5 tips for treating and maintaining aluminum boats

One stitch in time saves nine, as the saying goes and is just the thing for the corrosion treatment of aluminum boats. Here are 5 tips on how to keep your tin boat in the water instead of in the workshop.

1. Keep them dry

Half of the battle against corrosion on an aluminum boat is not over. Water plus metal means corrosion, and that means you have to do more than just pull the plugs after shipping. Store frequently used boats in a sunny location. If you leave your outboard attached, tilt it to drain the water. When the boats are small enough, turn them over.

2. Plan your course

Knowing your terrain is important to avoid colliding with rocks. Dents, especially at the direct point of impact, weaken the metal. Be careful about knocking out dents as a hammer blow can cause further problems. Rubber mallets work best and start from the outside and work into it. Avoiding collisions and knocking out dents can reduce the need for subsequent corrosion treatment of aluminum boats.

3. Do not stop draining

I remember pulling a boat off a beach. Sand from transportation blocked drainage from the ribs and gave me my own headache. The treatment for this corrosion in my aluminum boat was a complete rib replacement. It’s much easier to inspect the ribs to make sure they’re not filled with sand or weeds and that the water is draining properly.

4. Throw the carpet on your bunks

Carpets contain water that over time can cause pitting in the trunk. Remove the carpet and cover it with plastic, which will make it easy to start anyway.

5. Paint the fuselage

The best way to stop corrosion on an aluminum boat is to paint the hull. Floor paint prevents pollution. Be sure to paint to the waterline and mend any nicks or chips ASAP.

Aluminum fishing boats require more maintenance than fiberglass boats. So if you keep track of things you will save on large overhaul projects. Remember to register your boat too!

Tom Keer

Tom Keer is an award-winning writer living on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a contributing writer for Covey Rise magazine, a contributing editor for Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program. Keer is a regular contributor to over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics including fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor activities. When not fishing, Keer and his family hunt highland birds over their three English setters. His first book, A Guide to Fly Fishing on the New England Coast, was published in January 2011. Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or www.thekeergroup.com.

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