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gsxrjtt 02-07-2013 12:17 PM

Fresh water is a little drive but Tampa Bay is 3 miles away .. salt water???
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 ???

shepherd 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.

AZDave 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.

mzimme 02-07-2013 12:51 PM

As a buyer, I'd never get close to a boat that has seen salt.

broncotw 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.....

Sodar 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?

shepherd 02-07-2013 01:26 PM


Originally Posted by Sodar (Post 907385)
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.

rtw_travel 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.

rtw_travel 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.

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