View Full Version : Issues of boat use in brackish or salt water.

05-01-2012, 09:57 PM
MC wannabe still on the hunt for a decent ProStar 205. I have posted questions previously and many of you have been very helpful. My next question is what, if any, issues arise if a boat is used in salty or brackish water? Some sellers are stating that the engine gets flushed after each use. Am I correct in that the engines are water cooled and not closed systems?

Thank you all for your continued help in the search for a great boat!


05-01-2012, 10:08 PM
Had my terms mixed up... Salt = BAD

Good luck

05-01-2012, 10:18 PM
Worked at a MC dealer in college. Our rule of thumb was that regular use in salt cut the boat's life in half. This was before the "saltwater series" motor options were available which are actually designed for such use. Those boats may even have corrosion anodes...can't remember. Would try to get a freshwater boat unless it's a SS version.

05-02-2012, 12:25 AM
I ran into this this winter with a boat that was in "brackish water and was flushed every time" a close friend who works for a national boat (yacht) company urged me to stay away. He said he doesnt care how brackish the water is, salt is salt. I took his advice and steered clear.

05-02-2012, 12:29 AM
That is a pretty broad question you have. Yes, the ideal place to use a MC is in freshwater. However, even a boat that is used in freshwater, and not well maintained, will rust and have maintenance issues. I'd encourage you to look at the definition of salt versus brackish water. I use my boat in brackish water and it has a significant lower ppm of salt content than say the ocean. Only the MC saltwater series boats come standard (with a few exceptions, i.e. 8.1L motor) with a closed cooling system and a thru-hull flush kit. Although, raw water still flows through the heat exchanger and exhaust manifolds (google Orca marine systems for a read), so it isn't a totally self-contained system like a car motor. I installed a thru-hull flush kit on my boat and I have a galvanized MC trailer. I am religious about flushing the motor after every use and keeping a good coat of Corrosion-X on all metal parts. I have coupling on the transom that I hook a garden hose to and fire the motor up. My engine looks and runs flawlessly. One of my buddies has a 1998 PS 190 and he does not flush his motor, and never has since he bought it brand new. He is still using the original exhaust manifolds and risers and has had no issues. Now again, we are running in brackish water with very little salt content (we are at the top of river that feeds the Chesapeake), a boat in true salt water is subjected to much different factors. In summary, I'd be much more concerned about how well the boat has been cared for versus where it has been used.

05-02-2012, 06:20 AM
I actually ride on the severn too (BriEODs river), in brackish water. Have had my boat for 11 years without a single 'salt/brackish' related issues. Flush it for 10 minutes with fresh water after every use and have a galvanized trailer. Still have original engine, risers, manifolds, etc. and engine/boat is in perfect condition after 450 hours.

Don't listen to anybody that pontificates on the horrors of any sort of salt. They are probably just bitter about being from a landlocked state. :noface:

Latin Flyer
05-02-2012, 09:20 AM
I,ve been in Miami for over 20 years, always had small boat. Some ski, some not. I have an x2 now.
You "could" use any boat in salt water if you are really good about cleanning. You will see some wear and tear that you would not on a "salt" boat. So what?
BUT, if you can, get a salt water edition, then you are guarantee years of enjoyment and less maintenance.
I would not steer away from ANY water condition. It,s a freaking boat, it,s suppose to be wet!!!!!!!!

05-02-2012, 11:53 AM
Well as a person who brought his first boat from an abusive salt water owner just plan for extra money/time/work to get it back up to par. But I should also mention that these boats are often MUCH more affordable. Because I wanted the Champagne (aka Mastercraft) on the Beer budget this was the way I had to go about it. Now just introducing sweat equity…

05-02-2012, 01:51 PM
Throwing in my .02. I have an '85 that came from Baltimore and used on Middle River and the Chesapeake. Previous owner would flush the system occasionally, and chaged fluids often, but he ended up getting another boat and this one sat for some time before I got. I can tell you this, if it's sat for any length of time and wasn't maintained meticulously, stay away. When I got it, the trailer alreay had rust issues and at this point is not road worthy, the starter had surface rust and went out quickly, the manifolds eventually had holes in the and you could see huge rust flakes chucnk off. If you can get it very cheap and are willing to put up with occasional headaches to get to where you enjoy it, then by all means go for it and there are plenty of guys here that will be glad to offer advice when the time comes to fix something.

05-02-2012, 02:06 PM
As for the Prostar 205, great choie! The boat really is a jack of all trades and has a wide appeal to people with families.

Also, the 205 stock did not have any provisions for wash down like the salt water series reference here. The salt water series came about sometime around 2006, maybe 2005? Anyway, the 205 is not going to have the flush kit or anodes stock. I bet that if they did put a flush kit, it is still lacking the anodes.

As for salt, we will let the debate continue. I personally would stay away unless you too plan to run it in salt. Otherwise you will end up trying to explain to the next owner that at one time the boat was used in salt. Unless it is a killer deal, i would walk. There are too many 205s out there needing a good home to settle on a salt boat for fresh water use.

05-02-2012, 02:29 PM
Personally, I would not purchase a ski boat that had been run in salt/brackish water.... I own a salt water fishing boat that is made for the corrosive salt water environment and maintenance is a constant theme for this boat.... I understand some people have no choice and have to ski/board in salt/brackish water.... I cannot imagine the maintenance required to keep these boats looking clean and sharp…. I have seen what salt water does to outboards and cannot imagine what it does to inboards….

Latin Flyer
05-02-2012, 08:45 PM
To be fair, an ocean day ends with a one hour cleaning job. During the summer i probably do it 30 times, the rest of the year i enjoy the simple 5 minutes wipe down of the canal!

05-02-2012, 09:12 PM

05-02-2012, 09:28 PM
Latin Flyer - I also have an X2 down in Miami. Where do you ride?

Latin Flyer
05-02-2012, 10:22 PM
Mrm2083, just sent you a pm

Latin Flyer
05-02-2012, 10:24 PM
It,s MUCH more than a flush, it,s really a one hour job. And if you go sat and sun it,s both times! But hey, it,s worth it!

05-02-2012, 10:52 PM
Thank you all for weighing in on the salt/brackish water issue. Being born and raised in the Midwest we were lucky to ski in fresh water only.

I have been looking for a few months for a quality 205 without luck. The few that I have popped up have been very far away and have sold before I get a chance to see the boat.

Been looking at his boat. Any thoughts TT members?


The owner has sent dozens of photos and recently created the videos.