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Can a Freshwater Trolling Motor be Used in Saltwater?

Freshwater Trolling Motor be Used in Saltwater

Here’s the truth:

Yes, a freshwater trolling motor can be used in saltwater. However, you must clean and protect your trolling motor before and after. 

Choosing the Right Trolling Motor

Did you know getting into the best fishing spots with minimal noise will boost your chances of catching fish? This is one of the main reasons why trolling motors are used. They are a source of boat propulsion with lots of ease and minimal hand work. Depending on where you need to use your boat, you can purchase the appropriate motor to suit your needs. The main selection for the trolling motors depends on the mode of steering and the water type. Here is a in depth trolling motor guide that I have written.

From possessing fish finders to using high tech GPS advancements, trolling motors have seen improvement and adoption over time by all those who enjoy good sails. Trolling motors are precisely high-tech replacements of an oar.  It is an outboard powered engine meant for more natural boat propulsion.

Trolling motors help in positioning the boat in the best form and spot, and when used for fishing, this angle is best to cast. Based on the control, the motor is classified as foot-control, hand-control or wireless remote control. These motors are further classified to salty water or fresh water motors depending on the water body they are used.

The main difference between the fresh water and salt water motor is the material they are made of. For saltwater use, the motor compartments are made of material that repels corrosion brought by the corrosive properties of the salt water in the ocean. Water type thus plays a critical role in determining which type of motor to get.

Bestseller No. 1
Newport Vessels NV-Series 55lb Thrust Saltwater Transom Mounted Trolling Electric Trolling Motor w/ LED Battery Indicator & 30' Shaft
2,683 Reviews
Newport Vessels NV-Series 55lb Thrust Saltwater Transom Mounted Trolling Electric Trolling Motor w/ LED Battery Indicator & 30" Shaft
  • EFFICIENT POWER: 55lb Thrust - this 12v electric trolling motor provides excellent power and efficiency for any boater. The high quality build allows the motor to run all day long without overheating, or making noise to spook fish
  • FEATURES: This motor features a 30 inch shaft, a 5 LED battery meter, a 6 inch telescoping tiller handle, and 3 blade propeller. The mount angle, height, and direction can all be adjusted and locked into place when needed
  • SPEED: This motor has 8 speeds, 5 forward and 3 reverse. The motor is designed for trolling, so the top speed of this motor is about 4mph, but depends on your boat shape, weight, water, wind, and other factors. Our 3 Blade Propeller gives the motor great low end torque to get the boat moving
  • BATTERY: The NV 55lb motor requires one (1) 12V Lead-Acid Deep Cycle or Lithium Deep Cycle battery (battery not included), 50ah recommended. The motor also includes a 50amp circuit breaker which is recommended at all times to protect from battery voltage surges. Max Amp Draw: 52A
  • QUALITY & RELIABILITY: All Newport motors are made to high quality stainless steel, magnesium, and zinc hardware to withstand fresh water and salt water environments. We stand behind every product we make with industry leading customer service and a 2 year warranty
Bestseller No. 2
PEXMOR Electric Trolling Motor 55LBS Thrust Saltwater Transom Mounted w/LED Battery Indicator 8 Variable Speed for Inflatable Boats, Jon Boat, Pontoon Fishing Boat (36' Shaft)
115 Reviews
PEXMOR Electric Trolling Motor 55LBS Thrust Saltwater Transom Mounted w/LED Battery Indicator 8 Variable Speed for Inflatable Boats, Jon Boat, Pontoon Fishing Boat (36" Shaft)
  • 【VARIABLE HANDLE】- Comes with 6" telescoping adjustable handle. You can use it as long or as short as you want. Also,comfortable handle, 5 forward speeds and 3 reverse speeds is for you to take a smooth and easily control.
  • 【LED BATTERY INDICATOR】- 1-10 LED light indicator let you keep track of the battery's capacity. The red and green lights will give you a big hint. 1-3 red lights indicate low power to remind you of the left capacity of battery. (Battery not included)
  • 【ADJUSTABLE DEPTH AND ANGLE】- Adjusting the shaft angle by press the button can adapt to different sailing conditions according to your surfing demands. Also, you can also adjust the depth of the machine in the water at will with a knob.
  • 【UNIQUE DESIGN】- PEXMOR Electric Trolling Motor is equiped with three bladed propeller, which can enhance motivation and effiency. Three sharp blades make it easy to get rid of seaweed. In addition, we have an additional two and three bladed propeller in the 36/45 and 55/86 thrusters respectively.
  • 【100% GUARANTEE】- PEXMOR always provides excellent pre-sales and after-sales customer services. If for any reasons you're not satisfied with your purchase, please contact us to exchange or refund. Don't wait any longer and enjoy it right now!
Bestseller No. 3
Newport Vessels Kayak Series 36lb Thrust Transom Mounted Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor w/ LED Battery Indicator (24' Shaft)
586 Reviews
Newport Vessels Kayak Series 36lb Thrust Transom Mounted Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor w/ LED Battery Indicator (24" Shaft)
  • KAYAK SHAFT: 24-inch fiberglass shaft allows for variable depth placement, while offering a lifetime of dependable performance.
  • VARIABLE SPEED: 8 speeds (5 forward & 3 Reverse) with 6-inch telescoping handle puts you in total control of your ride.
  • SALTWATER RATED: Durable all aluminum motor head w/ corrosion resistant magnesium, zinc, and stainless-steel hardware for saltwater use (Lead-Acid DC 12V).
  • EXTRA LONG CABLES: 5'6" battery cables allow for versatile battery placement for optimal weight distribution (Battery Not Included).
  • USA & SERVICE: Newport Vessels is based in California with a full in-house customer service team (M-F 9am-5pm PST). For any questions or concerns, contact us directly!

