Contact Us

Boat Protection: Saltwater Care Differs from Freshwater Care

by Scott Myers

There are a lot of reasons for moving to Florida, especially Southwest Florida.. More and more people are taking advantage of the Florida lifestyle. Our Sunshine State has so much to offer all year round. Boating is one of the fun pastimes that so many residents and visitors love to experience.  

Related Blog: The Importance of Cleaning Your Boat After a Day on the Water


Whatever your boating skills are, boat care is essential for cruising the salty waters in the Gulf of Mexico. Knowing the problems and how to care for your boat in the saltwater is a smart way to start an enjoyable boating experience in the waters around our sunny state.

Question #1: Does the Salt in the Gulf Water Hurt Boats?

The answer is yes. It's a good idea to understand the effects of salt water before you drop a boat into the salty sea, especially if you're bringing down a watercraft that's specific to freshwater boating. You will find out, "not all water is created equal." 

Corrosion is a problem that needs constant attention and prevention. "Saltwater can corrode metal up to 10 times faster."

Question #2: Are There Differences in Caring for a Boat in Salt Water vs. Fresh Water?

The answer is yes. As the Go Downsize article suggests, there are steps to take to keep your boat from the perils of saltwater corrosion that can help you care for your boat in gulf waters. 

  1. The sacrificial anodes are different for saltwater boats versus freshwater boats. In place of magnesium anodes for freshwater crafts, you will need to use zinc or aluminum in saltwater. 
  2. Flushing the salty water out of the motors is vital to mitigating corrosion. As noted, outboards are easier to clean from sterndrives. If you're in the market for a water vessel, you will want to weigh your options between an outboard versus a sterndrive motor.
  3. Bottom paint is one factor for boats in saltwater. 
  4. Marine-grade electrical and hardware are essential for boating in saltwater. There is a difference between marine-grade and automotive wiring
  5. You will want to know all about barnacles before putting your boat in salt-laden water. Freshwater boaters do not have to worry about these crusty bottom dwellers. 
  6. Keeping your boat's parts well-lubricated isn't only to "keep things moving, it also protects against water intrusion and rust."
  7. Regarding a boat trailer, aluminum is the material that can withstand the harsh effects of saltwater.

Question #3: Are Special Cleaning Techniques Used for Saltwater Boats?

The answer is yes. A big part of keeping your boat in tip-top condition is proper cleaning. Without it, you will quickly see how saltwater will affect your boat's appearance. You will notice your paint fading due to oxidation, and that will take a lot of elbow grease to fix. 

When you're new to saltwater boating, you will want to equip yourself with the essentials for keeping your boat clean, free of "salt, oils, and mildew."

Question #4: Are Boat Lifts Worth the Investment?

The answer is yes. There will be many days and nights that your boat will not be in use. A boat lift has multiple benefits.

  1. Hull protection from corrosion, barnacles, and one we forgot to mention. Algae growth is another problem when you leave your boat in the water.
  2. Winds can cause rough waters, with heavy debris hitting the boat with force. A boat lift offers security from possible in-water damage.
  3. A boat lift offers convenient and safe access in and out of your boat. 
  4. You will enjoy your boat more, saving time on keeping it in the best condition.

Question #5: Can You Feel Confident with Duncan Seawall, Dock & Boat Lift, LLC?

The answer is yes. With decades of serving our neighbors, we are the marine construction experts in Southwest Florida for helping commercial and residential customers enjoy their waterfront lifestyle with quality construction and materials. At Duncan Seawall, Dock & Boat Lift, LLC, we are a dedicated distributor of Golden Boat Lifts, a brand well-known and respected worldwide.

One of our goals is to make you feel confident with your decision to partner with our team for all of your marine construction needs. Our dock or boat lift process is down to a science. If and when we vary from our timeline, we never compromise the quality of our construction projects. Whatever marine construction questions you may have, we have the answers at Duncan Seawall, Dock & Boat Lift, LLC. 


Complete Guide to Boat Lifts

boat maintenance sarasota boat maintenance boat cleaning

Subscribe to our blog

Download Our Product Catalog


Download Our Complete Guide to Seawalls