Home » Recreation and Sports

Boat Corrosion

May 6, 2008
Buying a boat can be expensive. There are all sorts of things that you need to purchase to go with the boat such as life vests, insurance, gas, stuff for the engine, and things to keep the boat clean. It's a lot more difficult to maintain a boat than it is to maintain a car. You also have to have a place where you can dock your boat, which depending on the place will cost you quite a bit of money out of pocket. If you're lucky enough, you can dock your boat on your own property but this is usually not recommended because a) most neighborhoods won't allow it and b) it doesn't look that great to have a giant boat docked in either your front or backyard.

When you purchase a boat, there are a number of things you need to keep in mind. One of the biggest problems that boat owners face is corrosion. Contrary to what most may think, there are all sorts of corrosion that can affect your boat. The two main types of corrosion are a) erosion and b) electro-chemical erosion.

Erosion is caused by friction. If you think about it, when your boat is docked in salt water (or just water in general), or if you're out cruising the ocean in your boat, there are all sorts of particles that rub against your boat. The movement of the particles (ex: such as sand) in the water against your boat can eventually cause a great deal of wear and tear. There is also something called high speed water flow, which is a type of erosion that occurs when your boat is moving at high speeds through water. This type of erosion isn't as common, but is usually characterized by a sort of pitting that can be seen on the blades behind the propellers on a boat's engine.

Electro-chemical erosion is the main type of erosion that boat owners most often deal with. Under the umbrella of this type of corrosion are a few different types of corrosion such as electrolysis, galvanism, and crevice corrosion. Electrolysis is caused when stray currents rub against the metal parts of the bottom of the boat, causing corrosion. Galvanism is very similar and deals with the erosion of metal components of your boat due to water interacting with the different alloys. Crevice Corrosion is the most common from of corrosion found on boats made out of fiberglass. As the names suggests, it is a type of corrosion having to do with water, metal and crevices, and it's effects are similar to galvanism.

There are three ways of detecting corrosion: 1) the appearance of oxides (which is a byproduct of a metal that has chemically changed), 2) copper-based metals like brass and bronze leave green oxides 3) Aluminum corrosion leaves a white residue and stainless steel leaves a reddish-brown residue. Corrosion is inevitable. There is no material out there that can escape the eventual effects of corrosion (including human beings). However, if you are able to detect it, you might be able to take the necessary steps to repair your boat before it's too late.
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