How to Protect Aluminum Boats in Saltwater

Although aluminum boats are not as common today as they were before, there are still plenty of people who enjoy the feel and look that these vessels provide. Whether you prefer fishing or sailing, an aluminum boat can be a great choice for your next purchase so long as it is properly cared for to ensure its longevity over time – take the time now to learn about all of the things that need protection from corrosion by salt water.

Clean boat with fresh water

Clean boat with fresh waterStart off by cleaning your boat with fresh water to remove any salt or other debris from the surface. This will help you ensure that anything else you use on the aluminum won’t be compromised and instead work as it should for an extended duration of time.

Apply a coat of wax to the hull and deck

After the boat has been cleaned, apply a coat of marine wax to the hull and deck. This will help protect it from water penetration as well as sunlight which can cause fading over time.

Apply an additional sealant or coating if you want for added protection against saltwater. If your aluminum is not shiny after applying a coat of wax, reapply another layer to ensure that enough coats are applied so that they have time to adhere properly. Let dry before heading back into the water!

Protect aluminum boats from saltwater corrosion by applying anti-fouling paint, which is specially designed for aluminum vessels

The anti-fouling paint will help keep the aluminum boat from getting corroded by salt, which can lead to eventual rusting. The three options for painting your aluminum hull are:

  • Clean boat with fresh waterDry waterborne paints (used when you want good protection and durability) – Apply with a roller or brush in one coat. This option is best if you have newer boats that require less maintenance on their surfaces.
  • Wet waterborne paints (applied only once every two years) – Paint onto the surface of the boat before it dries completely as they work better then. A great choice for older boats that need more frequent maintenance to protect against corrosion due to age and wear & tear over time; plus these paints go farther and are cheaper.
  • Dry solvent-borne paint (used when you want good protection and durability but don’t have much experience with painting boats) – Paint onto the surface of the boat before it dries completely as they work better then. These paints come in a variety of colors, so if your aluminum hull is already painted another color, this might be an option to consider for applying the anti-fouling paint; however, these paints do not last as long or provide as durable coverage on dirty surfaces like dry waterborne does. In addition, these types require more preparation time prior to the application due to their drying properties that need plenty of ventilation.

After completing one coat, apply at least two additional coats using either the same type of paint or a different type of paint.

The anti-fouling paints will help protect your boat from the salt in the water, which is corrosive to aluminum hulls and can lead to rust over time with continued exposure.

If you do not have any experience painting boats before and are worried about applying this coat yourself, consult an expert for additional assistance.

Keep your boat in a covered slip or trailer when not in use to avoid exposure to salt air

The aluminum hull will start to corrode and rust if it is left uncovered as the salt air can cause oxidation, which reduces a boat’s structural integrity over time. To avoid this, keep your vessel in either a covered slip or trailer when not being used for extended periods of time.

Replace old caulking around hatches and windows with marine grade silicone sealant every two years

Replace old caulking around hatches and windows with marine grade silicone sealant every two yearsIf you notice old caulking around hatches or windows, replace it with marine silicone sealant every two years. Apply a bead of the sealant to any cracks in these areas and then press them together firmly for at least five minutes before letting them dry. This will help protect against saltwater from getting inside your boat by filling any openings that may exist between the window frame and sill as well as those found near the waterline where excess moisture can collect.

Use a freshwater rinse and dry off after every use

If you want to keep your aluminum boat looking good, it is important that you give it a freshwater rinse and dry off after every use. Saltwater can cause corrosion on the surface of the vessel if left unchecked over time which will decrease its structural integrity as well as create an environment where other microscopic organisms thrive. result in less protection against salt air or even additional corrosion due to prolonged exposure without proper care.

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