Organic compounds are capable of repelling motile bacteria from marine surfaces. The most effective compounds were acrylamide and benzoic and tannic acids. These were active at concentrations that were not toxic to the bacteria. Repellents were incorporated in nontoxic paints and applied to metal panels. Treated panels immersed in seawater developed a bacterial film of only 10(6) bacteria per cm6 after 12 days compared with untreated panels, which had 5 times 10(12) bacteria per cm2 after the same period. Field studies confirmed the effectiveness of these repellents. The use of biological repellents provides a new approach to the control of marine fouling.