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Can I take a freshwater outboard in saltwater bay>?

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  • Can I take a freshwater outboard in saltwater bay>?

    I have a 1952 17ft Speedqueen (1986 motor) 110HP Mariner outboard; always used in freshwater lakes but have moved to state where freshwater is limited.

    I am have heard that I cannot take the boat in saltwater due to the cooling system in the outboard??? However I am unsure what that means exactly...

    Can this motor be modified for saltwater or is there something I can do to take it in saltwater?

    The boat is fiber glass.


  • #2
    Re: Can I take a freshwater outboard in saltwater bay>?

    Hi elizabeth. Sure you can use the same motor in the salt water and without any modifications. No such thing as a "saltwater" or "freshwter" boat or motor per se. We go back and forth between the two regularly in one trip down here in FL. The only thing to be mindful of is that you will want to rinse off the boat and motor and flush it out with freshwater when you're done for the day. To do so simply hose it down and then hook up the muffs and let it idle for 10-15 minutes. That's really about it. If you intend on using the in the saltwater more regularly, or storing it in saltwater for long periods of time, you'll need to look into installing sacrificial anodes on the lower unit of the motor to prevent galvanic corrosion (do a search here in the forums for the best anodes for your application), but you'll be find without them if it's just a couple quick trips. Btw, where did you move that freshwater boating is limited, but saltwater is not?

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    • #3
      Re: Can I take a freshwater outboard in saltwater bay>?

      I moved to South New Jersey. They have one local freshwater river that flows to the delware bay. But all other lakes and such only allow electric motors. I just purchased a boat ladder from a guy here and he told me that if my motor has steel bolts that I should not take it out in the saltwater??? And the boat is fiberglass does that matter?

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      • #4
        Re: Can I take a freshwater outboard in saltwater bay>?

        Flush the motor when you get home, wash off the boat and you are going to be fine. Many old tales that tend to panic people .......
        This is a great link to boat specifications http://boatspecs.iboats.com/
        Please, shop iboats first!!

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        • #5
          Re: Can I take a freshwater outboard in saltwater bay>?

          Originally posted by Bob_VT View Post
          Flush the motor when you get home, wash off the boat and you are going to be fine. Many old tales that tend to panic people .......
          Like said above. You will be just fine. Make sure as said run engine on muffs with fresh water.
          Assault Squadron NINE
          River Assault Division NINETY-ONE-1966

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          • #6
            Re: Can I take a freshwater outboard in saltwater bay>?

            Where ya boatin'? Maurice River and Delaware Bay? Just curious.
            Checkmate 2400BRX/Optimax 300xs
            .
            Alumacraft 17 w/ Merc 40 4S

            Date an I/O, but marry an outboard!©

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            • #7
              Re: Can I take a freshwater outboard in saltwater bay>?

              They don't make freshwater outboards. You're lucky yours lasted as long as it did in fresh water. Get it in the salt where it will be happy!

              The comment about the bolts has some truthiness to it. If your boat was rigged and repaired in a freshwater environment, it's possible some rigging and parts aren't stainless steel. Just keep an eye on things, and if you see something start to rust faster than others, replace it. For example, a motor mount bolt might not be correct. Or you may see it in cheaper parts, like a swim ladder bolt, which is SS but a lower grade. It's a constant annoyance here on the coast, but seldom a major problem.

              Since your boat is a 1952, I'd ask some antique boat folks about anything special for its fittings.
              A man of constant boat tinkering.

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              • #8
                Re: Can I take a freshwater outboard in saltwater bay>?

                Originally posted by Philster View Post
                Where ya boatin'? Maurice River and Delaware Bay? Just curious.

                The Maurice river is the only place yet. But we wanted to tube and such...the river isn't that wide where we go...go I guess we just thought about the bay we haven't been yet

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                • #9
                  Re: Can I take a freshwater outboard in saltwater bay>?

                  Of course you can use it in saltwater. The only outboard motor that I'm aware of that is "not recommended for saltwater" is the Briggs-Stratton 5HP 4 stroke. Good Luck!

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                  • #10
                    Re: Can I take a freshwater outboard in saltwater bay>?

                    Just rinse and flush in freshwater EVERYTIME as everyone above is suggesting and you'll be fine

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                    • #11
                      Re: Can I take a freshwater outboard in saltwater bay>?

                      Elizabeth, if you haven't done so already, get a chart of your area of the bay and study it. The bay in my area has many shallow spots that catch unwary boaters and often lead to problems running aground, chewing props, spinning hubs, etc. They may seem expensive, but they are alot cheaper than remedies for any of the above
                      2007 Mariah DX212 w/ 2007 Merc 150 Saltwater

                      [ATTACH=CONFIG]temp_129201_1408990994699_719[/ATTACH]
                      "Knot A Lot"

                      Finally...my boat is not the oldest vehicle in my yard!
                      ...and there's a prayer in every post for my friend, Sasto...

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