What is this stuff in my bilge? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 13 Old 09-20-2013 Thread Starter
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What is this stuff in my bilge?



For the 12 months that I've had my boat, I occasionally notice these white crystals forming. There is a metal plate of some sort under the keel bolts, and the crystals seem to form on that. They look like salt, but they don't have a strong salty taste (tastes more like metal).

The crystals dissolve pretty easily. I sometimes have a bit of water in the bilge (condensation, I think), and I'm able to vacuum up the resulting slurry quite easily.

Any ideas?

1981 Spirit 28 "Bonnie Lass"
Bremerton, Washington
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post #2 of 13 Old 09-20-2013
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Re: What is this stuff in my bilge?

Oxide of whatever metals are present, possibly from electrolitic action of dissimilar metals.

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post #3 of 13 Old 09-20-2013
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Re: What is this stuff in my bilge?

Is it that plate stainless steel and the keel lead..??
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post #4 of 13 Old 09-20-2013
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Re: What is this stuff in my bilge?

did you clean with bleach by any chance, it might be the remnants of the bleach aka chlorine
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post #5 of 13 Old 09-20-2013
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Re: What is this stuff in my bilge?

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Is it that plate stainless steel and the keel lead..??
How bad is stainless to lead galvanic corrosion?

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post #6 of 13 Old 09-20-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: What is this stuff in my bilge?

It is a lead keel, but I'm not entirely sure what the plate is (or even what it's for). It is badly pitted though.

No bleach, at least since I've owned it.

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post #7 of 13 Old 09-21-2013
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Re: What is this stuff in my bilge?

That metal plate is helping to distribute the load of the nuts that attach the keel bolts to your hull. Kind of important part of the boat's structure.
Keep it as clean as you can.

Your bilge looks pretty clean to me - minus the crystals in the pics.
Can't see any pitting.

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Re: What is this stuff in my bilge?

The plate is only about 1/16 inch thick - I can't imagine it has much of a structural function. I wonder if it serves to tie the keel bolts together electrically, or maybe act as a sacrificial anode (particularly in light of the pitting and crystals)? You can see the keel grounding cable in the photo, which is connected to the plate.

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post #9 of 13 Old 09-21-2013
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Re: What is this stuff in my bilge?

Could that plate be made of an aluminum alloy?
You might be on to something with your sacrificial anode comment.
Still can't see the pitting from here...
or the 1/16"

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post #10 of 13 Old 09-21-2013
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Re: What is this stuff in my bilge?

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Originally Posted by CalebD View Post
Could that plate be made of an aluminum alloy?
...
Aluminum often produces a sort of fluffy white oxide when it corrodes. And it pits like crazy in sea water.

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