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Riverrat’s Salt Water Journey

RiverRat

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In two weeks I will be hooking up the boat and towing down to the Alabama gulf coast. From my house I’m looking at 1100 miles and 15 and a half hours. Towing for distance isn’t out of my comfort zone, however salt water and tides are completely new to me.

I think I’ll be ready for the salt based on research I’ve done here. I ordered a salt away kit, and will pick up some protectant spray to coat everything that needs to be coated. We’ll be down there for a week, probably have the boat out 3 or 4 times, is it critical that I flush after every outing or just wait til after the last day on the water?

Tides are what concern me the most I think. I’ve been going down to Orange Beach since I was a kid, but sitting on the beach in front of the condo doesn’t really teach me anything about tides. I don’t want to end up sitting on a sand bar for 12 hours waiting for my boat to float again.

If anyone will be down in the FloriBama area waters June 15th through the 21st watch out for my blue AR192, or if you have any pointers shoot em my way!

Also, would it be worth heading over to Destin for a day, and checking out Crab Island that I see so many pictures of?
 

captras

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Not a salt water guy, but if we're my boat, I would rinse/flush at the end of each day. Salt is merciless!
 

Damsroy

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New here so please pardon my ignorance.
How do you rinse/flush if you don't have the shut off valves? Even with a fresh water hose hooked up to he rinse port the engine will keep sucking up salt water at the same time right?
 
Last edited:

Toby

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Isn't critical to do it every single time if you are going out the next day, but is in my opinion a good idea if you are pulling the boat out every day. If you are leaving it in the water, flush and fog it after you pull it.
 

Toby

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Silicone is your friend. Make sure you also run fresh water through the bildge pump as well.
 

seanmclean

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Tides aren't a huge deal, except when tying up. Take a look at boats near you to get the best feel for what to do in a particular area, especially if at a fixed dock. Make sure you have at least 4 dock lines to cover a variety of scenarios. Two great apps: Tides Near Me (free) and Tides Pro (<$5).

I like Tides Pro because it has an Apple Watch app, so a quick glance indicates where I'm at in tide cycle, since we have some pretty large swings up (up to 3m at times). Keep some extra beer on board, worst case scenario if the tide leaves you high and dry - it will come back.
 

Brent Markham

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I would not worry about washing or flushing the engine after every outing. I leave mine in the water for a couple of days at a time and do not flush until I am completely out of the water. Are you docking in the water all week @RiverRat? If so wash the trailer after dropping in so it does not bake in the sun with the salt.

I use Magic Seaweed and Wind Finder for my wind reports and tide/surf reports. Just know if you are going to a sand bar please know when low tide is. Definitely leave a little slack when docked during high tide too if you are leaving the the boat for a couple of hours. Other than that have a great time.
 

RiverRat

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I don’t plan on leaving it in the water overnight. Put in and pull out each day.

Thanks for the tips everyone. Two more days and I’ll be southbound and down!
 

Gym

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Hey @RiverRat. It's a smart man who plans ahead. YES flush every time if you'll be on a trailer. As mentioned flushing in the water without isolation (tow) valves does no good. Salt that hardens in your cooling passages does not get removed with Salt Away. Can you get away with not flushing for a few days...Think about what your boat exterrior looks like after 3 days of dried salt.

As far as wind & tides go I use the Coast Guard app. You can also use the Boat US app. Usually if you're new to an area keep an eye on or ask the locals.
 

sunbyrned

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Just to add to the discussion, I too am a freshwater boater and had the same concern when taking my boat to Orange Beach. I was staying there for a week and the Yamaha dealer there told me it could stay in the water for the entire time. I followed that opinion and I had no issues, thankfully.
 

Gym

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Just to add to the discussion, I too am a freshwater boater and had the same concern when taking my boat to Orange Beach. I was staying there for a week and the Yamaha dealer there told me it could stay in the water for the entire time. I followed that opinion and I had no issues, thankfully.
You won't initially. The problem is cumulative.
 

sunbyrned

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You won't initially. The problem is cumulative.
Could you expound on that? In other words, will I have problems show up later that I need to watch out for?
 

Brent Markham

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@Gym Yeah could you elaborate. Our technology is no different than other boats other than our props. If this was cumulative then every boat on the coast would be falling apart.
 

Gym

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@Gym Yeah could you elaborate. Our technology is no different than other boats other than our props. If this was cumulative then every boat on the coast would be falling
@Gym Yeah could you elaborate. Our technology is no different than other boats other than our props. If this was cumulative then every boat on the coast would be falling apart.
Hey Brent. Most boats, outboards, jetboats, jetskis and many IOs have provisions for flushing the engines. These provisions are there for a reason. Outboards are probably ok with end of season flushing only. I'm not entirely sure why our jets are more susceptible to issues than outboards or IOs but they are. It may be that the engines that push the jetboats & jetskis have smaller internal cooling passages or a different metal composition to make them lighter. I do know that you won't find our jet engines on any other type of boat. This process has worked well for me over the past 8 seasons with no overheats or stuck thermostats.
 

Brent Markham

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@Gym thanks for the input. I use salt away religiously after I am done with the boat but if I am going out for a few days I wont use it everyday. Ill use it at the end of outing.
 

Gym

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@Gym thanks for the input. I use salt away religiously after I am done with the boat but if I am going out for a few days I wont use it everyday. Ill use it at the end of outing.
That's a reasonable approach. I'm just a little anal about it. Before I installed my tow valves I was unable to flush while sitting in the salt water at my friends dock for the weekend. Since installing the tow valves I can flush with fresh water while sitting in the salt so now I have no excuse not to.
 

Brent Markham

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What are tow valves and how can you flush the engines while in the water? I haven't heard of this.
 

Gym

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What are tow valves and how can you flush the engines while in the water? I haven't heard of this.
Probably a better name for tow valves would be bypass valves as they bypass the normal cooling intake line to allow a different cooling source like a hose. When you flush your engines on the trailer there is no issue but if you're in salt water at a dock or slip and try to flush your engines you will also be sucking in salt water defeating the purpose of flushing.

The term tow valve is due to the manufacturer's restriction on running on one engine with the other engine not running or being towed. In either scenario, if you're operating or being towed above 5mph you run the risk of forcing water in through the normal cooling line into the cylinders of the non operating engine. This can destroy your engine. The only thing that prevents this issue on an operating engine is the pressure of exhaust gasses.

So...bottom line if you boat strictly in fresh water your only need for tow valves or clamps is if you have a twin engine with one dead and you want to go faster than the 5mph limit either by using the good engine or by tow you can operate the tow valve or attach a temporary clamp to shut off the water intake on the dead engine. If you're a single engine operator a tow is your only option so a clamp or valve would allow you to get home quicker. Us salty dogs use the clamps or valves the same as the fresh water boaters with the added convenience of being able to flush with fresh water while sitting in the salt.
 
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