed. If you are having the bottom of the boat high pressure washed ensure that any Propspeed coated parts are covered to prevent damage.
Can Propspeed protect against Zebra mussels and other freshwater growth?
Propspeed can be used successfully in fresh or salt water. As it’s a foul release, not a biocide or anti-foul, Propspeed relies on a slick surface - it doesn’t matter what sort of marine growth you have, it won’t be able to get a grip.
Can I apply Propspeed myself?
For best results we recommend Propspeed is applied by a trained applicator. See our applicator finder, or or your haul-out facility may already have an arrangement with an applicator.
What is the shelf life of Propspeed
All Propspeed kits have a shelf life of 3 years from date of manufacture.
The date of manufacture should be clearly labelled on your kit and components
What parts on the bottom of the boat can be coated with Propspeed?
Propspeed can be applied to any metal part below the waterline, including propellers, shafts, struts, rudders, trim tabs and through hull fittings. You can also use the clear coat directly on plastic bow-thrusters and underwater lights.
Is Propspeed expensive?
Propspeed may cost more to buy than conventional anti-fouling paints, but the feedback we get constantly from boat-owners is that it pays for itself. By keeping the running gear free of marine growth, not only does it reduce the time spent cleaning at next haul-out, but it reduces your running costs by increasing your speed and reducing your fuel consumption
What sort of maintenance does Propspeed need?
None. The foul release formulation is self-cleaning as soon as the propeller starts up. If required, a light wipe with a non-abrasive cloth will remove any marine growth. When hauling out, ensure the Propspeed is wiped down with a non-abrasive cloth before any marine growth on the surface can dry. Water-blasting, scraping and other abrasive cleaning will damage the Propspeed and eliminate its effectiveness.
Will Propspeed affect the life of my sacrificial anodes?
The application of Propspeed greatly reduces the wetted metal surface and the positive outcome is that our customers are seeing an increase of vessel speed with less RPMs, fuel savings and, the protection from stray current damage resulting in longer sacrificial anode life. It has been observed by our customers that by using Propspeed on their running gear and propellers they have seen a dramatic reduction in corrosion to their underwater metals and that their sacrificial anodes are lasting longer..
How long after application of Propspeed until I can launch my boat?
A minimum of eight hours drying time is required after the final coat. This is based on an average air temperature of 15 deg C, or 59 deg F. If the air temperature is colder than this, a minimum of 24 hour curing time is recommended.