Metal parts & fittings care

There are three main metals, which can be used on boats: stainless steel, brass and aluminum, and the main problem for all metals in wear is corrosion. Make no mistake – EVERY SINGLE one of them is sensitive to corrosion and EVERY SINGLE one of them will eventually rust – some just have higher corrosion-resistance than the others. Commonly a fiberglass rigid hull inflatable boat will have mostly stainless steel and brass metals used for different parts: stainless steel – ladders, railings, handrails, latches & hinges, etc; brass – vents, plugs, etc. Aluminum, apart from the obvious – the hull of aluminum RIB boats, sometimes is also used for bimini tops and roll bars of the smaller and economical boats.

Stainless steel is the best against corrosion and does not need any protective coating. There are many different stainless steel alloys used in marine business, and all of them have different grades of corrosion-resistance and prices.

Brass is also highly resistant against corrosion, but mainly all brass elements are nickel or chrome plated. On one hand this plating creates only the illusion of the shining stainless steel, but on the other it protects brass against oxidation. Note that once this plating is gone you can only replace the rusted part completely.

Aluminum is not so corrosion resistant as stainless steel or brass, and protective coating is absolutely necessary for it. The most popular protection of aluminum parts is anodizing and once this coating is gone – there’s nothing you can do about it, as anodizing of aluminum(as well as plating of brass) is restorable in industrial conditions only.

However taking a proper but simple care of the metal will prolong its lifespan. So just don’t let the water sit on the metal for too long, especially the salt water – rinse it from salt water with the freshwater(if needed) and WIPE IT DRY. Pay special attention to the problematic zones like screws and bolts, and to the joints of the metal parts that consist of multiple elements – this is where all the water hides. Don’t let the boat stay for too long under the rain or even heavy wind(brings splashes) without a cover.

Metal parts & fittings care
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