Aluminum houseboats in salt water

by Isaac Smith
(Marianna, Florida)

Tips on aluminum houseboat use in Fresh & Salt Water?

Tips on aluminum houseboat use in Fresh & Salt Water?

I am curious about using aluminum houseboats in salt water and fresh water?

Can aluminum house boats handle the salt water, and how long will the it last if taken from fresh water to salt water. This will be my first houseboat ever.

Thanks Isaac.

Reply - Answer
Well Isaac, congratulations on your decision to buy a houseboat.

As to using an aluminum houseboat in fresh and salt water, the salt water use requires a little more maintenance compared to fresh water.

When it comes to the different techniques for the best protection and required maintenance of aluminum hulls in salt water, you will see that there is plenty of opinions and methods available.

The salt water environment is much harsher than fresh water, and in order to best protect the hull, it's usually best to have a painted hull.

If painting is not an option, you can use a "aluminum compatible anti-fouling compound" or a "coal tar based epoxy" to add a layer of added protection.

With an aluminum hull, or any metallic style boat for that matter, you will want to keep an eye on galvanic corrosion, which is amplified in salt water use.

When you have a boat, AC & DC power, and fresh or salt water, it creates a battery effect, which needs to be addressed. You can install a galvanic isolator on your houseboat to reduce or eliminate the corrosive effects of galvanic corrosion.

With any houseboat use in salt water, you will develop a regular schedule of flushing with fresh water the engine motor cooling system, and any exterior houseboat surfaces that can retain any salt content in its "nook and crannies".

As to buying a fiberglass, steel, wood, or aluminum houseboat for saltwater or freshwater use, they all have their advantages and disadvantages, so don't let any of this keep you from buying a boat.

Boats are great, but "they all" require specific maintenance, just like your car or home.

Lastly, hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about their Freshwater & Saltwater houseboat experiences. Feel free to use the "Click here to post comments." link found at the bottom of this page.

Thanks again for sharing, IAN - from

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