View Full Version : Fresh water is a little drive but Tampa Bay is 3 miles away .. salt water???

02-07-2013, 12:17 PM
So i dont live on a lake and about 25 min from closest ski lake.. But Tampa Bay is 3 miles away from me... I have an 85 S&S... i know most boats cringe at the sight of salt water.. But just want to do some leisure boating in the bay or around it in areas.. Is this a complete bad idea for these engines ... or just use the same.. wash, rinse, flush and repeat method ???

02-07-2013, 12:29 PM
I'm in a similar situation. I live on a saltwater bay off the Gulf, but the freshwater ski lake is 15 miles away, 25 minute drive to the ramp. But, my current Mastercraft hasn't touched saltwater since I've owned it. I have an outboard skiff that I use on the Bay and Gulf. If I want to ski, I hook up the MC and tow it to the lake. In fact, I use the MC on the lake a lot more than the skiff on the Bay, even though the Bay is right outside my back door.

I had an older Prostar that I took out on the saltwater a few times. No apparent ill effects on the boat - I thoroughly flushed the engine and rinsed the boat - but the saltwater really ate the trailer up bad.

Another issue is that those small MC boats like yours don't do well in rough water which you will likely encounter on the Bay, especially on weekends with heavy boat traffic. At least that's the case on our Bay.

02-07-2013, 12:37 PM
I would never put a tube trailer in salt, even once. If it is a C-channel trailer, rinse it good. If it has trailer brakes, they won't last long.

02-07-2013, 12:51 PM
As a buyer, I'd never get close to a boat that has seen salt.

02-07-2013, 01:09 PM
I totally agree with mzimme! I have walked away from a few purchases becuase the boats had been exposed to NaClH20.....

02-07-2013, 01:10 PM
Salt Away will be your best friend and will need to be used on everything. If you have a tube trailer, take it and get everything sealed up with a shrader valve to pressurize the tubes while you launch and retrieve. If you are diligent, you will only see the ill affects on the trailer after several launches, rather than after the first launch. The boat will not see many ill-affects immediately, but typically the steering cables and everything metal will show corrosion after a several uses. The biggest problem I have seen on the boats are when people get into the boat dripping wet with salt water and get the interior soaked.

A Saltwater skiboat would be sweet. I'd build it so there was not a thing in it that could not be sprayed down and wiped off or removed completely.

However, my salt skiboat is a $2,500 outboard and the MC stays at the fresh stuff.

03 35th Anniversary
02-07-2013, 01:21 PM
I have never launched anything into saltwater before.

But isn't there places that will pick the boat off the trailer and set it in the water so that the trailer never gets dunked?

02-07-2013, 01:26 PM
A Saltwater skiboat would be sweet. I'd build it so there was not a thing in it that could not be sprayed down and wiped off or removed completely.

Our local inboard shop did that for a doctor who has a ski course on salt water in our area. Basically ripped out the interior except a couple seats for driver and observer, and I believe they installed a freshwater cooled engine.

02-07-2013, 02:08 PM
If going out in salt water would increase your enjoyment of the boat, then I'd do it. You can use your MC OCD to keep things ship shape. In fact, it's "justifiable OCD" because you must do more routine maintenance to keep the teak oiled, engine clean, painted bits of the engine properly painted, unpainted bits sprayed with oil or silicon, and salt off the boat.

Our last boat (not an MC) lived on its trailer for the first 15 years of its life, and then at our freshwater cottage for the last 6. In the first 15 years, we'd go boating in the Pacific - probably 150 hours a year in trips that lasted from 3 hours to three days. I kept a hose, bucket, sponge and & rabbit ears in the tow behicle so I could rinse the boat and flush the i/o engine every time we pulled the boat out. It was about a 20 minute task. I suppose you'd have to flush the ballast tanks too in an MC. There was always a freshwater hose bib at every salt water boat launch we used to allow cleaning.

We did have indirect cooling. The boat was in great shape when we sold it at 21 years old - its probably better to characterize it as pristine condition at 15 years old, and great shape at 21. I'd say there was more damage caused from leaving in freshwater for the summer than the saltwater use.

I would assume there is a retrofit salt water kit for your engine? If you're serious about going, I'd certainly invest in one.

Trailers are a whole different question, as others have mentioned. We had no rust on our anodized trailer after 21 years...but you won't be so lucky.

02-08-2013, 10:46 AM
Sorry - I was thinking about my boat when I answered your question. For an 85 S&S I'm not sure I'd want to spend the $2k to put the indirect cooling in a boat of that age.

