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Author Topic:   DAUNTLESS in Saltwater
Milepost43 posted 11-12-2005 08:48 PM ET (US)   Profile for Milepost43   Send Email to Milepost43  
I will be taking my 220 Dauntless to Florida for December and January. I have found an uncovered boat slip with lift to rent. Until this trip have always used my boats in fresh water. I have the boat on lift in a covered slip near Atlanta now.

The local Boston Whaler dealer said I didn't need to flush my 225 OptiMax™ with fresh water since I plan to fish four to five days per week. Do you agree with that advice?

Also, I would like a checklist for cleanup after a trip. I plan to use a console cover and motor cover in Florida. Do I need to cover anything else? What about the Bimini top?

One last question, after launch, do I just take my trailer to a car wash and rinse it off before taking it to a storage lot? The trailer is all alumimum with stainless steel disc brakes. I have it under tarps now.

Thanks much for any advice.

bsmotril posted 11-12-2005 10:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
On a new boat, here's what I do before it goes to the coast to fish. First, wax the heck out of the interior. It will make clean up of fish guts and blood so much easier. Don't forget the inside of any fishboxed. Starbrite marine polish with Teflon works well too. Wax the stainless rails also, and the motor cowl. Remove the motor cowl, and treat all screw terminals to 2 coats of liquid electrical tape. Especially get it into the ends of stranded wires that are crimped into ring or spade lugs. Spray your battery terminals with LPS3, or CRC corrosion inhibitor. Don't use the stuff that stays oily (corrosionX), use the kinds that dry to a soft waxy film. They will last much longer. Treat the terminals on the battery switch to liquid electric tape too.

During use:
Clean as you go. Use your seawater washdown to remove blood and guts before they dry. It will make life a lot easier when you get back to the dock. If you have freshater shower aboard, and the wind and spray are not coming aboard, wash down your tackle and reals on the way in and let them air dry while you cruise.

After Use:
Hose everything down with fresh water and soap, (I use Dawn dishwashing soap). A soft brush and soapy water will knock the salt off the metalwork and hull. A stiffer brush on the non-skid deck will get it white again. Don't forget the fishbox and livewell. If you just rinse the metalwork, you won't get the salt off. Use a brush of wash mit, use soap. Run some fresh water through the bilge, and your macerator or pump out if you have one. I dump the soapy water in the bilge and pump it out. But, I'm on a trailer and not over water. Most importantly, DRY the metalwork and windscreen with a Chamois or super absorbent towel. That will keep the pitting and water spots at bay.

Regardless of what the dealer says, flush your motor with fresh water after use. The sooner the better before the salt starts to crystallize inside the motor. You don't have to run the motor on newer ones with a flusher fitting.

This is my technique, others will have their own. Doing this religiously after every trip, and a couple of inside-out waxings each year, will make a 10 year old boat look like new. The worst thing you can do for metalwork is to just rinse it and leave it.


bigjohn1 posted 11-13-2005 07:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
That's an excellent idea Bill gave on coating under cowel electrical connections with liquid tape. I have an 15-month old 170 MONTAUK used exclusively in salt water and that idea never crossed my mind. I wax my interior as Bill says but I only use the mild car wash soaps to clean it after each outing. The wax seems to last about twice as long as when I use dishwashing liquids.
Bulldog posted 11-13-2005 09:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bulldog  Send Email to Bulldog     
Flush the engine everytime it is used, my boat is almost always used in salt water and the engines get flushed as soon as I can, it's not a diasater if you go the week without flushing, but if possible do it! Rinse the boat with fresh water when done for the day, and rinse th etrailer as you suggested, it's always amazing how the salt builds up ....Jack
jimh posted 11-13-2005 10:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Being a fresh water boater, too, I also have some anxiety about using the boat in salt water. We tend to think of saltwater as the equivalent of sulfuric acid, but it is not really that bad in small doses.

Our boat was just recently in saltwater for a week. After hauling it out I ran the engine on a hose attachment for about 15 minutes. I carefully rinsed down the cowling, midsection and lower unit. I also removed the cowling and carefully rinsed down the inside of the cowling where there were some signs of salt. I wiped the block down with some fresh water while it was still warm. I also sprayed the block with some Boeshield T-9. It would have been a good idea to apply this before going into saltwater!

I also use DAWN dish detergent as a soap. It seems to be effective, and it dries without leaving a lot of water spots.

The trailer was flushed and washed with a hose. On the trip back we stopped at a launching ramp in fresh water and immersed the boat and trailer. I let the trailer soak in the fresh water for about five minutes.

There was salt spray on the boat everywhere. If you can, I would rinse the boat daily with fresh water after each use. Just spray it with a hose if there is one available at your dock.

I am not a big fan of the liquid electrical tape. I find that it it a pain to remove if you need to work on the connection. I would tend to favor spraying the connection with T-9. Also, I often see very sloppy application of the liquid electrical tape. If you do use this material, apply it with a small brush and take care not to slop it around the rest of the engine.

