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Proper Boat Care After Use In Salt

james 14james 14 Posts: 3,111 Moderator
I have little to no experience with boat use in salt water. That is going to change quickly over the next few months with my recent purchase of a flats boat. I want to make sure I protect my investment with proper care and maintenance and I'd rather start by over-doing it than half-assing it and possibly having problems.

Assume I know nothing...what should I do to protect hull, motor, trailer, wiring, gear, etc?

Replies

  • loganh3101loganh3101 Fernandina Beach, FLPosts: 3 Greenhorn
    The first thing I do is put on the ear muffs and put a squirt of Dawn dish soap down the water hose, hook it up and flush the engine.  After it has flushed for ten to fifteen minutes, I shut down the engine and close the gas tank vent, then I rinse down my rods and reels. Next I put some Dawn in a five gallon bucket and fill it and soap the boat and trailer down good and rinse.  Then I shoot a squirt of grease into the bearing buddies.  The I give everything a re-rinse concentrating on the live well and storage compartments.  The re-rinse the frame paying particular attention winch and strap, the wheels and springs, and the tie down ratchets.  
  • SaltygatorvetSaltygatorvet TallahasseePosts: 5,807 Admiral
    If you want to take the wax of your hull, dawn is the best soap to use. If you want to keep your wax, get a boat soap from star brite or west marine. Ask me how I know 
    You should have been here yesterday
  • MelbourneMarkMelbourneMark Posts: 3,158 Captain
    I flush the motor as soon as I get home.  I unpack while it's running. 
    (Some ramps have water, and I keep a hose in the bed of truck)

    i rinse down down the boat, and use boat soap and brush if it's bloody or messy. (I also keep a small bristle brush on board and get blood/guts off when fresh) 

    I spray down the trailer really well, as salt will kill all metal over time. 

    You will learn about wiring in saltwater.   I'm assuming your flats boat has decent wiring now 
  • snookaffinitysnookaffinity Naples, FLPosts: 1,243 Officer
    My procedure after each trip. Flush the outboard using muffs. Pressure spray the boat and trailer. Brush on boat or car soap on every thing. Pressure rinse and dry everything. Put WD40 on the steering shaft on the motor, no grease. Park it in the garage. Charge the trolling batteries. I purchased my flats boat new in 1998, use it on the average of twice a week and still have the same cable steering with zero problems.  
    "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." - Mark Twain
  • finbullyfinbully Posts: 877 Officer
    edited April 2019 #6
    james 14 said:
    Assume I know nothing...what should I do to protect hull, motor, trailer, wiring, gear, etc?
    Yes! Fresh water is your best friend here. Flush, flush, flush the motor after each use. Don't ever skip doing this.You can go further by using Salt Away, dielectric grease and marine grease to begin with.
  • bordeauxbordeaux Posts: 120 Deckhand
    First thing you need to do if you have not already done it is get you some Rejex and apply to the entire hull, console and engine. You can thank me later.

    Then apply some Woody's Wax to the non skid and aluminum and repeat every 2 to 3 months. Again, you can thank me later.

    As already mentioned use a good boat soap and wash the entire boat rinse well towel dry and put back into the garage

    Get you a good trickle charger and keep your batteries on charge whenever not is use, if you have a trolling motor flip the breaker or unplug the trolling motor while the batteries are on charge 

    A little extra work after every trip will really show after owning it for several years
    2019 Beavertail Skiff Vengeance
  • FlecFlec Posts: 731 Officer
    I have Vortex trailer wheel hubs and never have to do anything to them. Also if you have springs on your trailer for suspension you should spray them with WD40 after every trip, and anything else that is steel or galvanized steel. If you use the boat in the ocean you should remove the motor cowling and check for salt deposits under there and rinse it off if needed.
  • MarkiamMarkiam East Orlando Posts: 25 Deckhand
    Keep a good coating of a silicone spray on all trailer parts and pieces, your trailer sits with salt on it for the 6-8-10 hours after launch unless boat ramp has fresh water to hose off.
  • james 14james 14 Posts: 3,111 Moderator
    There are a few products (CRC Marine, Fluid Film, etc) which spray on and stick to the surface to provide corrosion protection. I know the techs at my dealer sprayed many of the electrical/battery connections with something like this that dries a brownish color. It appears I can hit some of the trailer parts with this and it'll stick better and for longer than WD-40. What I wonder is if I can spray something like this under the engine cowling to protect some of those parts...or if it's even necessary since it seems the cowling keeps it sealed pretty well.

    For now the hull is waxed with 3M marine wax because I had half of a tin on hand but I can see one of the polymer sealants like Rejex in my future.
  • finbullyfinbully Posts: 877 Officer
    Use, rinse, enjoy, repeat.

