How To Prevent Boat Corrosion

8 Oct 2022

The vast majority of boat owners are aware that corrosion is a potential issue that can arise on their vessels. If you maintain your boat in the water regularly, you have probably already replaced your anodes because corrosion has destroyed them. However, you should be aware that rust is a problem across the entire boat. That the metal in the mast and rigging, as well as the wires, valves, and steering systems, can progressively become weakened and destroyed by it? That it is not only capable of wrecking your sterndrive but also of starting a fire or bringing down your mast, so bringing an end to your time spent boating for the season? The following six areas on your yacht are all susceptible to corrosion but can be protected from it with the right maintenance and inspection schedule. Spend some time snooping around in the shadowy areas of your boat to make sure there aren't any of these unpleasant surprises hiding in there.

Simple Corrosion

When a piece of metal is removed from the water, the first sign of this form of corrosion is the formation of rust on its surface. Keeping the engine of your boat clean is the most effective defense you have against the rust that can occur on its surface. First, clean the outside of the boat engine using a quality cleaner, then apply a silicone spray on the engine to protect the metal surfaces. After each trip out on the water, the engine of your boat should be flushed, cleaned, and sprayed with silicone. If you are getting your boat ready for long-term storage, you should go one step further and preserve the internal surfaces of the engine by using fogging oils for carbureted boats or EFI fogging oil, depending on the type of boat you have.

Galvanic Corrosion

When two metals are brought into direct electrical contact with one another, there is a risk that either metal will rust or corrode. This particular form of corrosion is called galvanic corrosion. This type of electrical contact can take place when the metals are in direct physical contact with one another, but it can also take place when the metals are near one another while submerged in water. Galvanic corrosion can be seen in action when, for instance, a housing made of stainless steel that is functioning as a cathode corrodes a bronze propeller that is functioning as an anode.

Stray Current Boat Corrosion

Corrosion of this kind takes place whenever there is an electrical problem, whether it be on the boat or at the dock. DC electrical current seeks ground, and one way it can accomplish this is by traveling through the bonding system or a through-hull fitting in the search for water. A galvanic isolator, which prevents low-voltage DC from getting on your boat and is connected in-line to the shore power connection, is a great way to prevent this kind of corrosion. However, maintaining strict watertight electrical connections is also a great way to prevent it.

How to Prevent Corrosion

Because of the inevitable contact with water, corrosion will inevitably set in at some point. This is especially true if you spend a lot of time in saltwater environments. Be wary of dry corrosion, which can develop in parts of an object that do not have regular contact with water. The usage of a sacrificial anode, which is a little chip constructed of a highly active metal, can prove to be quite beneficial. It will be inserted into the motor of the boat, and it will aid in preventing the corrosion of metals with a lower corrosion rate. Applying protective paint, finishes, or other treatments can be another effective method for preventing rust. This is a fantastic idea for spots on your boat that require more attention or are more difficult to maintain clean.

Preventive Maintenance

Maintaining good corrosion prevention practices is essential if you want your vessel to retain its current level of functionality and performance well into the future. Knowing what signals to look for and how to respond to those signs is a key stage in the process. To get started, you should focus your attention on the paint surface, as this is typically the first area where signs of rust appear. If you notice any bubbles or blisters, you need to take some corrective action to stop any more harm from occurring. Make it a practice to clean your vessel after every time you go out on the water, as well as to inspect it frequently and remove any corrosion that you find.

Why Is Corrosion Prevention Important?

To those who are just starting in the world of boating, the question of why preventing outboard corrosion is so vital in the first place is likely one that has crossed your mind. Corrosion caused by exposure to saltwater will wear away metallic elements over time, which will hurt the performance of your outboard engine. You will be relieved to know that there are several warning signals that you can watch out for to ensure that you will not experience this. First things first, make sure you give careful consideration to the paint's surface. In many cases, this is where the first signs of corrosion will manifest themselves. If you observe bubbles or blisters on your skin, you ought to take some corrective measures to avoid more damage from occurring. Having said that, a certain amount of corrosion is unavoidable due to the fundamental use of an outboard in a marine environment. This is especially true if you frequently use your boat in environments that contain saltwater. A sacrificial anode, a tiny chip constructed of highly active metal, can be of great assistance in many situations. It is inserted into your outboard motor to assist in preventing the corrosion of metals with a lower corrosion rate.

Ways To Protect Your Boat From Salt Water Corrosion

Sailing across the crystal-clear waters of the ocean is one of the few things in life that can compare to the sensation of breathing in the briny air, experiencing the vastness of the ocean, participating in water sports, traveling to coastal towns, and, of course, jumping into the cool waters of the ocean. When you own a boat, not only do you have immediate access to the wide waters, but you also get a thrilling experience virtually every time you go out on the water. Corrosion caused by saltwater is unavoidable; it is the sole drawback of having a vessel that operates in saltwater and something that all boat owners must take into consideration when caring for their vessel. Even though you can't win a battle against mother nature, you may limit the corrosive effects of seawater and safeguard your vessel from corrosion by taking the appropriate precautions.

1. Flush Your Engine

Flushing your engine with fresh water is one of the simplest yet most neglected procedures you can take to protect it from the damaging effects of exposure to saltwater. You should carry out this procedure each time your boat enters a new body of water. The removal of saltwater from the engine and the prevention of dangerous salt deposits that could contribute to corrosion are achieved by this action.

2. Apply Grease To Moving Parts

Apply thick layers of grease to all exposed sides of the metal parts; even the smallest parts require a coating. This lubrication will not only assist in keeping things flowing but will also prevent your vessel from rusting and corrosion. A marine grease should be applied on moving metal elements such as latches, hinges, linkages, bow rollers, and other similar components. In general, a thick layer of grease ought to be applied to everything made of metal.

3. Use salt-friendly paint

You need to make sure that you are using the right kind of paint to keep the appearance of your yacht appearing as fresh and new as possible. However, if you own a boat that goes in salt water, you can't just use any old paint on the hull of your boat. Finding an anti-fouling paint that is also salt-resistant will require some effort. This particular paint serves as a barrier between the seawater and the hull, preventing the metal from becoming weakened and corroded. However, it is essential to keep in mind that no paint is completely impervious to the effects of saltwater.

4. Survey your vessel

After each trip, make it a routine to inspect your ship after giving it thorough washing and cleaning. This should be done both inside and out. Are there any imperfections to be found? Exist rust, corroded sections, paint blisters, or paint that is bubbling? You're going to want to take care of these problems as quickly as possible, so pay close attention to trouble areas and don't allow them to get any bigger than they already are. To stop the future spread of rust, you should have these areas repaired by a professional who specializes in boat repair.


When it comes to the longevity and performance of an outboard motor, corrosion is one of the most significant challenges that may be faced. The two most common types of corrosion are galvanic corrosion, which takes place when dissimilar metals undergo an electrochemical reaction and stray current corrosion, which takes place when an electrified metal is submerged in a grounded body of water such as a lake, river, or ocean. Galvanic corrosion is the more common type of the two. The good news is that both types of corrosion can be prevented or at least slowed down.

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