time. Modern outboards come with built-in garden-hose attachments, making the
job a cinch. Using freshwater at the dock,
with the engine off and trimmed out of
the water, simply run water through the
engine. The rule of thumb is for five to
10 minutes, but you should consult your
manual or a qualified outboard mechanic.
Additive products such as CRC Salt
Terminator, which cleans internals and
inhibits corrosion, can further add to
peace of mind. For trailer boats without
garden-hose attachments, use ear muffs
(or flush muffs) attached to a running
hose once the boat is out of the water.
With muffs, the engine must be started
to flush properly. Check your manufacturer’s instruction before flushing.
I/O OR STERNDRIVE: By contrast stern-
drive engines may require more to transi-
tion to salt. Most modern marine engines
have an enclosed-loop cooling system
that uses a combination of raw (salt) water
and coolant. Some have built-in garden-
hose attachments. But even closed-loop
engines cool the
enclosed water, and
perhaps the tranny
fluid and oil, with
a raw-water heat
exchanger that may
require extra atten-
at the end caps.
also often have
raw water cooling
the manifold and
injecting into the
riser. Keep in mind
that while in freshwater, a manifold can
last 10 years or more; in warm saltwater
its lifespan can be as little as 3 to 4 years.
Sterndrives often don’t tilt out of the
water, so unless your boat is trailered,
stored on a lift, or in a rack, the outdrive
(lower unit) may sit in saltwater. So be
extra vigilant about anodes. The drive
part of the engine should be thoroughly
sprayed and flushed according to manu-
facturer instructions. With a trailer boat,
you can attach muffs to a garden hose
and flush the engine while on the trailer.
Regardless, be prepared to replace com-
ponents more often in saltwater, particu-
larly risers, manifolds, and water pumps.
JET-DRIVE BOATS: As they tend to
be trailered, jet drives can be maintained similarly to outboard boats with
a thorough freshwater washdown and
engine flushing after each saltwater bath.
Flushing agents, such as Salt Terminator
or Salt Away, leave a protective coating on
the inside and outside of the engine and
jet-drive components. Regular inspection
and replacement, as needed, of the zinc
or aluminum anodes are also essential to
preserving the aluminum housing and
certain other components.
BOTTOM PAINT: You may go bare in
freshwater for a couple of weeks, but antifouling paint is a necessity in salt, unless
you rack store or have a boatlift. For the
best advice for your situation, go to the
bottom-paint manufacturers for advice
on what you should use depending on
the type of boat and where you’re boating.
Ask your new boat neighbors what they
use, too. Location is key, as marine growth
step instructions on how
to flush an
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