The rumble of snow plows, salt trucks and other road-clearing commercial vehicles is increasingly common as we enter the thick of winter storm season. Most regions in the U.S. experience snow and ice storms to some degree each year, and transportation departments rely on these machines to clear roadways, runways and parking lots. Problem is, the highly-corrosive conditions and materials (salt, snow, sand, liquid de-icers) these vehicles endure season-after-season means fleets can quickly go out-of-service. Local governments invest hundreds of thousands of dollars on this problem, and many struggle to replace existing units on a regular schedule. They have a vested interest in extending the service life of their equipment, so many have come to rely on VCI vehicle covers.
VCI stands for “vapor corrosion inhibitor.” VCI vehicle covers are manufactured with non-toxic, rust-repelling vapor molecules that provide long-term protection to the metal parts encased inside. Many municipalities and even the U.S. military have become evangelists for VCI products in recent years. Rust and corrosion costs the Pentagon more money annually than some of its most expensive weapons systems – up to $21 billion annually, according to a Defense Management audit last year by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
Another study by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration revealed direct costs associated with metallic corrosion just in the motor vehicle sector alone is $23.4 billion-a-year. Several noted “optimum corrosion management practices” – including the use of VCI vehicle covers – had the potential to slash these expenses by one-third.
Preventing boat rust isn’t solely about ensuring your ship shines. It’s about the assurance it stays seaworthy and protecting your investment.
Beyond just being unsightly, boat rust and corrosion can spring a huge leak in your bank account because, as noted by BoatUS Magazine, the majority of boat insurance policies expressly exclude coverage for this type of damage – even if a boat sinks from corrosion-damaged thru-hull fittings.
What’s more, boat rust a safety issue. More than one boat crash has been attributed to failed corroded steering fitting.
One of the best shipmates a recreational seafarer can ask for is a Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor. Zerust produces VCI Capsules for Boats designed specifically to guard against rust and corrosion damage to boats, which are are under constant assault from the elements as well as the risk of galvanic corrosion. Electrical systems, motor and propeller are among the vessel components most prone to corrosion and rust damage.
Top Causes of Boat Rust and Corrosion
So much misinformation abounds about the naturally-occurring processes of boat rust and corrosion. Boat-owning mariners must take time to get a handle on what hey are how best to combat them.
Both rust and corrosion are chemical reactions – the former involving metal exposure to moisture and oxygen and the latter typically due to one metal’s contact with another. Some boat owners may battle both. The type of “rust war” you’re waging generally boils down to:
- The type of metal(s) involved;
- The environment in which the boat is used;
- The care used in vessel storage.
Let’s start with aluminum.
Boating Magazine reports that in a single recent year, U.S. boaters purchased more than 77,000 boats made of aluminum. That doesn’t even include the many non-motorized personal watercraft, such as canoes, made with the material.
Aluminum is a desired material for both military and recreational boats because it’s inexpensive, light and it does not rust the way steel and iron do. However, aluminum is susceptible to galvanic corrosion, an electrochemical reaction caused by proximity to other chemicals. In fact, aluminum is particularly vulnerable to breaking down when in contact with other metals in saltwater.
Protecting aluminum vessels starts with manufacturing, and ensuring aluminium components of a boat aren’t in proximity to other corrosive active elements. There are also protective coating paints one can apply to help ward off underwater galvanic corrosion. Owners of aluminium boats need to be especially cautious before placing them in saltwater.
For maximum protect, Zerust high-performance Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor capsules provide a non-toxic, protective vapor seal against corrosion within a 1-to-6-foot enclosed area. (Larger areas can be protected with multiple VCI capsules.) This can shield electrical components on board, but it’s also a smart idea to install these cost-effective boat capsules to protect the vessels while it’s in storage.
Now let’s talk stainless steel.
Stainless steel is another popular boat-making material, but whoever named it “stainless” was likely an eternal optimist because the reality is: Steel boat rust is real, as steel is reactive when hit with the combined elements of water and oxygen.
The good news is a fair amount of marine-grade stainless steel is high-quality and designed to reduce boat rust and corrosion, particularly with prevention of pitting, which can be disastrous for a steel boat in saltwater. Stainless steel made with higher chromium content will fare better.
However, many boaters with stainless elements like screws exposed to damp deck cores have discovered a type of corrosion known as “crevice corrosion,” which can cause substantial weakening. Some boat owners are caught completely by surprise when they find out a fastener they thought was stainless steel is in fact zinc or cheap-plated steel, in which case they’ll soon note rust rot. A good test of whether your boat has a solid, high-grade stainless steel fittings is whether those components are attracted by magnets. If they do, that’s not a good sign. Those fittings are typically not what you want on your boat.
Combat Boat Rust and Corrosion With Zerust VCI
Zerust VCI capsules to prevent boat rust and corrosion are an inexpensive and effective way to provide top quality protection for your vessel.
If you have questions about the proper type, size and use of Zerust VCI boat rust capsules, our friendly, knowledgeable team of rust prevention experts is here to help.
Contact Zerust for information on Vapor Capsules and boat rust prevention by emailing us or calling (330) 405-1965.
