A saltwater boat is a boat, usually an open boat with a low freeboard that uses saltwater (salty seawater) as its principal means of flotation. Salt Water boats are typically used for fishing, sailing, or powerboating. They include tinnies (tinny), prams, whalers, and runabouts among other styles.
Saltwater boats are designed to withstand the corrosive effects of the saltwater environment which exposes them to many hazards – both human and natural. Their constituent components must be properly planned, selected, and tested to ensure their durability in this tough environment. The correct choice of materials normally results in extended service life along with minimization of expensive maintenance expenses; however, are limits imposed by the nature of the environment itself.
Saltwater Boat Construction
Construction Salt Water Boat Parts – a saltwater boat is constructed using the same materials and components that are more typically found in freshwater types. However, some specific differences must be understood. Here are some of the more important differences:
Choosing & Utilising Materials For A Saltwater Boat
There are many choices of marine-grade materials available for use on your boat, but not all are suitable for use on saltwater boats – this is particularly true with metals. The major factor governing the suitability of any material is resistant to corrosion (the deterioration which occurs when exposed to oxygen) and here’s where it gets interesting.
Use Of Fasteners On A Salt Water Boat
Marine-grade fasteners are readily available in stainless steel or other metals but are very often more expensive. All metal fasteners will corrode unless specifically designed for use on boats where corrosion is an issue. Stainless steel will offer the longest service life, but even that will deteriorate over time.
Bottom Paint For A Saltwater Boat
Bottom paint used to be simple enough with just a red/white/blue stripe running along the length of your vessel being adequate protection. However, things have changed and now boat manufacturers recommend specific bottom paints for different conditions. The old standby “Anti Foul” paint was one type while newer types include “Traction Pads” which are generally better all-rounders if you are not sure of the conditions you will be encountering.
Painting A Salt Water Boat
Exterior painting is used for aesthetic purposes but also helps protect your boat from the destructive effects of corrosion. The paint used must have suitable resistance to degradation by saltwater, ultraviolet light, and many other environmental factors. There are many marine-grade paints available for this purpose including conventional 2 pack enamel or multiple components “catalysed” epoxy systems that offer longer service life.
Corrosion of Metals on A Saltwater Boat
It’s nasty, so don’t let it happen! Freshwater boats are not immune to corrosion either as any experienced boater will tell you. However, freshwater corrosion is usually much less severe than that experienced on saltwater boats. All metals are subject to corrosion if exposed to oxygen (air) and the resultant chemical reaction, but fighting it is an ongoing battle with a variety of techniques being employed.
Corrosion Protection For A Saltwater Boat
A whole topic in itself! There are many ways to protect your boat from corrosion including barrier coatings, sacrificial anodes, corrosive inhibiting sprays, etc. Protective barrier coatings have been used for many years now and most manufacturers apply them as standard practice during the construction of new vessels along with sacrificial anodes which help protect hulls from electrolytic corrosion caused by stray electrical currents or stray metal fragments embedded in the bottom paint film.