BlogApril 2017

5 Tips for Aluminum Boat Treatment & Maintenance

5 Tips for Aluminum Boat Treatment & Maintenance

By Tom Keer

Apr 26, 2017

A little preventative maintenance on aluminum fishing boats saves time later on. Take care of your skiff and you'll spend more time fishing and less time repairing.

A stitch in time saves nine goes the adage, and its spot on for aluminum boat corrosion treatment.  Here are 5 tips for keeping your tin skiff in the water instead of in the workshop.

1.  Keep them dry

Half of the battle of stopping corrosion on an aluminum boat is not getting any in the first place.  Water plus metal equals corrosion, and that means you have to do more than just pull the plugs after you haul.  Store frequently used boats in a sunny area.  If you leave your outboard attached then tilt them so the water drains.  If the boats are small enough flip them over.  

2.  Chart your course

Knowledge of your terrain is important to avoid collisions with rocks.  Dents, particularly at the direct point of impact, weaken metal.  Also, carefully pound out dents as a hammer blow can create more problems.  Rubber mallets work best, and start from the outside and work in. Avoiding collisions and pounding out dents can lessen the need for aluminum boat corrosion treatment later on.

3. Don't stop the drainage

I remember pulling a skiff off a beach.  Sand from the haul blocked the rib drainage, and I created my own headache.  The treatment for this corrosion in my aluminum boat was an entire rib replacement.  It's far easier to inspect the ribs to make sure they're not full of sand or weeds and that the water drains properly.

4. Ditch the carpet on your bunks

Carpets hold water that, over time, can cause hull pitting.  Remove the carpet and cover with plastic which makes for easier launches anyway.

5.  Paint the hull

The best way for stopping corrosion on an aluminum boat is to paint the hull.  Bottom paint prevents fouling.  Be sure to paint up to the water line, and patch nicks or chips as soon as possible.

Aluminum fishing boats require more maintenance than fiberglass boats, so keeping ahead of the curve saves big overhaul projects. Keep in mind also registering your boat! 

Tom Keer
Tom Keer
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at or at