Protecting Aluminum Boats From Salt Water Corrosion, Feb. 12, 2013, By David Seidman, Boating Magazine
Ten Boating Myths Dispelled, September 2008, By Charles Fort, Boat U.S. Magazine
More Blog Entries:
Zerust Boat Rust Prevention Keeps Corrosion at Bay, May 15, 2018, Zerust Boat Rust Prevention Blog
After a long winter of polar vortexes and record-breaking chill, folks are beyond ready to trade their long johns and boots for shorts and flip-flops. Popular spring break ventures have long included epic fishing excursions, from deep sea charter trips to the more laid back, brackish waters of various inlets and bays. If you’re one of those anglers counting down the days until then, take a few minutes to read up on these saltwater fishing reel and tackle box rust prevention tips from VCI rust prevention experts at Zerust.
Decent saltwater fishing reels cost a pretty penny, and top-of-the-line saltwater reels will have you out nearly an arm and a couple sea legs. Your fishing reel is your workhorse, and there is a substantial difference between a fishing reel that works alright for now and one that lasts.
Each reel has a range of intricate moving gears and springs that need to turn smoothly in unison in order to ensure top performance. Although any moisture and oxygen contact with metal creates the potential for rust, saltwater environments especially are incredibly corrosive. They can destroy reels and tackle boxes in a hurry if not properly maintained. That includes having a solid saltwater reel and tackle box rust prevention plan.
Pro Tips for Reel and Tackle Box Rust Prevention in Salty or Brackish Waters
A boat owner’s greatest enemy is indeed a force of nature, but it isn’t ominous stormy skies or even towering walls of rough-water waves. It’s rust. Silent. Invisible until its damage is underway. And it costs U.S. boat owners – including the government – billions.
That’s billions with a “b” and makers of Zerust VCI capsules for boats know it’s no exaggeration. The Government Accountability Office reported in 2011 that corrosion costs the department $23 billion – per year. It’s responsible for the junking of 16 percent of military assets, including $2.4 billion in U.S. Navy ships. It creates safety hazards, decays our infrastructure and erodes our the readiness of military – or your plans for a Sunday sailing excursion.
“Rust Never Sleeps” is a common saying of boat owners – one that became the title of a book on the fascinating global impact of rust – written by an author intrigued after a boat he bought with friends became a constant money pit, thanks to rust. (“Rust Never Sleeps” is also the title of a 1970’s live album by Neil Young and Crazy Horse, which has nothing to do with preventing boat rust, though one of the tracks is titled, “Sail Away.”)
Boat rust is an ever-present threat for boats, particularly in saltwater, because boats are made with a lot of metal, and the formulation for rust development is ferrous metal exposed to oxygen and moisture.
Figure skating season is well under way and hockey season officially started this month. If it’s been a while since you broke out your blades, you may have been dismayed to notice an accumulation of rust.
Zerust skate guard covers are key to blocking corrosion and rust before they take hold. Rusty skates not only inhibit your performance, they can pose a safety problem for skaters. Plus, your skates are investment, and you don’t want to be unnecessarily replacing them.
Understanding why your ice skates rust – and what you can do to prevent it – will keep your blades beautiful for many seasons to come.
When it comes to metal patio furniture, there are basically two kinds: One you grab for under $20 and pitch when rust inevitably starts to eat away. The other, you have every hope it will last a good 10- to 20-years – at least. Whether a sharp-angled simple bistro set made of stainless steel (which, yes, CAN rust under certain conditions) or sprawling wrought iron chairs cast from hand-carved molds forged into intricate patterns, ensuring you prevent rust of this pieces is much preferable to trying to fight it once it encroaches.
All patio furniture takes a fair amount of abuse with exposure to direct sun, rain and wind, the jostling and clanging of regular use, drips of food or drinks and oils and sunscreen from our skin. Top-grade outdoor metal tables and chairs withstand all that better than the cheap stuff, but it’s going to starting pitting and peeling much sooner than you’d like if you aren’t careful to prevent rust from forming.
If you live in a colder climate, you’ll want to take action now during autumn to prevent rust and prepare your outdoor furniture for winter storage.
Metal at rest will rust. That’s just reality. It’s a problem NACE International once concluded cost the U.S. a stunning $276 billion annually in losses. Everything from bicycle spokes to battleships – nothing is immune. The good news is, we’ve gotten better at keeping it at bay.
VCI corrosion protection technology was first developed in early half of the 20th century, marking an incredible advancement, though initially employed for limited use on only a few specific items (mainly pipes and boiler systems on large ships). However, it wasn’t long before a wide range of other industries began to recognize the potential of VCI and began exploring it, though concerns about toxicity kept it from really taking off for a while.
Today, Zerust’s patented VCI corrosion protection technology is non-toxic, environmentally friendly AND effective in helping to preserve all kinds of metals, including those in firearms, motor vehicles, metal tools, heirloom silver and more.
The Science Behind VCI
VCI is short for “volatile corrosion inhibitor,” used interchangeably with the term “vapor corrosion inhibitor.” As noted by research in the journal Metal Finishing, VCIs are a class of chemical compounds that volatize into the air to inhibit corrosion on metal surfaces. The vapors form a very thin film on metal surfaces, which in turn make those surfaces passive to the corrosion process.