Engines are made from metal, which is likely to corrode and rust from the saltwater without proper maintenance. Once your engine has endured a day out in the ocean, rinse both the engine and cooling system down with freshwater. Look at your engine’s owner’s manual to check how your specific make and model should be washed. This should be done every single time your engine has been exposed to saltwater. Failure to remove the salt can lead to persistent surface corrosion of the engine.
Boats that are built for saltwater have cooling systems with the capability to flush out the saltwater on their own. As an extra precaution, I would recommend rinsing it down manually as well.
The fiberglass on the hull of your boat is more likely to fade faster and develop scratches in saltwater compared to a boat left in freshwater. To slow down this process, consistently rinse the hull of your boat.
Please note: some boats have hulls that are built for freshwater, while others can withstand saltwater conditions. What does this mean exactly? A freshwater hull is designed to function closer to shore and a saltwater hull can endure the deep water and rocky conditions of the ocean. Before taking a freshwater boat out in the ocean, be sure your hull has the strength to manage in a saltwater setting.
A saltwater boater should always have the electrical areas of their boat at the top of their mind. The salt could be extremely damaging to the metals and electrical wiring of a boat. Keep these wires as dry as possible and reseal them as needed.
When boating in saltwater, the best kind of paint for your hull is antifouling paint. A coat of this will act as a barrier between the salt and the hull, preventing corrosion and weakening of the metal.
It is impossible to avoid corrosion completely, but it is possible to prolong the process with the proper maintenance precautions. Take the time to care for your watercraft and enjoy your time out in the open ocean!