Preventing Corrosion on Your Aluminum Boat

Preventing Corrosion on Your Aluminum Boat

Are you the proud owner of an aluminum boat? Whether you use it for fishing, cruising, watersports or transport, your aluminum boat is built tough and made to withstand most of the hazards of boating. However, one key issue that aluminum may suffer from is corrosion. If you’re in a freshwater environment, this may not be as much of a concern, but as soon as you take your aluminum boat off the Pacific Coast, you may notice corrosion start to form.

Fortunately, as a responsible boat owner, there are a few things you can do to prevent this from happening, allowing you to protect your investment and make sure that your boat lasts you well for years to come. As your Seattle-area aluminum boat dealer, Master Marine is here to give you the tips you need to prevent corrosion from forming on your aluminum boat.

How Does Corrosion Occur?

It’s time for a brief science lesson! The type of corrosion that occurs with aluminum in saltwater is galvanic corrosion, which is the result of a metal in an electrically conductive solution (like saltwater) giving up atoms when it’s joined up with a dissimilar metal in that very same solution. This atom loss occurs because the two metals in the electrolyte pool (a.k.a. saltwater) develop positive and negative charges, similar to a battery: one is the anode (positive charge) and one is the cathode (negative charge). That negatively charged metal draws electrons from the positively charged metal, which erodes the metal over time, causing corrosion. A bronze or other metal fitting on your boat or even a neighboring vessel in the water can be the alternate metal that corrodes your aluminum hull.

What Can You Do?

The American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) recommends that aluminum boats be painted with a protective coating to shield them from the kind of electrical reaction that occurs in saltwater with mixing metals. Usually, this coating only needs to be applied below the waterline, as aluminum that’s exposed to the oxygen in air will develop a film of aluminum oxide that bonds tightly to the metal and prevents corrosion from even occurring. You’ve probably noticed that many large vessels leave their aluminum bare above the waterline because of this fact.

Aside from making sure your craft is painted, you can also use zinc anodes, which are connected to the aluminum on a boat or on its motor via wiring, and these serve to add extra electrons to the aluminum when the two metals come into contact with saltwater. This means that the zinc anode itself erodes, rather than the aluminum. It can be tricky to determine how many of these anodes you need and where to place them, so it’s good to talk to a professional about it.

Additional Measures

There are a few other things you can do to help prevent corrosion on your boat:

  • Repair paint chipping and scratches as soon as possible if they leave bare metal exposed.
  • Don’t use a lubricant containing graphite on your aluminum boat.
  • Never use an automotive battery charger on your boat.
  • Ensure that all coatings and paints you use are designed specifically for aluminum.
  • Rinse your boat with fresh water after every use to remove salt residue.
  • Avoid mixing metals wherever possible.

We hope this guide helps you to stop corrosion on your craft! Don’t be afraid to get in touch with the service department here at Master Marine if you’d like some additional assistance with your aluminum boat. And if you still need a boat, then stop by our Seattle dealership today to browse our vast inventory of new and used aluminum boats for sale. Master Marine proudly serves our Puget Sound neighbors in the city of Tacoma, Washington, as well as the greater Seattle metropolitan area.