Electrolysis is a common issue faced by aluminum boat owners, but it can also be prevented. Electrolysis is the process where dissimilar metals in a marine environment cause a chemical reaction resulting in a breakdown of aluminum metal. This can cause serious damage to your boat and should be taken seriously to prevent it from happening. Here are some tips to prevent electrolysis on aluminum boats.
1. Use compatible metals
One of the best ways to prevent electrolysis is to use compatible metals for any additional equipment or upgrades to your boat. Always use metals such as bronze, stainless steel or plastic where possible. Make sure that if you need to install any electrical equipment or additional wiring, that you do it professionally to avoid any possible damage to your boat.
2. Clean your boat regularly
Regular cleaning of your boat can help prevent the buildup of any electrical conductive materials that can cause electrolysis. Cleaning your boat regularly not only prevents electrolysis but also helps in keeping your boat looking new and preserving its aluminum surface.
3. Use Sacrificial Anodes
Sacrificial anodes are usually made of zinc or magnesium and are designed to corrode more quickly than the aluminum of your boat. Sacrificial anodes protect your aluminum boat by attracting the electrolysis and corroding away in their place. You should check your sacrificial anodes periodically and replace them when needed.
4. Use Paint and Protective Coatings
To protect your aluminum boat from electrolysis, you should use paint and protective coatings. The paint or protective coatings work as a barrier to keep out water that may cause electrolysis. These coatings should be applied professionally and reapplied every few years.
Proper grounding is essential in preventing electrolysis. Make sure that all electrical equipment and wiring is grounded, and try to keep electrical equipment or wires from coming into contact with aluminum parts of your boat.
6. Monitor Your Boat’s Environment
It is important to monitor where you store your boat, and which marinas you dock at or visit. Some marinas may have poor quality water, which can speed up the rate of electrolysis or increase the likelihood of it happening.
Electrolysis can cause significant damage to your boat, but it can also be prevented. So apply these tips and take care of your boat by cleaning it, using compatible materials, and regularly checking your sacrificial anodes, and you will have a safer and more enjoyable boating experience.