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Marelon is a fiber reinforced plastic product. But then, so is your entire boat (unless made of metal or wood).
If you really must have an external strainer, the strainer grate should face aft.
 

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That's kinda wrong. I've had my Pearson 10M (gone in Irmaria after I sold it) surfing down waves and clicking 10kn. I know better than to be forcing a water column into my 2 cyl. Yanmar 2YM20 at speed with the thru hull valve wide open. I called Groco on this a few years ago. On a sailboat, the slits face aft. But nobody does it.
You are right. Better yet do not have a cast screen on the outside, as it's a proven place for marine life to grow. We do have a Groco strainer inside to catch seaweed.
 
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