Riveted aluminum in salt/brackish water?


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Oct 8, 2013
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So the fam and I have been going to a cool spot on the gulf side of Fla. for a few years now. We have talked several times about taking our 1982 40hp 16' SeaNymph Fishing Machine with us to fish in the bay and a couple rivers that spill into it. Definitely not out in the gulf. I read different opinions about whether or not it will kill our old boat.

The back story, if need be is: It's an UNPAINTED HULL. I got it 25ish years ago for free from a friend of my dad. It had sat outside uncovered for a LOOOOONG time. But the 40hp mariner ran/runs GREAT. I completely stripped the interior down to the hull. Replaced all the waterlogged foam with new pour in foam from U.S. composites. 2 coats of spar varnish on the new 1/2" marine plywood main flooring and 3/4" fishing decks. I even made a new mahogany dash panel and had the console powder coated. New seats, carpet, TM, a rewire and it is a great little "FREE"🤣🤣boat.
The only thing I didn't do that haunts me still, is I didn't rebuck all the rivets. I don't "think' it leaks right now, but how do you ever really know until you know?

So do we take it? How about a coat or 2 of gatorglide or the like to seal up the hull??
The way you know if it leaks is by putting the plug in while it's on the trailer and running a hose it it for a few hours. Then look underneath.

Aluminum is no problem in the salt. The ocean is tough on equipment in general but the salt is only part of the concern. Rinse it very well after use and it will serve you a long time for what you want to do.
If in for days only ... a good rinse should do it. It can take years of constant immersion for the salt to destroy a tin boat, but it surely will and once corrosion starts (chloride precipitate attack) it is like a cancer that doesn't stop!

Now my tins boats are out at a dock 24/7, so besides 'tin safe' anti-fouling paint, I put a anode on the hull to minimize or prevent electrolysis See here: https://www.tinboats.net/threads/diy-adding-a-zinc-anode-to-a-wood-cored-transom.36471/
But again, if only in for days at a time, you won't need this, but perhaps this info will benefit other tin brothers of the salt ...