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Understanding Anodes and Variables in Boating Tendencies

by Martin Williamson

When using boats in water, there is one hungry guest called corrosion. It can eat away your hull, motors and other parts of the boat, necessitating costly repairs and replacements. The good thing is that you can use sacrificial metals like aluminium, magnesium and zinc to protect the important and expensive components of the boat. You should note that these sacrificial metals bring different qualities to the table, leading to some variations in the way they protect the metallic parts of your boat. At the same time, the chemical content of water varies from place to place. Some water bodies are more corrosive compared to others. The following discussion sheds light on the anodic protection and boating tendencies to help you gain insight:

Fresh Water

Freshwater bodies refers to water bodies that have an inlet and outlet. For instance, most rivers have a source from where they flow and later drain that water elsewhere in a lake, swamp or sea. The fact that the water is fresh may allude that such water doesn't corrode your boat. Well, it does. Corrosion occurs in fresh water at a slower rate than saline water. In fact, fresh water poses more challenges when it comes to protecting your boat against corrosion. This is because the slow stray current in fresh water requires a highly reactive alloy that can easily generate ionic current flow, which is not possible when using aluminium or zinc. You need magnesium.

Magnesium in Salty and Freshwater

Magnesium is the best alternative if you often use your boat in freshwater. It has a higher driving voltage compared to aluminium and zinc. Since freshwater is a poor conductor of ionic current, it has a higher resistance to the flow of ionic current unlike saline water. Thankfully, magnesium has a high driving voltage that delivers more ionic current to overcome the resistance offered by freshwater.

The only drawback of magnesium anodes is that they are not ideal for salty water. Even though they will still protect your hull and other parts, they wear off very rapidly because salty water offers high conductivity to ionic current flow.

What to Do

Before you buy a boat and coat it with protective anodes, think about your boating tendencies so that the anodes you choose ultimately lead to the best results. Talking to an environment specialist or carrying out a quick online search on the status of the water body will help you understand if the water is fresh or saline. If most of them are fresh water bodies, then magnesium anodes will do. Otherwise stick to aluminium and zinc for saline conditions.