What are the difference between saltwater and a fresh water motor?

There are some critical differences between these two motors that one needs to know before purchasing a trolling motor.

Freshwater has a dissolved salt content of less than 1%. The density of the salt is much higher in salt water, but fresh water is not entirely devoid of the salt. Salty water covers about 71% of the earth. From these statistics, it’s clear that in one way or another, the ratio of boaters on salty water vs. fresh water is quite high, so one might end up needing to use their freshwater motor in a brackish water body.

One main difference between the two motors is the sacrificial anode, which is a small metal tab on the bottom. This comes in handy when it comes to the performance and durability of the motor. In salty water, the anode is covered with material to prevent it from rusting easily. Brackish water is highly corrosive, and this covering is used to avoid the motor from rusting easily.

Can a Freshwater Trolling Motor be used in Saltwater?

The answer to this is a yes or no, or somewhat it depends. The main disadvantage of using motors in salty water is that salt corrodes metal and shorten the lifespan of the motor. Salty water trolling motors have some enhancements, meant to suit their use in the high salt density water mass. These include stainless steel hardware, sealed electrical connections and an advanced painting process for improved corrosion protection.  When using the freshwater motor in saltwater, ensure there is a service that is used to match the protective enhancement used in the salty water directly or indirectly.

How to protect a freshwater motor after use in salt water.

Some of the methods below are more permanent than others. The protective method of choice is highly dependent on why you would want to use the fresh water motor in saltwater and for how long.

If it is just for a quick one time sail, then just rinsing the salt off would be appropriate whereas if you want to make a shift to use your boat more in a salty water ocean, a more permanent solution would be preferred.

Run fresh water on the motor after use in salt water

This will help you flush out any remaining salt deposits in the motor

Attach sacrificial nodes to the motor

These are pieces of metal used to prevent corrosion. The anode will corrode such that the motor is spared from the corrosion. Monitor the anode and replace it regularly to protect the engine from rusting.

Never leave the boat submerged in salty water when the boat is moored

For more protection, thoroughly rinse the motor with fresh water after every use in salt water to prevent rusting.

Paint the metal surface

Painting is one way to prevent metal from rusting. You can apply temporary paint on the motor when you want to use it in salt water and can then quickly go back to the previous form of the motor by removing the paint.

Pain, however, is vulnerable to degradation thus one needs to be on the lookout to apply paint whenever it chips out.

Use anodization

Anodization uses electric current giving metal a protective coating which then prevents the metals from corroding. This create a corrosion and rust resistance layer on the metal. This process changes the structure at the top of the service and you can do this if you want to use the fresh motor on saltwater for longer timelines.

Use salt removal sprays

Star brite Salt Off Protector with PTEF 22 oz Spray

Click Image to See at Amazon

These sprays remove salts and suspend rusting more quickly. It is a refillable pump-spray bottle that is filled with chemicals to minimize the rusting.

There are different types of salt-off sprays that can be sued.

Final thoughts

The decision to use the freshwater motor on salt water is highly dependent on for how long and also if you are willing to go the extra mile of observing the protection to prevent corrosion. This follow up is a bit tasking and one quick solution would be buying the salt water motor instead. You can however just use your fresh water motor on salt water if this is just a one-time thing and quickly follow up with the protective measures.

Go ahead and try one of these protective method if you are looking to spice up your boating or fishing adventures cutting across different water bodies while still maintaining the durability of your motor.

Last update on 2021-03-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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