Can You Take Fiberglass Boat in Saltwater? | Beginners Guide

Can you take a fiberglass boat in saltwater? Yes, you can take your fiberglass boat to saltwater. Though there are certain things you might need to take care of before and after completion of your fishing or fun trip.

Exposure to saltwater can lead to various problems in your fiberglass boats. Here we will discuss how saltwater affects your fiberglass boats and ways to solve this problem.

Below we will enlist the problems that you might face when your fiberglass boat is in saltwater:

  1. Saltwater being corrosive will harm all the exposed metal sections of your fiberglass boat.
  2. The hull of your fiberglass boat might develop spider web cracks because of the salt present in seawater.
  3. Electronic gadgets can get severely damaged because of the moisture present in saltwater.
  4. The gel coat present in your fiberglass boat can wear off pretty fast if your fiberglass boat is exposed to saltwater quite often.
  5. If, you are experiencing stability issues in saltwater make sure your hull design is a deep V, which offers more stability in saltwater.
  6. The electrolysis reaction in saltwater leads to engine corrosion most of the time. Make sure you always perform periodic checks for your engine.

Saltwater and Corrosion on Your Fiberglass Boat

Fiberglass boats were manufactured to avoid corrosion in saltwater, but this does not guarantee other sections of the boat which are not made of fiberglass to be corrosion-free.

Saltwater very badly corrodes the metal sections of your fiberglass boat. The presence of salt makes sure the exposed metals sections lose their electrons pretty fast. Only stainless steel of grade 316 can withstand such a high corrosion level.

Application of baking soda solution over the exposed sections can minimize this effect but this is not a guaranteed method. We must always ensure the exposed metals have some sort of protective layer sprayed over them.

Hull Integrity in Saltwater

The hull of your fiberglass boat is the area where most of the wear and tear is going to happen in saltwater. Over time the hull is bound to develop spider web cracks and blisters. The spider web cracks appearing can be repaired quite easily. One must pay close attention to the hull integrity quite periodically if you are a regular saltwater angler.

Taking Care of Electronic Gadgets in Saltwater

Modern boats come loaded with electronic gadgets like GPS navigation, hour meter, fishfinder, chart plotter, VHF marine radio to name a few.

All electronic gadgets have a mounted PCB or a printed circuit board. Saltwater is the worst enemy for your electronic devices and wires. Ensure to dry out your electronic devices once you are out of saltwater and then clean them properly with a damp cloth.

If, you have an existing boat make sure to upgrade your electrical and electronic gadgets to a saltwater marina.

Gel Coat Protection in Saltwater

If, you take your fiberglass boat quite often gel coat protection layer will eventually wear off and turn into blisters. One must always scrub these blisters off and apply a fresh layer of gel coat.

These blisters technically appear because of the presence of salt being absorbed over time. An oxidation remover solution is your best bet for this problem. Make sure to rewax the gel coat over time.

Stability Issues of Fiberglass Boat in Saltwater

If, you are planning to buy a fiberglass boat and take it to saltwater always keep in mind to have a deep V hull design for your boat. This will ensure you have maximum stability in choppy water. Most boaters overlook this point.

One needs to always plan well in advance about your requirement. For old boats which are not deep V-type make sure you don’t go too far away offshore.

Engine Corrosion in Saltwater

Modern outboards are designed to withstand both salt and fresh water. But saltwater comes with salt which is extremely harmful to your outboard engine. After every ride, one must thoroughly rinse the engine inwards and outwards to prevent any form of corrosion on the outboard.

Motor manufacturers these days rely heavily on the usage of marina grade steel over copper as marina grade steel is very much resistant to saltwater corrosion.

How Long Can You Leave a Boat in Saltwater?

Modern fiberglass boats can stay on saltwater for a couple of weeks without much hassle. Make sure to check algae growths regularly. Keep a close eye on the boat manufacturer warranty issue you might face doing this.

How Do You Clean a Boat Engine After Saltwater?

After coming out of saltwater make sure to rinse the outboard engine with fresh water with a hose. After you are done with the rinsing make sure to flush your engine properly. Ensure there is no trace of salt in your engine.

Salt badly affects the pistons and gears present in your engine. Also, make sure to protect your engine from direct sunlight. Make it a habit of timely greasing the moving components of the engine. This will make your outboards last a long time.

What Happens if You Don’t Clean the Bottom of Your Boat?

The hull of your boat is the place where most marine species and organisms inhibit. Over time this grows to a substantial amount making your boat completely useless. These organisms also eat away your gel coat making the boat layer percolate.

For bigger boats, it is always advisable to hire a bottom cleaning service and clean the bottom of your boat periodically. Boats in North Carolina need to be regularly checked for these growings. The infestation level is quite high in this area.

Service providers charge per foot of boat to be cleaned.

How Do You Clean Corroded Plugs in Your Boat?

 Make sure to gently rub these with a soft toothbrush and then apply a fast-drying electrical contact cleaner. These cleaners are ideal for removing oil, dust, and suspended water particles from your delicate electrical parts. These cleaners dry out pretty fast and remove 90 percent of surface infestation.

How Do You Prevent Corrosion on Marine Electrical Terminals?

Usage of dielectric grease at connection terminals prohibits corrosion to a great extent. These are readily available at stores and can be ordered online as well. The dielectric grease forms a waxy layer on top of your electric terminals preventing salt from penetrating through them.

Once in a while, we need to ensure this waxy film is intact over the terminals. The dielectric grease also prevents plastic and rubber in electrical from heating and burning.

It is always advisable to get yourself these greases if you are into regular saltwater boating. 

What Is the Best Way to Protect Vinyl Boat Seats?

Make sure you have marine-grade vinyl seats installed on your boat. Washing the vinyl with boat soaps quite regularly will ensure your vinyl seats remain protected from mildew. A vinyl paint restorer can be used as well to make those seats shine. 

What Is Boat Soap?

Deposition of salt, grime, grease, and stains is quite common in fiberglass boats. Normal soap water is not enough to clean the upper and lower decks.

Marine-grade soaps and solutions should be used to clean your boats and fittings. Car soaps should never be used to clean the exterior and interior of your boats.

Conclude :

There is no problem taking your fiberglass boat in saltwater. We, need to ensure taking proper care of the hull, electrical systems, and other exposed sections of the boat so that saltwater can do no harm to them.