If you own a boat or personal watercraft (PWC), you may start to see signs of corrosion. This destructive chemical process happens when metals or other materials deteriorate due to oxidation, a chemical reaction resulting in a loss of electrons in an atom or compound. Unmanaged corrosion can eventually lead to your vessel’s exterior breaking down.
What Causes Boat Corrosion?
While all metals used to make boats are prone to corrosion, some materials are more susceptible than others. Several external factors can also accelerate the process, including higher levels of oxygen in the water, increased flow rates, elevated water temperatures and tensile stress on the metal. Saltwater is also more likely to cause corrosion than fresh water due to its elevated electrolyte conductivity.
Types of Boat Corrosion
The five main types of boat corrosion include:
- Galvanic: This form of marine corrosion is especially harmful to aluminum boats due to the metal’s high chemical activity. Significant deterioration can occur in a matter of months.
- Simple: This slower type of boat corrosion occurs when the molecules on a metal surface bond with oxygen.
- Electrolytic: Boats equipped with 12-volt battery systems may experience electrical shorts. This process can cause an electric current to flow through an underwater metal fitting, causing substantial corrosion in days or hours.
- Crevice: With this corrosion type, moisture combines with a lack of oxygen, leading to deterioration in metal bolts and fittings.
- Barnacle damage: Barnacles are underwater crustaceans that often attach themselves to metal boat components and cause significant damage.
5 Tips for Preventing Boat Corrosion and Barnacles
The following steps can minimize the corrosion risk for boat owners:
- Prevent galvanic corrosion by attaching sacrificial zinc anodes to aluminum components.
- When operating a boat in a marine environment, rinse it off thoroughly with fresh water after each use.
- Promptly repair scratches, cracks or other defects that expose aluminum parts.
- Paint the boat from the bottom of the hull to the waterline.
- Get rid of barnacles by blasting them with a pressure washer or applying a barnacle repellent to the hull.
Prevent Boat Corrosion With a Floating Boat Dock
You can also stop corrosion by keeping your boat out of the water when you’re not using it. EZ Docks can provide a floating boat dock system that enables you to accomplish the task. Contact us to learn more about preventing boat corrosion damage today.