Does salt water damage fiberglass boats?

As a boater, you may have heard that salt water can damage fiberglass boats. So, what’s the truth behind this statement? Is it just a myth or something that every boater should worry about? Let’s dive in and explore this topic further.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that fiberglass boats are essentially made up of two main components i.e., fiberglass material and a resin that binds the fiberglass together. While fiberglass is extremely strong and durable, it is not completely immune to salt water. When salt water comes in contact with fiberglass boats, it can cause a chemical reaction that results in some damage to the hull.

One of the most common forms of damage caused by saltwater is osmotic blistering. This type of damage occurs when the fiberglass hull absorbs moisture and salt from the water. The moisture causes the hull to soften, which leads to blistering on the surface of the boat. If left untreated, the blisters can grow bigger and eventually weaken the integrity of the hull.

Another way salt water can damage fiberglass boats is through corrosion. Salt water is naturally corrosive and can erode the resin that holds the fiberglass together. Over time, this can cause structural damage to the boat, which can lead to cracks or holes in the hull.

However, it’s important to note that not all fiberglass boats are equally susceptible to saltwater damage. High-quality fiberglass boats that are specially built for saltwater environments are less prone to damage than standard fiberglass boats. In fact, many boat manufacturers use special types of resins and coatings to make their boats more resistant to salt water damage.

To protect your fiberglass boat from saltwater damage, regular maintenance is key. This includes washing the boat regularly with fresh water to remove any salt residue that may have accumulated on the surface. You should also consider investing in a high-quality wax or protective coating that can help seal the surface of the fiberglass hull and prevent moisture and salt from penetrating the surface.

While salt water can cause some damage to fiberglass boats, it’s not necessarily a cause for concern for every boater. With regular maintenance and proper care, you can keep your fiberglass boat in great condition even in saltwater environments. If you are planning to take your boat out on saltwater, it’s always best to consult with a professional or your boat manufacturer to ensure that you are taking the right steps to protect your boat from damage.

Have something to add or correct? Please let us know by clicking here.
* See disclaimer in the footer of the site for use of this content.

Related Questions


Latest Posts

Don't Miss

Our Newsletter

Get the latest boating tips, fishing resources and featured products in your email from!