The Boston Whaler boat was really built to be used in saltwater, so there are no particular problems in using it in saltwater. The most important care to give it is just a good washing with mild soap to remove any salt deposits.

where2 posted 11-13-2005 12:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
As a native South Floridian and having been boating regularly ever since I was 6 weeks old, just rinse everything with fresh water at your first opportunity. Rinse the trailer at your first opportunity after launch. You chose well upgrading to the SS brakes, be sure to rinse them well after dunking them in salt water. If you didn't get the stainless steel hardware upgrade on your trailer, rinse all the fasteners well after dunking them in salt water.

Rinse and flush the engine after every use, I wouldn't rinse under the cowl unless it was a super snotty day or you were on your way back North in January. Go with Jimh's Boeshield T9 sprayed under the cowling before your trip, it's good stuff.

Bigjohn1 is correct that Dawn and other dish washing detergents tend to strip the wax faster than your "boat soaps and car soaps". If you search online you'll find that serious car buffs avoid "Dawn" at all costs when washing their automobiles because it is so effective at removing wax.

A good coat of marine wax should last the 2 months you are in Florida since we are talking winter months not summer months. If you notice the wax does not appear to be beading water like it originally did, it's time for another coat of wax. The exterior of the hull will probably need a recoat before the interior of the hull. Salt water is tough on the wax on the outside of the hull. Spring the extra $$$ for the lift while you're here. My Whalers live exclusively on a lift, as neither one has bottom paint and neither one will while I own them...

Enjoy your trip.

Milepost43 posted 11-14-2005 09:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for Milepost43  Send Email to Milepost43     
Thanks for the great info. Could anyone comment on leaving the Bimini top up to protect console/seat vs covers? thanks again

What wax do you recommend? have some Woody's but haven't used it yet.

andygere posted 11-14-2005 01:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
In general, the more of your boat that is protected from the sun, the better off you are. The canvas on your bimini can be replaced for much less than the gelcoat on your deck, so if you don't have a mooring cover, I suggest leaving the bimini top up. It's a good idea to clean and treat your canvas to extend it's life. Sunbrella specifies 303 High Tech Fabric Guard to waterproof and protect your canvas. West Marine has a generic version that is less expensive, and I've used both with good results.

The advice on fresh water washing and motor flushing is good, but don't lose sleep if you don't get to it every single day. Boston Whaler boats are made for the salt water environment, and many of them spend their lives on a mooring getting a fresh water rinse and flush only once per season. I keep my Outrage 22 Cuddy in the water year round, and it continues to look and perform well with routine washing and maintenance. The best investment I have made on this boat is a full mooring cover, since the UV rays from the sun can and will do far more damage to the boat than the saltwater will. If the boat will be in a wet slip for a period of longer than a week, I suggest hauling it and scrubbing the bottom to remove marine growth as it accumulates. This is best done as soon as the boat is hauled, since it's harder to get this stuff off after it has had time to dry. I suspect that barancle growth in the warm Florida water will occur pretty quickly, so keep an eye on that and knock them down before they get really cemented on. A good wax job will make it much easier to clean the hull, and there are a lot of really good threads in the archives here on best products, waxing regimens, etc.

The one thing that does not fair well in the saltwater environment is the typical boat trailer, but you are ahead of the game with an aluminum trailer and stainless steel brakes. I'd give the trailer a very good freshwater washing after you launch the boat.

Joe 15 SS LTD posted 11-14-2005 03:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Joe 15 SS LTD  Send Email to Joe 15 SS LTD     
When I keep my boat in the water for more than a few days when on vacation I will put on a mask and grab a scrub brush and scrub the hull every 4 days. Of course my vacations are usually in summer and getting in water is ok but in your time frame that might not work so well without a wet suit
Chuck Tribolet posted 11-14-2005 03:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
You might even want to dunk the trailer at a freshwater
ramp after you splash the boat, and again after you retreive.
This doens't make sense for the every weekend saltwater
boater, but if you only go to the salt once or twice a
year, I suspect it will add years to the life of your trailer
because you won't have any salt in that one place you missed.

Dunk it for about five minutes, pull it, let it drain, dunk
again. Dunk it deep.


bsmotril posted 11-14-2005 04:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
Guess I'm not the only one who does the Dunk and drive. you get some odd looks from the folks in adjacent lanes though.


jimh posted 11-14-2005 11:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Thanks for the information about the DAWN detergent. I will take that out of the boat locker and look for a replacement.

I have used 3M BOAT SOAP. How is that for being gentle on wax?

And I guess I better get some fresh wax on that hull, particularly after that last bath with DAWN!

runpasthefence posted 11-15-2005 12:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for runpasthefence  Send Email to runpasthefence     
My 15 sits in salf for 1-2 weeks at a time without bottom paint. After each run, I ritually flush the motor and dowse the entire engine in CRC 656 formula. Its a great anti-corrosive/lubricant that'll drive water out of anything. If its on a boat in salt water, it could probably use some CRC.
As for protecting your console/seats, I would definately recommend covers. A bimini may only partially protect from the sun and does not protect from at rest salt spray.
thediscusthrower posted 11-15-2005 03:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for thediscusthrower  Send Email to thediscusthrower     
Do not use Dawn as it will strip the wax. I flush the motor after EVERY trip (with fresh, potable water). The boat, motor and trailer get a bath after EVERY trip in the saltwater. I use ZipWax Soap to get them clean.

