How to Prevent Saltwater Damage to Your Boat
Sure, washing saltwater off the boat after another successful fishing trip isn’t fun. It can be a chore, but it’s necessary to your craft’s health. Saltwater—and salt spray, for that matter—can corrode your boat’s surfaces over time. If you want to keep the surface untarnished, unstained and uncracked, check out the following saltwater cleaning tips.
Tip One: Use Marine Wax
As they say: The best saltwater removal trick is one of prevention. Make it difficult for salt crystals to stick to your boat. A coat of marine wax, applied before and after prime season, can make all the difference. Marine wax creates a protective barrier on your craft—also serving as a great base for gel coats and finishes.
Tip Two: Clean Blood and Slime
After a good haul, make sure to clean up residual blood and slime from the deck. This also goes for grimy livewells. Blood, sludge, dirt and even oil residue can wreak havoc on your boat’s surfaces. Once the sun hits these fluids, they’ll bake onto their respective surfaces. To remove them, you’ll need to scrub—and hard. It’s a good idea to use a long-handled boat brush to clean the craft’s sides, too.
Tip Three: Stock Up on Good Equipment
We’ve already mentioned the long-handled brush, but we’ll mention some other cleaning necessities. Pick up a microfiber cloth, too, for deep, nonabrasive cleaning sessions. Consider purchasing some mildew stain remover, too, as it can lift surface dirt—and, by proxy, stuck salt crystals. A tough handled scrub pad kit, too, is useful for sidewall cleaning.
Tip Four: Repair Paint Chips and Scratches
If your boat has taken a beating, get any nicks, dings and scratches repaired quickly. Cracked paint, scratches and even dents can expose your boat’s underlying metal surfaces. If they’re not fixed quickly, saltwater will find its way to these surfaces. Make sure to only use coatings and primers designed for aluminum, too, to avoid corroding the very spaces you’re trying to protect.
Tip Five: Avoid Graphite Aluminum Lubricants
Among the many materials present in lubricant mix, graphite can cause damage to your boat’s surfaces. While graphite won’t corrode aluminum, itself, it reacts with the chloride ions in saltwater. This causes galvanic corrosion to occur—which can damage your boat over time.
Tip Six: Give the Boat a Good Wash
Give your boat a decent scrub-down after every use. Before you start scrubbing, though, rinse it from top to bottom with fresh water. Fresh water removes salt crystals easily—also prepping your boat for a more in-depth soap cleaning.
And there you have it! With perseverance, preventative care and a little attention to detail, you can make sure your boat is as salt-free as possible. Remember: Clean your watercraft after every use. If you do, it’ll give you many years of enjoyment.
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