How Long Can You Leave A Boat In Saltwater?

Last Updated on October 1, 2022

A boat can remain on saltwater for 7 days without moving. Although it is difficult to determine the exact length, you can settle for a minimum of 3-4 days. The time frame can differ based on certain factors like the design of the hull, the type of boat and the treatment method. The saltwater condition is also another thing to consider.

A boat ride is an interesting exercise that keeps you fit, active and pleased. However, it can be such a stress for you to keep taking it in and out of the water. Although it is quite enticing for you to leave your boat in saltwater, you need to be fully aware of the implications of such action. There are various risks that you would have to face if you leave your boat in saltwater for too long. Keep on reading to discover them.

What Can Saltwater Do To Your Boat?

If you leave your boat in saltwater for too long, there are some damages that it would cause. These damages would require you to spend extra money on repairs or even get an entirely new boat for yourself.

It Can Damage The Engine

If you leave your boat in saltwater for too long, over time it would begin to find its way to your engine and even damage it. Saltwater can damage metals ten times as fast as freshwater. When you fail to maintain your boat properly, saltwater can lead to the corrosion of your engine.

Affects Boat Hardware

The wires of your boat are vulnerable around saltwater. Saltwater can easily destroy all the electrical wiring making the boat malfunction, especially at unexpected times. Make that the wire is kept dry at all times and in cases where it is wet, reseal it.

It Can Affect The Hull Of Your Boat

When you leave your boat in saltwater, the fiberglass on the hull of your boat is susceptible to fading and scratches. You slow down the damaging process by constantly rinsing off the hull of your boat. Also, ensure that the hull of your boat has enough strength to withstand saltwater conditions.

Peels Off The Paint

Using any other type of paint apart from the antifouling paint would make the boat rust faster. An antifouling paint would serve as a major barrier between the hull and the salt to keep it strong and functional.

Factors To Consider When Leaving Your Boat In Saltwater

Saltwater can have a really damaging effect on your boat if you are not careful about it. You have to consider the material, condition and frequency of use before you decide to leave your boat in saltwater.


A boat can be made of either fiberglass or steel depending on the type of water it would be used. You can easily use a boat meant for saltwater on freshwater but if you use a freshwater boat on salt water, it can be disastrous. This is major because the materials used to build both are quite different.

Water Conditions

When the water is warm, it can damage your boat faster than usual when you leave it in the water. High salinity and currents are also factors that attract algae which affect the general function of our boat. Also, when the weather is cold, you have to be careful so the boat does not collide with ice.

Frequency Of Use

In cases where a boat is used frequently, there are fewer chances of it getting damaged. It would be less susceptible to the effects of saltwater and also be immune to marine growth. With a constantly moving boat, algae would find it difficult to grow. If you fall under this category of boat users, you have lesser chances of dealing with any damage.

How To Maintain A Saltwater Boat

There are times when you can accidentally forget your boat on saltwater for up to a week. You don’t need to panic when you can always clean it.

  • Use soap and water to wash the entire boat. If you have a pressure washer, it would make the process faster. The boat may be looking faded because you left it in saltwater for too long.
  • Clean the hull of the boat thoroughly. Search it carefully for any organism that might have attached to it. If these organisms are difficult to remove, you can use a scraper to get the job done. Repair any damage to the hull promptly and repaint it using antifouling paint.
  • Replace your sacrificial anodes in cases where it is necessary. You would find the metal tabs close to the metal components of the boat. These anodes are important in protecting the boat from galvanic corrosion. If you find an anode that is half the normal size, replace it.
  • Clean out the boat’s engine with fresh water to prevent rusting. Lubricate the metal pieces of the boat as a major means of protection. You can either get a professional to help you handle this part or follow the manual for effectiveness.
  • Subscribe to a fuel treatment method that is suitable for marine conditions. Invest in this to maintain the electrical components of the boat.
  • Use a coat of marine wax to keep the exterior from damage and also as a protection against salt crystals. A vinyl cleaner would also serve you well in cleaning the interior of the boat.

Final Words

Constantly moving your boat in and out of water is challenging. Even on the days you want to take it out, you can forget. This is fine if your boat only stays for a week on saltwater. After that, it is important that you clean it out thoroughly and perform the necessary steps to ensure that the boat lasts.

Losing your favorite boat when you haven’t even gotten enough time to enjoy it can be disheartening. You would watch the ocean from afar without being able to ride on a vessel that you call your own. This is why you have to pay attention to maintenance and little repairs before it gets completely damaged.