I am a strong proponent of using Collonite brand waxes, as I use them on my boat, car, and truck. I haven't used a wax that beats Collonite, especially if you put on a second coat. Besides, if you do, it makes the routine cleaning that much easier. I also go over the stainless parts (e.g., bow rail) with Never Dull. It works well to remove surface rust which may develop after leaving the salt to dry on the surface of the metal.

I have sprayed CRC on the interior components of the engine but I like the idea of using dielectric grease on the individual electrical terminals/connections.

If you want full protection from the elements, then I suggest a mooring cover. You can get them from number of vendors including Mills and Fischer.


Traveller posted 11-15-2005 06:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Traveller  Send Email to Traveller     
I use Woody Wax on the inside of my boat, and it does a fine job in making fish blood easier to wash off. The first time I used it, I was bit too ethusiastic with the amount I applied to the deck. My non-skid became like a skating rink until I had scrubbed some of it off.

I bought a clean "Round-Up" pump sprayer from Lowes. I fill it with a couple of gallons of fresh water when I go to the ramp, and use it to rinse off the brakes on the trailer each time I launch the boat in salt water. I don't know if it helps the brakes that much, but it makes me feel better about leaving the trailer sitting all day after a dunking in salt water. When I get back to the motel, I flush everything thoroughly with fresh water.

swist posted 11-15-2005 06:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
Agree with a lot of what is being said, except I think people are going overboard with regard to flushing the engine. Yes salt will crystalize, but even though it seems counterintuitive, saltwater does a reasonable job of flushing these deposits away - it's not like you get a new layer every time you take the boat out. As someone said, plenty of boats are moored in salt water and flushed once a season with few problems.
JMARTIN posted 11-15-2005 07:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for JMARTIN  Send Email to JMARTIN     
I agree swist. Douse the engine after every run? Spray the entire engine with CRC? Scrub the bottom every 4 days? Use potable water? Jeepers, you guys would cringe if you saw what I do. John
where2 posted 11-15-2005 08:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
I may cringe if I saw what you do, but you'd smile if you saw my 1985 15' Whaler which sees 99% salt water useage. I don't worry about salt buildup, I worry about corrosion of the aluminum when operating in salt water. Salt buildup will wash away, aluminum oxide does not simply wash away.

Modern engines are so easy to flush, it's sad not to. If they were like my 1985 70Hp Johnson that requires the attachment of flush-muffs, you might think once a week is OK. Rinsing the boat is a piece of cake, a little missed salt on the gelcoat doesn't hurt it.

LHG posted 11-15-2005 09:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
Like my cars, I wash the boat and engines only with an automotive wash/wax product. I like Kit or Turtle Zip wax/wash. Instead of stripping wax, this adds it back.
ConnorEl posted 11-16-2005 12:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for ConnorEl  Send Email to ConnorEl     
I have been around salt water boating for my whole life. As you see from the responses, how you care for your boat is somewhat of a personal choice. My take would be:

1. Don’t worry. Your boat will be fine.

2. If it’s easy to flush your motor then do so as often as each use. If it’s a real pain (as it can be if you have to use muffs with the boat on a lift) then flush it less often. Maybe once a week.

3. Agree with the advice to start off with a good wash and wax. Clean as desired after that. Also agree with treating the canvass before prolonged exposure.

4. Agree that sun protection should be a priority. If you’re using the boat for most of the day every day, however, I wouldn’t cover it for the few hours you’re not in it. If it is going to sit for a day or more then I would cover as best you can.

5. A good rinse with fresh water at the end of the day is a smart idea. You will be able to rinse off most of the salt with the hose BUT you will have water spots on your stainless hardware and Plexiglas if you do not DRY these with a clean soft cloth. Drying will also help to remove any remaining salt.

6. Again, don’t worry. Have fun.

swist posted 11-17-2005 11:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
As a case in point for not going overboard flushing, I recently did some work on a 1993 225 Yamaha (before even the "Saltwater Series") where I had to pull the heads. This boat was moored in salt for 13 seasons, and flushed once a year. Inside the water passages I saw minimal salt deposits, and I saw very little corrosion of aluminum.

And Yamahas of that era were not famous for corrosion resistance (although a lot of that was not powerhead related - shift shaft, trailer lock, steering arm all were in pretty bad shape, but I don't see how flushing would have helped those).

But if it makes you feel good, do it. I certainly wouldn't argue that it's *not* extending your engine life....

Milepost43 posted 11-19-2005 08:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Milepost43  Send Email to Milepost43     
Thanks for all the great info. Lving for Fort Myers Beach tomorrow.

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