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November 30, 2022
How to Stop Salt Water Corrosion on Commercial Fishing Boats
Written by: Sam Steele
The commercial fishing industry is massive, accounting for 253 billion dollars in 2021, and so are the boats used to haul in the seafood that people all over the world love so much. With these big boats comes an even bigger price tag.
Commercial fishing boats are often up to 36 feet long. They are ideal for offshore fishing, where the seafood that amateurs cannot catch on their own live. These boats are costly. The average cost to purchase a commercial fishing boat ranges from $200,000 to $450,000, but the price can be even higher for new vessels that are custom-made or have extra features.
Commercial shrimping boats are even bigger, and even more expensive. Even if purchased used, a shrimp boat costs up to $600,000. They can range from 25 feet to 100 feet in length, and shrimp boat costs are very dependent on the size and age of the trawler.
That’s the price of a house! Clearly, your commercial fishing boat is an investment you want to protect. This means taking regular upkeep very seriously, particularly when it comes to rust.
The Importance of Rust Prevention
Metal fishing boats will last forever — as long as they’re properly maintained year after year. However, if they sit even for a year or two without proper maintenance, they can rot and rust out. If you put metal in water, especially saltwater, it will corrode. This is a well-known fact. There are also other forms of corrosion, including atmospheric corrosion. Particularly in marine environments, the air is nearly just as wet and salty as the ocean itself! Ocean air is laden with both moisture and salt, and rust forms quickly in this environment.
If rust is left untreated, it will eat away at the vessel’s structural integrity. When a metal, like steel, is exposed to oxygen in the water and air, it oxidizes and forms an oxide. Rust replaces the strong metal with brittle, flaky powder. In simpler terms, rust weakens your boat and affects its seaworthiness. These steel boats require money to be put back into them – exactly how much money is up to you.
You see, if you’re proactive and put a little money and effort in each year, you won’t find yourself facing the decisions between massive repairs and possibly needing to replace the commercial fishing vessel altogether. Because of how expensive these ships are and how long it takes to buy and outfit a new one, it is crucial to ensure your boat can withstand long-term exposure to the water and salty sea air.
Cold Galvanizing Compounds Stop Rust
Dealing with rust is somewhat inevitable in the commercial fishing industry. After all, you spend a significant amount of time out in saltwater and the rest of your time next to it. Prolonged contact with saltwater and the spray that comes off the surface of the water causes corrosion and degradation over time for just about any substance, including steel. Ideally, you want to stop the rust from taking hold rather than make expensive repairs to get your boat back in usable condition.
The old saying “prevention is better than cure” applies to your commercial fishing vessel. You can prevent rust buildup on your boat, especially on the underside of the hull, running gear, propeller shafts, propellers, rudders, and trim tabs.
Your best course of action is to be proactive about addressing corrosion. It’s not just enough to regularly clean your vessel when at port. Once a year, you should apply a cold galvanizing compound. If you notice signs of rust, take whatever steps are necessary to remove it immediately.
Unlike hot-dip galvanizing, ZRC cold galvanizing compounds offer portable, flexible protection that can be applied in a variety of formats. They’re designed specifically for field and shop repair of hot-dip galvanization, including marine use cases. ZRC is available as an aerosol product, meaning you can spray it on round and oddly-shaped parts, as are commonly found on boats. The ability to get it into the curves and the cracks means it can be applied directly onto the boat. Metal pieces don’t need to be removed in order to add protection.
Specify the ZRC Name
ZRC cold galvanizing products are your on-site solution for rust prevention. Keeping a sharp eye out for corrosion and taking action early are critical parts of preventive maintenance. It’s important to note, however, that not just any product will offer the corrosion protection you need for a price you’re happy to pay.
Be sure to ask for and order ZRC by name. There are marine-only focused products on the market that came to do the same thing our cold galvanizing compounds do – with a much higher price tag. With these products, you’re paying for the niche product focused only on commercial fishing boats, when the truth is that our products deliver rust prevention for commercial fishing boats, bridges, cell phone towers, and more. Steel is steel, and ZRC protects steel.
It isn’t just the price that’s better. Our unique formula provides a self-healing galvanic film that is impossible for others to match. The ZRC difference is made possible by ZRC’s high zinc content (95% by weight in the dried film) of “ultra-pure” zinc dust (ASTM D520 Type III) and proprietary, non-encapsulating binder.
“ZRC has kept my floats in original condition…using ZRC is a no-brainer. Only ZRC has what it takes to hold up to salt water year after year.”
-Phil Donohue, Waveland Marina
Protect your investment and your way of making a living by regularly maintaining your commercial fishing vessels and equipment. When wondering how to stop salt water corrosion, the answer is clear – an annual spray of ZRC cold galvanizing compounds, including Galvilite®, keeps rust at bay. For more information about addressing marine corrosion with a high-quality rust treatment product, contact the friendly and professional team here at ZRC.