    You will never stop all corrosion no matter what you do or how much money and how many hours you spend protecting the rig. Provide air circulation in the boat's compartments, store indoors (garage) if possible. If stored outside, cover the motor so birds do not build nests in the cowling. Some patina is a cool thing in my opinion - shows you are using it as was intended.
  • ALASKA GUYALASKA GUY Posts: 119 Deckhand
    Salt away, west marine sells it,  you run it through your motor and rinse the boat trailer with it. I lost a 300 hr 115 Suzuki to salt water eating the motor from the inside out,  My new 140 gets Saltaway run through it
  • hatcityhatcity Stuart,FLPosts: 3,446 Captain
    I took a plastic 55 gal. drum, cut in half and would drop the lower end in it. fill with fresh water, start engine and let it flush out. need to keep an eye on the water level
    Used turtle Wax to wash everything down-several times
    rinse the trailer well
    My trailer had oil bath wheels. Keep an eye on the oil level, and what it looks like
    I was not born stupid, just had lots of practice
  • plumber1969plumber1969 Posts: 370 Deckhand
    Salt away, west marine sells it,  you run it through your motor and rinse the boat trailer with it. I lost a 300 hr 115 Suzuki to salt water eating the motor from the inside out,  My new 140 gets Saltaway run through it
    Did the dealer ever tell you what happened? I flush my new 200 Suzuki for a good 15-20 minutes with only fresh water. 
    2019 Frontier 2014 
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 16,059 AG
    i flush my motor with fresh water and maybe a sploosh of dawn dish detergent.   I have heard that sometimes that salt away will gel the salt and that stuff could gum up water passages.    
    You can't pet a dead dog back to life 
  • mdemottmdemott Posts: 86 Deckhand

    I use a oscillating sprinkler hooked to a hose to clean the underside of the trailer with fresh water. I move it around to get the axel, wheels, cross members and bunks clean of salt.

    Everything else has been covered previously in this thread. 


  • TerribleTedTerribleTed Posts: 320 Deckhand
    Supposedly rising your rods (reels) only put salt and water inside the reels.  I been rising my rods for 35 years still have the same senator and pole from when I was 15 ( 113 on a hurricane rod) By the way I am over 50 now. I wash the boat  and generally need bleach to get the blood stains off. rise the trailer the inside of the boat and everything that might have salt on it. yes I use corrosion blocker on trailers motor electrical wiring pc boards. make sure what you use is good for each.  
  • horseradishhorseradish Posts: 87 Greenhorn
    Hope for rain.
    A SeaStrike 180 with 115 Yam , A Calm Wife and a Spunky Cairn Terrier. IT'S ALL GOOD!
  • LostconchLostconch Posts: 1,020 Officer
    edited May 2019 #20
    WD40 is water displacement formula 40. It is Ok if you are lubricating once or twice a week but it will dry out much quicker than a real lubricant. Get a marine grade lube if you are going to leave the boat set for any length of time. I can't imagine spraying WD40 on trailer springs does anything other than making you feel better
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 16,059 AG
    Lostconch said:
    WD40 is water displacement formula 40. It is Ok if you are lubricating once or twice a week but it will dry out much quicker than a real lubricant. Get a marine grade lube if you are going to leave the boat set for any length of time. I can't imagine spraying WD40 on trailer springs does anything other than making you feel better
    It gets the water off but it does zero for lubrication.   For my trailer i have sprayed some parts with corrosion x it's thick and nasty but it stays on there as a salt inhibitor.   I sprayed  my last trailer when i  installed the new leaf springs and after 6 months of dunking in salt water they still didn't have any rust on them visibly.  
    You can't pet a dead dog back to life 
  • livebaitlivebait Posts: 793 Officer
    Jeez-Louise go fishing!!!!!!!!
  • JEN'S REVENGEJEN'S REVENGE Posts: 661 Officer
    Don't use dawn anywhere, except on your dishes. Definitely don't shoot it through the motor. And don't buy wd 40 for anything. Use lots of fresh water and Orpine
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Mogan MasterMogan Master Posts: 82 Greenhorn
    I wanted to share how I rinse off the trailer and underside of the boat. I tapped into the mainline of my irrigation system in rear of my property and brought sch40 pipe up, added a boiler drain and manual ball valve and took the line underground and installed (4) 15’ full circle spray nozzles in a row spaced at 10’ on regular spray body’s. Maybe $50-$75 in material and it works great. 
    2017 IBW Morada 22 250SHO *August delivery

    2013 Maverick 18 HPX 115 ProXS *Sold
  • Mogan MasterMogan Master Posts: 82 Greenhorn
    I’ve been using it for 6+ years, pics available for anyone interested. 
    2017 IBW Morada 22 250SHO *August delivery

    2013 Maverick 18 HPX 115 ProXS *Sold
  • mdemottmdemott Posts: 86 Deckhand

    Older gentleman once told me he painted his trailer springs with STP motor treatment. It worked it's way into the springs and prevented rust. Springs lasted ten years before replacement.
    Suspect the local FWC authority would frown oil sheen as he dunked the trailer.

  • Mogan MasterMogan Master Posts: 82 Greenhorn
    ^^^ Some people  up north will have the underside of their cars sprayed with used oil before winter and it’s definitely frowned upon. Referring to the practice some do in the north before winter, pretty sure it’s illegal. Same principle as what was mentioned. 
    2017 IBW Morada 22 250SHO *August delivery

    2013 Maverick 18 HPX 115 ProXS *Sold
  • FlecFlec Posts: 731 Officer
    I have used WD40 on my trailer parts for 33 years and 4 different trailers and have never had to replace my springs. It works fine and does not collect as much crap as stickier lubes. No rust on my springs.
  • james 14james 14 Posts: 3,111 Moderator
    Flec said:
    I have used WD40 on my trailer parts for 33 years and 4 different trailers and have never had to replace my springs. It works fine and does not collect as much crap as stickier lubes. No rust on my springs.
    Fortunately I have torsion springs but I did buy a gallon of WD40 and a spray bottle. I take the bottle with me and spray down potential trouble spots after putting the boat in the water. It's much easier to access them at that time and takes only 2-3 minutes. Buying the gallon is MUCH cheaper and I've barely gone through any of it.
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