SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The Port of San Diego is hosting an event Saturday to encourage boaters at the Shelter Island Yacht Club to apply for grants to help pay for removing copper-based hull paint.

Copper-based bottom paint has long been favored by boaters because it kills most organisms that attach to hulls. But it is designed to slough off when scrubbed and is toxic to most marine life. The state is in process of outlawing copper paints for recreational vessels.

Copper is typically found in high concentration in marinas.

At Shelter Island, copper levels in the water exceed federal and state standards, and the port has been ordered to reduce levels of the metal in the water by 76 percent by 2022.

About $600,000 in grant funds from the state Water Resources Control Board are available to cover the expenses of 200-250 Shelter Island boaters, according to the port. Copper-based bottom paint can cost $300 per gallon or more.

The board estimates the cost of stripping the old paint to be about $6.30 per square foot. Boat owners would be liable for expenses beyond that amount.

It is estimated that stripping copper paint from a 30-foot boat would cost $2,000-$3,000.

The event will include demonstrations of more environmentally friendly paint that still keep marine life from fouling boat bottoms, entertainment and raffles that include free stays at Shelter Island hotels.

Also, the Kona Kai Marina is offering a month free for the first boat owner to recoat their hull with a non-copper-based paint.