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How to Prevent Your Boat From Rusting

by Duncan Seawall

Whether you're an avid boater or a casual fisher, preserving your boat is important. Boats are an investment and, like any important purchase, require regular maintenance to keep them in peak condition. Rust is one of the most common enemies of boat owners; if left untreated, it can lead to costly repairs or the loss of the boat.

As a boat owner, you should be proactive about rust prevention and take steps now to help ensure long-term preservation – luckily, there are several easy ways to ward off rusting! You can keep your boat rust-free for years with the right preventive measures and regular maintenance. Here are five tips to help prevent rust on your boat:

1. Clean Your Boat Regularly

A crucial part of how to prevent rust on your boat is regular cleaning. This means washing the entire exterior with a cleaner specially designed for boats and marine surfaces. The cleaner should eliminate any dirt, salt, or other materials that could speed up corrosion and oxidation. Make sure you let it sit before rinsing it off with fresh water—this gives the cleaner time to do its job. 

2. Inspect Vulnerable Areas Regularly

Look out for rust spots forming in common areas of wear and tear, such as propellers, motors, and steering systems—these are often vulnerable to corrosion because they come into contact with water more frequently than other parts of the boat. Check that the paint on these areas is still intact, and if any rust has started to form, take action immediately.

3. Apply a Protective Coating

Applying a protective coating is one of the best ways to stop my boat from rusting. A coat of paint or epoxy can form a barrier between the metal and any moisture, preventing it from corroding. Make sure you clean and prepare the surface before applying any coatings so that they'll be effective. You should also check how often you need to reapply them—some last longer than others, but they all need to be replaced eventually.


4. Keep Your Boat Dry When You Store It

Moisture is one of the leading causes of rust, so if you're planning to store your boat for a long period, ensure it's completely dry before putting it away. Start by drying off any excess water on the surface with a chamois or microfiber cloth, and then use a fan to keep air circulating the entire boat. If you live in a humid climate, consider investing in an additional dehumidifier to help keep moisture levels down inside the storage space.

5. Treat Rust Early

Rust often takes time to form, that's why regularly inspecting your boat for rust spots is so important. If you catch them early, they're much easier to treat than if they've been left to spread unchecked. If you spot a patch of rust, make sure you begin treatment as soon as possible. Start by using an abrasive brush or sandpaper to remove any loose flakes that may be present. Then use a special rust remover product or even white vinegar mixed with baking soda or salt to dissolve the remaining corrosion. Once the surface has been cleaned off and dried again, apply a protective coating such as paint or epoxy so that the metal is shielded from any further exposure to moisture. 

By following the simple tips above, you can prevent your boat from rusting and maintain its structural integrity and resale value. Good maintenance practices go a long way toward preserving your investment. If you live in Southwest Florida and need help with preventing or repairing rust damage, contact Duncan Seawall today!

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