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Old 12-10-2017, 14:18   #1
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New to salt water

We currently live a couple hours from the Texas gulf coast and we are considering purchasing our first salt-water boat.

We hope to use the boat as a weekend destination and for day-trips in order to gain more knowledge and experience so that we might consider more extensive boat journeys in our retirement years.

We have a lifetime of experience on freshwater lakes but minimal experience with salt water.

We welcome your thoughts and recommendations as to minimum/maximum boat size and layout for an entry-level into salt-water boating and marina life on the gulf coast.

Thank you!
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Old 12-10-2017, 14:39   #2
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Re: New to salt water

Welcome to CF. A lifetime of experience on freshwater has positioned you well for the Gulf. Aside from anode material, and bigger distances (and weather), I don't think salt water sailing will differ markedly from what you're used to. The Gulf Coast is amazing, and you're in for great times. Anything from a pocket cruiser to a forty footer would work for coastal cruising. It depends upon the bells and whistles you choose. As for salt water, remember that water corrodes, but salt water corrodes absolutely. Fair winds.
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Old 12-10-2017, 15:54   #3
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Re: New to salt water

Advertising hype aside, there is no such thing as a "salt water boat". It's a boat. It will float in any sort of water.

Go to boat shows, look at boats for sale in your area and talk to folks at marinas. Buy books and subscribe to boating magazines. And join boating forums on the Internet.
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Old 13-10-2017, 03:52   #4
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Re: New to salt water

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Bryan.
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Old 13-10-2017, 04:52   #5
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Re: New to salt water

The only differences with salt water are -- at times -- maybe a little bigger waves, the issues of galvanic corrosion, and tides. Otherwise, it's a boat, and everything you've learned sailing lakes will apply equally to salt water.
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Old 13-10-2017, 05:30   #6
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Re: New to salt water

I've owned a Maxum power boat for a few years that I use in salt water.

There's nothing much to it over fresh water other than more maintenance. Fresh water (closed loop) cooling seems like it would be a good idea, but in practice I don't think it helps much.

Just be aware that it will be more effort to keep in good shape than you are used to. Simple stuff like keeping the deck and glass/screens free of salt becomes a bit of a chore.

And your brightwork likes to bleed a nice brown rust colour into your gelcoat if you don't keep on top of the polishing, well it does if you own a Maxum anyway.....
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Old 13-10-2017, 09:58   #7
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Re: New to salt water

Coming from many years on the Great Lakes, to the East Coast, it seems that perhaps corrosion is a little more aggressive in the salt environment. Other than that, I see about the same level of maintenance all in all.

If you have been using aluminum or magnesium anodes ("zincs") on your freshwater boat, you will likely need to switch to zinc or aluminum. It's not that simple, but here is nice article explaining that:

Anode FAQs
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Old 13-10-2017, 15:22   #8
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Re: New to salt water

Engines need fresh water cooling or be flushed after use in salt water. Salt water side of cooling (heat exchangers and plumbing) needs to be flushed yearly for marine buildup. If an I/O, tail when docked should be lifted out of the water if possible.
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Old 14-10-2017, 07:49   #9
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Re: New to salt water

The biggest difference is that you can't drink salt water so you could actually die without fresh water. Son't forget to bring plenty of fresh water on every trip ! Or get a water maker.
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Old 14-10-2017, 07:57   #10
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Re: New to salt water

Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasBryan View Post
We hope to use the boat as a weekend destination and for day-trips in order to gain more knowledge and experience so that we might consider more extensive boat journeys in our retirement years.

We welcome your thoughts and recommendations as to minimum/maximum boat size and layout for an entry-level into salt-water boating and marina life on the gulf coast.

Difficult to hit the correct dart board...

Would help maybe for you to look at some boats and then hum a few bars about what appeals to you. For the "weekend destination" part, depends highly on what you need to be comfortable, both in terms of space and in terms of systems. You could look at yachtworld.com for ideas, and then keep a list from that of specific features (of boats you might like) that you think might be useful. For example, family size? How many berths? How many heads? Cooking on board? "Real" cooking? Or "camp" cooking? And so forth...

The only general rules of thumb that might differ from a freshwater boat is that 1) fresh water (antifireeze) cooled engines are better, and 2) I/O configurations (outdrive) isn't great in salt unless you lift or dry-store the boat when not in use. Both are generalizations, of course...

-Chris
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