How Do You Keep Aluminium Pontoons from Corroding? 

How Do You Keep Aluminium Pontoons from Corroding? 

If you own a pontoon boat, keeping the pontoon in good condition should be your top priority. When your boat is in water, the pontoon is a buoyant structure made of aluminium and filled with gas that keeps your boat afloat. Because of its lightweight, aluminium makes an excellent boat material. However, because of its nature, it is also known to corrode easily. While most boat manufacturers take care to build a boat that will last for a long time, the responsibility to extend the boat’s lifespan is entirely on you. Continue reading to find out how to keep aluminium pontoons from corroding. 

Table Of Contents

Why does the Aluminium Pontoon Corrode? 

Aluminium is a reactive metal that reacts readily with other metals and electricity. It is also susceptible to corrosion when exposed to water.

Corrosion takes place when aluminium comes into contact with certain metals or when it is electrically connected to them. When aluminium comes into contact with other metals, it quickly loses its ions, which is visible on the surface as corrosion. Galvanic corrosion is the term used to describe this type of corrosion.

Furthermore, when aluminium pontoons are submerged in saltwater, the corrosion process is significantly accelerated and more severe. If saltwater comes into contact with any other metal, it acts as an electrolyte and promotes galvanic corrosion of aluminium.

Taking care of the Pontoon 

Preventing galvanic corrosion on the aluminium pontoon is the most important aspect of maintaining the structure. Even though boats in freshwater are relatively safe from the effects of corrosion, this does not mean that they are completely impervious. There are several methods for preventing galvanic corrosion; however, we’ll focus on the most practical ones here.

Credit: Stefan Bocskor

Preventing Galvanic Corrosion 

1.Don’t let your Boat Sit In Water 

If you know ahead of time that you will not be using your boat for an extended period, make sure that it does not sit in water for any length of time. The longer you leave your boat submerged in water, the more corrosion you can expect to see when you get back on board.

Make use of a boat lift.

When your boat is not in use, boat lifts are the most cost-effective way to keep it out of the water and protected. There are boat lifts available that do not require the use of a power source to function. Modern boat lifts are available in a variety of configurations, including static, air-assisted, and multi-hull.

Choose the appropriate one for your pontoon boat based on the size and weight of the vessel.

2.Use Sacrificial Anodes 

Sacrificial Anodes are small pieces of highly active metal that are electrically connected to another piece of metal. Having sacrificial anodes installed on your boat can help to prevent corrosion of the aluminium pontoon because the anode will be corroded instead of the aluminium pontoon. To put it another way, the anode will give up its life to ensure the safety of your boat!

Some anodes you can use are- 

  1. Zinc Anodes
  2. Magnesium Anodes 
  3. Cadmium Anodes
  4. Nickel Anodes

3.Repair your pontoon boat regularly

You must repair any cracks or scratches that may appear on the aluminium pontoon as soon as they appear to prevent the pontoon from corroding. In the event of cracks or scratches in the pontoon paint, water will be able to come into contact with the aluminium. It will also cause water to pool at the cracks, speeding up the deterioration of the metal.

4.Use Paint and Coatings

Several paints and coatings are available on the market that is suitable for use on aluminium pontoons and are completely safe to use. It is important to ensure that these products are free of copper, as many marine paints contain copper, which is acceptable for use on industrial ships but not on aluminium pontoons.

5.Keep other metals Away 

When aluminium comes into contact with other metals, it reacts very quickly. There are only two metals with which it does not react: zinc and magnesium. Make sure that none of your boat’s metal parts come into contact with the aluminium pontoon.

6.Slower Speeds

While it may be enjoyable to accelerate the speed of your boat, keep in mind that water moving at high speeds against the pontoons will hasten the corrosion of the aluminium structure over time. Maintain a slower speed, especially if you are in saltwater bodies.

7.Avoid graphite 

Avoid using anything that contains graphite and will come into contact with your pontoon, whether it is paint coatings or boat hardware. Because graphite conducts electricity, it makes boats more prone to galvanic corrosion.

8.Keep sharp objects away 

Avoid hooks, sinkers, and other sharp objects. These may cause scratches or cracks in your pontoon, eventually leading to corrosion.

A Step-by-Step Guide: Keep Aluminium Pontoons from Corroding

Here is a simple guide with easy steps you can follow to polish your pontoon and keep the aluminium from corroding. All you have to do is follow along! 

  1. Pressure wash the boat – Begin by pressure washing your boat’s aluminium pontoon to remove any dirt or salt from the surface.
  2. Use an aluminium cleaner – Various pontoon or aluminium cleaners are available on the market to ensure that your boat is free of all salts and dirt that has accumulated on the surface.

For this step, avoid using acids such as sulphuric or muriatic acid, as they may cause further corrosion of the boat.

  1. Use aluminium polish to finish – Apply an initial layer of polish to the surface and wipe away any excess. This will form a protective layer over the aluminium, slowing down corrosion.

A well-done polish job can keep your boat looking new for up to two years. 

Let’s Summarise: How do You Keep Aluminium Pontoons from Corroding? 

To ensure the longevity of your pontoon boat and to keep the aluminium from corroding, cover it with a protective layer of any copper-free coating. Polish the pontoon to extend its life and repair any cracks and scratches as frequently as possible.

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