Saltwater vs. Freshwater Boating: What Are the Differences?

Taking a boat from salt water to fresh water and vice versa isn’t as easy as it sounds. Don’t worry—you don’t have to run out and buy a new boat if you’re planning on switching from one type of water to another. However, you do need to take some precautions. Some boats are made to handle quiet lakes, while others are designed for rough ocean waters. But with some preparation, you can enjoy both fresh water and salt water with any boat.

If you’d like to know more, read on as we discuss saltwater versus freshwater boating and how they differ.

The Hull

The hull of your boat plays an important role when your boat runs into swells in any type of water. One thing to be aware of is that swells are more likely to happen in the ocean, and they’ll be much bigger than freshwater swells. Therefore, if you have a freshwater boat with a flatter hull and are planning to begin enjoying salt water, you’ll need to upgrade your hull.

Also, beware of blisters on the hull, which occur more frequently in fresh water. Repairing the blisters before you head into salt water is a must.

Salt Damages the Engine

Salt is corrosive. If you live in a northern state where there’s salt on the roads in the winter, then you know what it can do to your vehicle. It’s just as tough on boats, especially the engine. Boats designed for salt water have unique cooling systems that flush the engine to prevent corrosion. A freshwater boat will corrode quickly in saltwater. However, just as with the hull, you can upgrade the system if your boat will now be in the ocean more often.

Can You Safely Use a Freshwater Boat in Salt Water?

The answer to that question is yes and no. As we mentioned, a freshwater boat needs a couple of upgrades to survive the ocean. Some boats may be too small and unable to handle enough upgrades to be safe enough. However, taking a saltwater boat to fresh water shouldn’t be a problem. A saltwater boat is designed for big waters and tougher terrain. The only thing to be aware of is that blisters may eventually form on the hull.

Fresh water and salt water have their differences, but comfort in the boat will make the ride better. You can count on Smooth Moves for the best ride with our marine suspension seating, which can handle any type of outing. Check out our catalog of products, and contact us with any questions.