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How do I stop stainless from rusting?

2021 March 1

Dear Boat Doctor,

I brought my boat from the Great Lakes to the Caribbean for the first time this year and now the corrosion on my boat’s stainless steel is making me crazy.  It has gone 20 years without a spot of rust but it showed signs of corrosion almost immediately in saltwater. How do I clean this up and prevent it from getting worse?

George Stadler

Sandusky, Ohio

Dear George,

Stainless steel is relatively rust-free by itself, but if there is iron embedded into the surface, it will rust quickly.  The iron gets there during the manufacturing process, from the tooling used to form the metal.

I have had the best luck with a product called Spotless Stainless (www.spotlessstainless.com).  This is a mildly acidic product that removes the iron and associated rust from the surface. The clean surface will be chromium from the base stainless surface, and that chromium will oxidize into a protective layer.

It is easy to use, just brush it on and wait. I like to brush it on, mildly scrub with a scrub pad, apply again and let it soak for 20 to 30 minutes. You need to keep it wet during the waiting period and then hose off vigorously.

It will leave the metal clean and less likely to rust again.

What’s the best way to mount my iPad?

Dear Boat Doctor,

My iPad has become one of my favorite pieces of onboard equipment. I use it on passages for occasional navigation and also for watching movies. I’d like to mount it under my dodger with an articulating mount. Is there a mount created for this use or do I need to fashion my own? 

Mike Lopez

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Dear Mike,

I won’t lecture you on proper watch standing, and I understand a movie can help the time pass on a long night watch. You’re right that a proper mount is essential to keep your tablet safe and dry. 

I like the mounts from RAM Mounts (www.rammounts.com). RAM makes very robust mounts for almost anything.  Combining a base, an articulating arm and a device mount gives you a full solution.  I assume you want a rail mount, but they also make flat surface mounts with screw-on, suction or adhesive attachment.

No matter how you mount your iPad, be sure to look around for traffic every 15 minutes or so.