Spring Safety Tips: Check your anodes

The weather is moving through spring, towards summer. Before you head back out into the water, here are some important safety tips to keep in mind…

Part 6: Check Your Anodes

Checking for damaged anodes is an essential part of boat maintenance. Known also as sacrificial anodes, these replaceable parts protect the more expensive metal components of your boat from galvanic corrosion such as your shaft, rudders, propeller, stern drive and other vital parts.

The speed in which anodes dissolve depends on a range of factors including usage, location, water temperature and the quality of the anode itself. Longer usage, saltier water, higher temperatures and incorrect choice of anodes can all speed up the process of corrosion.

There are generally three types of anode to choose from – aluminium, magnesium and zinc. We recommend zinc as this material is the most resilient to corrosion in salt water and therefore will have the greatest life expectancy, although aluminium is also acceptable.

For anode maintenance it is important to keep in mind:

  • Anodes should be replaced when they are half eroded from corrosion, typically this can take between six to twelve months.
  • For an anode to work it must have electrical contact with the metal you are trying to protect. Check that the underside of the anode is bright and corrosion free before installing. If unable to make direct contact, it can be connected by a wire as well.
  • Never coat an anode with paint, varnish or anything else that would prevent direct contact with the water as this will render it useless.

Keep tuned for more in our series of safety tips to get you back in the water.

#boatsafety #jerseylifeboats #staysafe