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Rock salt on fiberglass sailboat?

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  • Rock salt on fiberglass sailboat?

    Im the new owner of a 28 Cal from 1967 and I live in Maryland. We got some snow, and as a first time boat owner, im wondering if its okay to continue putting rock salt on the deck to deice it. I did it once, but my dad, who used to own a 26 pierson, told me not to as it will degrade the fiberglass. Is this true? a quick google search did not reveal an answer. Is there any truth to this?

  • #2
    Good question, looking forward to input from others. Not sure if the fiberglass cares, but what about the other materials' compounds the salt will contact?

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    • #3
      I personally don't know about the actual fiberglass, however, all the metal parts won't love it for sure. I would forgo it, in my opinion, and look for some other way to deice the deck. Salt is extremely corrosive indeed. JMHO
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      • #4
        Polyester resin (fiberglass) is chemically resistant to salt at room temperature and below. It degrades at 150 Deg. F.

        OTOH, the salt will destroy everything else on the boat.

        The first thing I thought when I read the post was why would you want to deice the deck? Did you plan to go boating in a Maryland Winter?

        I live near Buffalo, NY. We got a little snow too...LOL. In the old days sailboats were put on the hard in Winter, and the masts stepped. Then a canvas tarp was put over the whole vessel. The mast served as the framework. Wooden frames like those used on powerboats were not needed.

        Today, most all sailboats stored at waterfront marinas are done with the masts still up. Some are partially covered with tarps over the booms, many are just left uncovered. I imagine today the snow on the decks of the uncovered ones is as deep as the boom.

        As soon as the weather permits, scrape, scoop, shovel and wash all that salt off.
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        • #5
          Fiberglass doesnt care

          However everything else on the boat doesnt do well with salt
          Cheesehead boating the Gulf Coast of FLA 27.51° N, 82.53° W

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          • #6
            Originally posted by JimS123 View Post
            The first thing I thought when I read the post was why would you want to deice the deck? Did you plan to go boating in a Maryland Winter?
            Do it all the time. Some of the best fishing occurs in early February into early March. Forecast highs in the 60’s this week
            ....

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            • #7
              Guess I better sell the boat now that I know I can’t use it around salt....lol
              ....

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              • #8
                Originally posted by dingbat View Post
                Guess I better sell the boat now that I know I can’t use it around salt....lol
                I gave up the promotion of a lifetime and a 6 figure pension just so I didn't have to move my boat from freshwater to a saltwater port.....but that's another story.

                Saltwater boaters flush engines and topsides with clean water to mitigate the corrosion problems. We're not talking about salt water here, we're talking about deliberately throwing rock salt on the deck. Not diluted...100 % salt.
                2019 SeaRay SPX 190 OB & Mercury 150 4-Stroke & Merc 5.0 Kicker
                2017 Boston Whaler 150 Montauk & Mercury 60 ELPT Command Thrust & Merc 3.5 Kicker
                2015 Yamaha FX Cruiser HO
                1964 Sea Nymph 14R & 1970 Evinrude Sportwin 9.5
                1960 Mulray 100 Dinghy, equipped with Beaver Oars
                1952 Lyman 15' Mid Steer & Evinrude Big Twin 25
                69 Outboards: 1919-2019, representing 11 manufacturers
                -------------------------------------------------------------------
                Member ACBS, LBOA, AOMCI

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                • #9
                  Is it really necessary to be putting rock salt on the deck . . .

                  What are you trying to accomplish by doing that? Is the boat in use or laid up for winter?
                  Best regards, Ted . . . . Cape Cod, MA

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                  • #10
                    What are you trying to do with the rock salt? I know remove ice but why are you removing the ice I guess is a better way of putting it.

                    As for the effects, think about this, your car does not like it and it is steel (mostly) and while there is stainless steel on the boat which is better doesn't mean that it likes it. Same goes for any teak or wood, wood and salt are not a good combo.

                    Of course, they can withstand some salt water but direct rock salt lol nope, please tell me you are not going to ruin a boat by doing this?
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                    • #11
                      Don't they sell big tarps in Maryland? I don't want to be a wise arse, again but I don't get it? Is it the weight of the ice and snow you are concerned with? I drove a Corvette Sting Ray in and around a city in Ontario for a few winters. The salt never harmed the glass, like others said the under body didn't like it at all. If you must deice the deck I would consider liquid calcium chloride. We soaked rail cars that carried Iron Ore etc. in the winter to prevent sticking of the often frozen materials, it works, well. I am interested if the Calcium Chloride they now sell can be liquified. Heck it might melt glass.I'll have to do a science project this week. Like I have nothing else to do. Please don't put salt on your boat for more than a few reasons. It's just not right.
                      Last edited by Old Ironmaker; February 4th, 2019, 03:33 AM.
                      Experience is a lifetime of mistakes, wisdom is not making them again.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SkaterRace View Post
                        Of course, they can withstand some salt water but direct rock salt lol nope, please tell me you are not going to ruin a boat by doing this?
                        please enlighten us on the difference in corrosive properties between NaCl and NaCl dissolved in water.....lol

                        Ocean water is roughly 3.5% salt by volume.

                        My boat is completely covered in salt at the end of a hot day. It’s everywhere. I could fill a salt shaker yet the boat still looks new. A day on the water gives much greater exsposure than you would ever experience elsewhere
                        ....

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by dingbat View Post
                          please enlighten us on the difference in corrosive properties between NaCl and NaCl dissolved in water.....lol

                          Ocean water is roughly 3.5% salt by volume.

                          My boat is completely covered in salt at the end of a hot day. It’s everywhere. I could fill a salt shaker yet the boat still looks new. A day on the water gives much greater exsposure than you would ever experience elsewhere
                          Do you guys hose them down at the end of a day out?
                          Experience is a lifetime of mistakes, wisdom is not making them again.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Old Ironmaker View Post

                            Do you guys hose them down at the end of a day out?
                            Not necessarily. The boat is built for saltwater use. Everything is either fiberglass, plastic or stainless to resist corrosion and designed with the expectation to be hosed down at the end of the day. Everything at the helm is either waterproof or behind clear splash covers.

                            If I'm in a slip it gets sprayed down with raw water (salt) to remove the day's accumulations (blood, guts, dirt, salt, beer, etc.). The rods and reels are the only things guaranteed a freshwater rinse after use.

                            Trailering is a bit different. Most marinas I frequent have freshwater wash down stations. Pull the boat out of the water and head over to the wash down station. Quick rinse (a flush if no line) and down the road you go.

                            The only time the boat gets a "bath" is before long periods (a week or more) of storage or going out in public. Can't take mama out to a nice waterfront restaurant in a dirty boat....lol

                            ....

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                            • #15
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                              have we heard from the OP? are we just p'in in the wind?

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