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Taking Your Boat into Salt Water

A lot of recreational boating enthusiasts stick to the lakes and fresh-water rivers inland and never go to the ocean, where the salt water presents a whole new slate of challenges. So what if you decide to take your boat from indoor storage in the Inland Empire out to the ocean for a little cruise, what steps should you take?

The first thing to remember is that the salt will corrode and rust metal surfaces, and that includes your engine, whether inboard or outboard. The foremost point to keep in mind is that, once your engine has been exposed to the salt water, your cooling system is going to need to be immediately flushed with fresh water. Your owner's manual should explain this in detail.

The engine itself will also need to be cleaned to remove the salt to prevent any lingering exterior corrosion.

As for the metal fittings on your boat, you'll need to clean those after being out to sea and coat them with WD40. The whole boat itself, naturally, should always be washed down with clean, fresh water after being out in the sea salt.

Now, it's the engine, of course, that's the most costly and delicate component of your boat. This is one reason that some boats are designed solely for fresh water use and some for salt water usage. Now, this doesn't mean that a salt water boat can't easily survive in fresh water, but it does mean you have to be extra careful if you're planning an ocean jaunt in a fresh water vessel.

One boat owner discussing this issue on a boating forum emphasized how easy it is to overlook rust and corrosion after being out in the salt water. He noted:

"There are a couple of bolts on the inside of my skis that I didn't see after the first run, and they started to show signs of rusting. Sprayed those as soon as I found them, and now I try to hit every little area that I can. Salt water destroys boats if you don't clean them afterwards."

(It destroys skis too, evidently.)

Whether you take your boat to fresh or salt water venues, you can count on Premier Indoor Storage in Corona, Calif., to care for your boat both before and after your outings. Our Mercruiser Mechanics can go even a step further and repair any damage that occurs, whether from routine use or by accident, and our commitment to valet service means that your boat will be ready to pick up the moment you need it. In fact, we at Premier will even deliver it to your destination and pick it up afterward.

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