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Getting Your Boat Ready For Spring Make Sure You Check Your Boats Anodes (A.K.A. Zincs)

I’m starting to think of spring maintenance items on my boat as my cabin fever sets in. One of the things that most folks totally ignore, don’t know about, never have heard of, has to do with anodes (most folks just call them zincs). Not just any zincs, but the ones that may be hiding inside your engine’s cooling system.

There’s a picture of one here that was found hiding in the seawater inlet piping on a Caterpillar diesel I was hired to check out a few years back. In that case the boat owners knew all about their engines zincs and hired me to figure out why the one you see in the photo (skinny grey colored thing in the middle) was consuming itself in 2-3 weeks…….
zinc boats
The bottom line on finding these things? Owners manual? Check with your engine maker and see what online resource they have. I can tell you their location is NOT always obvious. As for how long they should last, typically through a normal 6-9 month boating season.

In the case above, we had a water flow velocity issue and the anodes were being impacted by what is called “erosion corrosion”. The water in the raw water intake plumbing was screaming by this anode so quickly it was literally scrubbing it away in a couple of weeks. The fix in this case was a matter of relocating the anode to a place in the system where the velocity of the water flow was significantly slower. All ended well.

So, find your engine anodes and check them out. If you’ve never seen them, they may actually be gone so you may have to start from scratch with this.

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