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Aluminum houseboats in salt water

by Isaac Smith
(Marianna, Florida)

Aluminum houseboat use in FRESH & SALT water?

Aluminum houseboat use in FRESH & SALT water?

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

Can aluminum houseboats 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.

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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. Whatever you do, please don't buy a houseboat without reading the Houseboat BUYING Guide first.

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 all-about-houseboats

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Comments for Aluminum houseboats in salt water

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What kind?
by: Hour Oasis

Issac, what brand aluminum houseboat are you considering or what did you settle on? I have a 1972 56ft Lazy Days

Salt no problem
by: Robert Polito

We transported our houseboat from Arizona to Long Beach CA. We painted her in the last 3.5 years and we installed galvanic isolators.

The only difference is we bought it from Destination Yachts as they are the only company that does houseboats with outboard engines.

If you have any questions, come to see me at the Long Beach Shoreline Marina, we are so happy living aboard and it has been 4 years already.

Salt water tips
by: LeRoy Latham

I have been around and worked on aluminum boats all my life. My father owned a crew boat business and I have been living and owning an aluminum houseboat for almost 2 years.

To me the main thing to watch for any boat is places where there are thru hull connections that is priority. The second and most important is to try and not ground anything to the hull itself by hooking everything to a battery ground.

Anywhere there is something grounded to the hull you are at risk for major corrosion period, which this in turn can lead to
electrolysis which is the major enemy in aluminum.

Anodes is a must for aluminum and selecting the right one for your boat is critical, you can't use just any anode anywhere.

Have someone who knows how to check your boat while in the water for flow rate if any, to see if you are allowing electricity flowing between your boat and the water.

Another thing about aluminum is keep it clean, rinse off after a trip to get excess saltwater from making its home on your boat which can and will cause corrosion.

Happy and Safe boating to all, I am living my dream since I saw my first Huck Finn movie.

I've been living and working around brackish and saltwater for 66 years and been thru every hurricane since Gaudry, lost everything in three major hurricanes but would not change my past for anything.

Water is my life /// a true Salt Water Lifer

Well LeRoy, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to share your vast saltwater knowledge. I couldn't have said it better, and your story is inspiring for many of us older folks (many of us have seen Huck Finn when we were young).

IAN from All About Houseboats

Houseboat Hulls - advantages of fibreglass vs pontoons
by: Anonymous

I am looking at purchasing a fibreglass hulled houseboat that is on moorage in salt water. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the fibreglass hull vs pontoons.

Houseboat Hull Coatings - try spray on epoxy
by: onewhoistoasted

Try spray on bed liner for truck beds. Tough and durable. Maybe even try DIY garage floor protection epoxy. Color choice and colored flakes to boot.

Aluminum houseboats in salt water
by: Bill V

All the aluminum hulls on our modern day houseboats, now use an aluminum/magnesium alloy of 5052-H32 and greatly resists corrosion.

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