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Old     (Blueliner)      Join Date: Sep 2013       04-08-2014, 6:25 PM Reply   
Hi folks

How can you tell if a boat has been used in salt water? If it has been used a time or two over the years does it have a long lasting negative effect? Some of the boats I have looked at are near enough to salt water to have me worried.

Old     (kx250frider617)      Join Date: Aug 2013       04-08-2014, 7:22 PM Reply   
The trailer. If the trailer has no rust and obviously isn't brand new, then you'll have no worries with salt. The trailer is the first thing to go. I use my boats in salt water and have had no major mechanical failure in the trailer or engine. It's the small stuff like steering cables, non-stainless metals that break. If I were looking at a boat and see a trailer with just light rust in some spots, I wouldn't worry. Now if the trailer needs to be redone and looks terrible, then you might want to look into the engine manifolds and risers and see how bad they are corroded. If the previous owner took care of it and meticulously maintained and washed/ flushed it, you shouldn't have any problems regardless the hours used in salt.

I'm a little bias though since I run in salt. Some guys won't touch a salt boat with a 10 foot pole.
Old     (Bagar55)      Join Date: Aug 2013       04-08-2014, 8:23 PM Reply   
If the boat has been in the salt environment it will be very noticeable unless very well maintained. Don't just look at one boat when looking to purchase. The cosmetic details like upholstery, gel coat, overall appearance are quickly inspected and easy to see. Get down in the boat and look at everything. Compare motor mounts, bilge area, rust on the block, rust on bottom of oil pan, bottom of vdrive. Look at wiring connections in engine compartment and under dash. If you compare three or four boats you will easily be able to pick out one used in salt environment. There is no hiding it. If boat was used a couple times in salt over the years it's not a big deal.
Old     (hatepain)      Join Date: Aug 2006       04-08-2014, 9:04 PM Reply   
Just lick it.
Old     (phathom)      Join Date: Jun 2013       04-08-2014, 10:03 PM Reply   
But if you lick it, you claim it and have to buy it. It's yours after that, just like your food. You lick it, it's yours

Seriously though, check everything that could corrode or rust, especially cast stuff like the manifolds and electrical connections. Those are the most obvious culprits inside the boat. The trailer is a dead give away though unless it's galvenized, which also points to salt water use.
Ask them about it and if they did, how they flushed it and cleaned it. Most people are honest enough when asked directly. If they dance around the question or give you some vagure reply or some bs you know isn't true then avoid it.
Old     (CHern5972)      Join Date: Jul 2012       04-09-2014, 8:26 AM Reply   
My boat is primarily used in the salt/brackish water. You cant tell mine is used in this environment but, i am assinine about how clean my boat is/maintained. To me, rinsing and washing and detailing is the key. Then again, boats are an investment on the price tags now days.
Old     (davenk)      Join Date: Feb 2008       04-09-2014, 9:31 AM Reply   
I have used my boat in brackish water, been very meticulous in cleaning and it looks great. Of course when your dealer tells you your boat is cleaner then most that don't even touch brackish water, makes you feel good that you keep your boat clean. The raw steel trailer, now that is another story, just because a trailer may have rust doesn't the boat does. Rinse/wash wipe down after every outing. outside and inside, even when I use it in fresh water
Old     (srock)      Join Date: Mar 2002       04-11-2014, 12:34 PM Reply   
I have spend hours on salt and I can tell from experience but you may have to look hard. Every ski boat including those labeled as Salt Water Series or 100% stainless have had their shortcomings.

The trailer is one area but I have a galvanized trailer but not because of salt. I just know over the years trailers always get cancer and I don't care how pretty it looks. Look inside the the trailer tube steel. Galvanized trailer are dipped, steel is no so well protected. Look at the bunk screws on the bottom side, look at the brakes.

Look at the seat brackets. If they are steel they will show rust. Look at any grab handle, tow hook, lifting or tie down rings for a rust ring at the fiberglass. The mounting hardware below the deck is usually steel for strength and rust sometimes shows at the joint. Look at the shaft often salt will create spotting. If there is any aluminum like a wedge, tower or windshield the metal will pit or if painted may bubble especially at attachment points. Ask the owner where he rides. Peek at any equipment for signs of salt use. Most of all ask the owner how much salt time the boat has seen while looking at the boat and pay attention.

If it is hard to tell your are probably all right regardless of its use.


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