Why is powder coating used in marine applications?

In the realm of marine protection, few solutions hold as much promise as marine grade powder coating. Developed to withstand the unforgiving conditions of our surrounding seas, these coatings offer a pragmatic approach to safeguarding metal surfaces from corrosion. 

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at marine grade powder coating, exploring its practical benefits and applications in different sectors.

The Powder Coating Process

The powder coating process involves the application of a dry powder onto a metal surface, which is then heated to fuse and form a protective layer. This fusion creates a bond that is not only robust but also resistant to flaking and peeling, ensuring long-lasting protection in even the most demanding marine conditions.

Many industries, particularly those reliant on maritime activities, understand the imperative of corrosion protection. With saltwater, UV exposure, and atmospheric elements constantly testing the resilience of metal structures, a hardwearing solution is essential.

Superior Corrosion Resistance

British coastlines are no stranger to inclement weather and harsh conditions. Fortunately, marine grade powder coating thrives in such environments, offering reliable resistance to saltwater, moisture, and chemical pollutants. Its ability to withstand the rigors of the sea ensures peace of mind for industries operating in and around our maritime borders.

Exposure to sunlight and UV radiation can accelerate the deterioration of coatings, leading to fading, chalking, and degradation. Marine grade powder coating is formulated to withstand UV exposure, maintaining its colour and finish over longer periods, thereby preserving the aesthetic appeal of coated surfaces.

In addition to saltwater exposure, marine environments often present challenges in the form of chemical pollutants, oils, and solvents. Marine grade powder coating offers excellent chemical resistance, ensuring protection against a wide range of corrosive substances encountered in marine settings.


From commercial vessels to coastal infrastructure, the versatility of marine grade powder coating knows no bounds. Its adaptability makes it a preferred choice for a multitude of applications, including boat components, offshore structures, and marine equipment. With tailored formulations to suit specific environmental challenges, industries can trust in the versatility of marine grade powder coating to meet their corrosion protection needs.


In a world where quality matters, adherence to international standards is paramount. Marine grade powder coating meets the rigorous requirements outlined by industry standards such as ISO 12944, ensuring consistency and reliability in corrosion protection. By aligning with established guidelines, Industries can rest assured that their assets are fortified against corrosion, without the need for extravagant or exaggerated claims. 

ISO 12944: The Standard for Corrosion Protection of Steel Structures by Protective Paint Systems

ISO 12944 is a comprehensive standard developed by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) that provides guidelines for the corrosion protection of steel structures through protective paint systems. It outlines various factors to consider, including environmental conditions, coating systems, surface preparation, application methods, and inspection procedures, to ensure effective corrosion protection throughout the lifecycle of a structure. 

Environmental Classification: ISO 12944 categorises environmental conditions based on their corrosivity, ranging from C1 (mild) to C5 (very severe). Marine environments typically fall within the higher corrosivity categories (C4 and C5), indicating the need for robust corrosion protection measures. Marine grade powder coating, designed to withstand these harsh conditions, aligns with the requirements specified in ISO 12944 for coatings used in aggressive environments.

ISO 12944 provides guidance on selecting appropriate coating systems based on the anticipated service life and environmental exposure. Marine grade powder coating is recognised for its durability and long-term performance, meeting the stringent requirements for coatings used in marine environments. By adhering to the standards, manufacturers can ensure that marine grade powder coatings deliver the necessary level of corrosion protection and longevity.

Substrate Preparation

Proper surface preparation is crucial for the adhesion and performance of powder coatings. ISO 12944 specifies various methods for surface preparation, including abrasive blasting, chemical cleaning, and mechanical surface roughening, to achieve the desired level of cleanliness and substrate profile. Additionally, the standard outlines recommended application parameters, such as film thickness, curing conditions, and quality control measures, to optimise the performance of powder coatings in marine applications.

Even the best powder coating materials can only be expected to perform if the metal it is protecting is prepared correctly.

Regardless of the base metals, in a marine or coastal environment, coating systems require an element of metal preparation, metal pre-treatment, use of primers as well as a specific grade of powder coat technology to provide protection, durability and performance.

During pre-treatment, you can implement an acid dip or alkaline cleaning. This can be followed by a thin conversion layer to the metal surface. This is more intensive than the usual pre-treatment of materials, but it ensures long-lasting durability against corrosion. 

There are lots of different pre-treatment options that can be implemented for marine applied materials so it’s important to consider what pre-treatment you need before powder coating.

One such classification for powder coated products is Qualicoat Seaside, which verifies the quality of a powder coating pre-treatment on architectural aluminium. It’s considered the benchmark for quality. The ‘Seaside Class’ for Qualicoat powder coating is focused on the highest level of protection from corrosion. 

Where a deeper etch over standard Qualicoat, removes more contaminants, and therefore offers a more robust pretreatment for areas where atmospheres carry corrosive salts and other aggressive pollutants.

You may also want to implement abrasive blasting in your powder coating process. Shot blasting has a long history of use in marine ship building.

Inspection and Maintenance

ISO 12944 emphasises the importance of regular inspection and maintenance to ensure the continued effectiveness of corrosion protection systems. Inspections should be conducted at specified intervals to assess the condition of the coating, identify any signs of damage or degradation, and take corrective action as necessary. By following the guidelines outlined, asset owners can implement proactive maintenance strategies to extend the service life of marine grade powder coatings and minimise the risk of corrosion-related failures.

Speak to Juanir for optimised powder coating solution

To learn more about how Junair can help with an optimised powder coating solution specific to your industry, get in touch with our expert team today.

Further reading

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