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  1. #1

    Default Stray electrical current at Silky's?

    I docked my new boat at Silky's for a season and the powder coat of my new outdrive flaked off all the edges. You might think i hit something but it also flaked badly at the prop base/ outdrive interface and other edges. I raised hell and blamed the quality manufacturer and seller for selling a faulty product, and they were surprised at the advanced deterioration of a new outdrive. They repainted it but it happened again in the second half of the season. I bitched and they repainted it a second time in an effort to make things right. They probably think I'm an ass but I didn't expect a new boat to corrode like it did. Then I saw another boat docked at Silky's with advanced zincs corrosion for such a young boat and it seemed to be too much of a coincidence. I've heard of people dying at marinas with stray current. My understanding is that stray electrical current will hasten corrosion. I just don't want anyone to swim in the marina and get zapped. I phoned and expressed my concerns but I got blown off. Could it have something to do with the flow over the dam? For all the ticky tack violations that get investigated, this is one that merits some genuine safety investigation.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Fox Chapel Marina


    Do you have a stainless prop? That can add to the problem. Also what material are your anodes. They should be magnesium for the river. Most boats come with zinc and that's not good in the river.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Pine Twp.


    Do you have a Merc outdrive? If so, what shape is your Mercathode? I had some corrosion issues and I did some research and ended up replacing my Mercathode unit that is at the base of the gimbal housing on the transom assembly. The corrosion that I got after replacing the Mercathode unit was much less. Moving water also plays a part in the corrosion. There is electrolysis that naturally occurs with moving water. BK is correct that we should be using magnesium anodes in the river. Mine are always depleted by the end of the season.

    BTW, I would never swim at a marina that has shore power. All it takes is one shore power cord being dropped into the water to do some major damage.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2015
    West deer


    Mercathode only works once the boat has sat in one spot for an hour or longer. It takes it a bit to build up a good field around the outdrive. You can piggy back the inside controller for more protection. Make sure all of your ground straps are on the outdrive. Also stainless props are worse due to the different metals and the outdrive being the sacrificial metal at that point. Also you can change your anodes in the middle of the year so they are fresh and become the sacrificial metal.

    However silkys has always had stray current and made the outdrives corrode faster. Part of it is there electrical system on the docks. The other is the old boats we have in Pittsburgh. It only takes 1 boat bleeding voltage into the water close to yours to make your boat and all the others suffer. Finally the other issue is the sediment and water in Pittsburgh. Go 20 miles in any direction from the city and the water is more PH neutral. In Pittsburgh it is more on the base side and it eats soft metals. Cooling towers in the heating and air conditioning system suffer from this same issue in the city. That all said you can protect it better you just need to do the correct things to protect your boat. By the correct anodes, verify the mercathode works and maybe piggy back it. If you don't have one, get one. Finally double check the grounds from the motor to the transom assembly all the way through the outdrive. The ground straps are a big deal and alot of people forget to put them back on.
    '87 Donzi 22 2+3- trailered
    '89 Formula 242LS- docked at outboard haven

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