But I still stick with my recommendation - If you'd enjoy the boat more and boat more frequently, then I would not hesitate launching into salt water.You bought the boat to use it! Just make sure you go through the cleanout procedure every time - particularly an engine flush. Take comfort that you have a fibreglass boat, stainless fittings and a bronze prop.

Still not sure what to do about the trailer.

02-08-2013, 11:58 AM
Old block and saltwater (can't even think) - I would stay away...risers and manifolds relatively cheap... Agree with above -if the wind whips up... it will be a rough ride....

02-08-2013, 12:47 PM
There are several sections of the Hillsborough River where you can ski. Also, you can put in on the river and ride to the bay, return upriver and have most of the salt water flushed. I would still flush and wash. This will also save your trailer. Just another option.

Even in the bay, it doesn't take too much to get waves bigger than what the MC will handle in comfort.

02-08-2013, 01:23 PM
Rtw-Travel where you from in alberta.. Ill be in Banff next weekend to so some skiing.

Maxpower .. any other places you can suggest i dont mind trailering just want to enjoy the boat and have fun..

Thanks everyone for their responses. but honestly curious about the indirect cooling and link anyone can send my way to read up on..

02-08-2013, 01:25 PM
All you really need to do is go to a ocean resort that has a ski boat and see the damage that occurs in the short time they rotate those boats out. The last one I saw was in Marco Island. They had a Supra that I went out on. I thought the boat was 4 or 5 years old due to the condition of the seats and the metal fittings. Turns out it was the second season. Now granted their season are basically 12 months, this still seems like a short rough life for a boat. I don't care how MCOCD your are you're never going to rinse all that salt off the boat or get to all the areas salt water is going to seep.

As for the trailer..... Unless it's salt water by design kiss it goodbye in a short 2-3 years without constant maintenance.

When I'm looking for a boat I refuse to look at anything that's seen any salt water or brackish water. For that same reason I tend to stay away from any boats listed from cities near the ocean. Got enough to worry about with mechanical issues let alone corrosion.

02-08-2013, 03:29 PM
As many of you know, I used to have an 88 Platinum Prostar. I lived on a salt water river and used it there just about every weekend during the summer. I NEVER had an issue with salt water doing any damage to that boat. sure I sprayed it down at the dock when done with it for the day, and washed the hell out of it when it came time to put it back on the trailer. Trailer was a 'C' channel type, and had no brakes. After I launched the boat, I'd go back to my house and pull the trailer over a sprinkler and turn it on for a while. Yea, I repainted it once, maybe twice. Usually right before I would go to a MC Boat Owners reunion. Oh, and by the way, my saltwater platinum Prostar won 3 'Best of Show' awards at those reunions. So all you MCOCD fanatics out there, a saltwater skiboat doesn't have to be so harshly judged. I know the guy that just recently bought that particular boat and completely redid her. he told me there was NO hidden damage that would have been caused by salt water usage.

02-08-2013, 04:54 PM
Rtw-Travel where you from in alberta.. Ill be in Banff next weekend to so some skiing.

Maxpower .. any other places you can suggest i dont mind trailering just want to enjoy the boat and have fun..

Thanks everyone for their responses. but honestly curious about the indirect cooling and link anyone can send my way to read up on..

Enjoy Banff - they need some snow, but the forecast looks sunny and warm for the next week. I'm in Calgary. We moved here from Vancouver two years ago, but we boat in Ontario on the Rideau at the family cottage.

I googled "fresh water cooling" for a PCM 351 and came up with this link - I don't know the quality of the supplier, so just look at it for information only. http://www.skidim.com/prodinfo.asp?number=RK025009D

In a nutshell, the kit converts your engine to a closed loop cooling circuit. It is very similar to a car engine. The coolant (same as car coolant) gets circulated throughout the block using the existing engine water pump. Instead of a radiator, the hot coolant goes through a small small heat exchanger. One side of the heat exchanger is coolant, and the other side would be cold sea water (or lake water) that would be picked up using the boat's regular impeller. From the heat exchanger, the hot sea water is expelled through the exhaust, and the cold coolant goes back to the engine. You can see the heat exchanger in the photo of the parts for the PCM351 kit in the link. I am surprised at the low price as I would have expected something around $2000. I have obviously not done it on an MC, but on our old boat, it was not a mechanically difficult install. It can be quite awkward due to space limitations. The benefit to this system is that the block never sees anything other than coolant.

here's a picture of one installed in an engine. The heat exchanger is on the top right of the picture.

Another example
http://www.orcamarine.com/news.html#9 Oct 2006

02-08-2013, 06:19 PM
Nice info .. I wonder how much the orca system is in compared to the 1000$ system and the differences between them. But for a 1000$ i might be interested in it who knows.. I wonder if it will still fit under the engine cover?