5 Ways to Protect Your Boat From Salt Water Corrosion

There are few experiences in life better than sailing the clear ocean waters – breathing in the salty air, experiencing the vastness of the ocean, enjoying water sports, visiting shoreline towns, and of course, taking a dive into the refreshing waters. Owning a boat gives you immediate access to the open waters and provides a thrilling experience just about every time! Despite the many joys of being a boat owner, however, the one headache we all can agree on is saltwater corrosion. 


Saltwater corrosion is inevitable – it’s the one consequence of owning a saltwater vessel and something all boat owners must consider when caring for their vessel. Although you can’t fight mother nature, you can take steps to protect your vessel against corrosion and prevent the damaging effects of saltwater. 


  1. Give your boat a thorough wash down after each trip. Keeping your boat clean and free from saltwater is the most crucial part of this process. You’ll need to remove all traces of saltwater in order to protect your vessel from corrosion. Begin by thoroughly rinsing your vessel with fresh water, and be sure to pay special attention to metal components, as they are the most susceptible to saltwater corrosion. Second, you’ll need to scrub your vessel, from bow to stern, with soap and water. We recommend a bristled brush to ensure you’re removing all traces of salt. Follow this by another wash down, ensuring all soap is washed away. If you use a boat trailer, you should also wash your trailer thoroughly to ensure it’s free from saltwater too.

  2. Flush your engine. One of the easiest yet most overlooked steps to protect against saltwater corrosion is flushing your engine with fresh water. You’ll want to do this every time your boat leaves the ocean. This action removes saltwater from the engine and prevents harmful salt deposits from contributing to corrosion.

  3. Apply grease to moving parts. Provide generous coats of grease on all sides of exposed metal parts – even the smallest parts need a coating. Not only will this lubrication help keep things moving, but it also protects your vessel against corrosion and rust. You’ll want to apply a marine grease to moving metal parts like latches, hinges, linkages, bow rollers, and the like. Essentially, anything metal should be given a hefty coat of grease. Double-check with your engine owner’s manual to ensure you aren’t missing any metal parts that need lubrication.

  4. Use salt-friendly paint. To keep your boat looking fresh and new, you’ll want to make sure you’re using an appropriate paint. When you own a saltwater vessel, though, you can’t use any old paint on your hull. You’ll have to take the time to find a salt-friendly, anti-fouling paint. This paint acts as a barrier between the saltwater and hull, and prevents weakening and corrosion of metal. Still, it’s important to keep in mind that no paint is invincible against saltwater. You’ll still need to regularly wash down and scrub your vessel after trips in saltwater.

  5. Survey your vessel. Following voyages, get in the habit of surveying your vessel after you’ve thoroughly washed and scrubbed it. Are there any blemishes? Any rust, corroded parts, blisters, or bubbling paint? Pay close attention to problem areas and don’t let them grow any larger – you’ll want to take care of these issues as soon as possible. Take your boat to a specialist and have these spots fixed to prevent further corrosion.

The Yard Brisbane is your one-stop shop when it comes to marine life. Our team provides pressure-washing to help boat owners fight against saltwater corrosion. Interested in learning more? View our services.