If you’ve looked at trolling motors at all, you’ve probably noticed that some are marketed for use in freshwater while others are supposed to be used in saltwater. Some anglers wonder if there’s a difference between these two types of trolling motors.
As it turns out, there are some significant differences between trolling motors designed for use in freshwater and those made to be used in saltwater. Here’s what you need to know to choose one that will meet your needs.
Table of Contents
- Why Do They Make Different Trolling Motors for Freshwater and Saltwater?
- How Saltwater Damages a Trolling Motor
- How Companies Protect Trolling Motors Against Saltwater Damage
- How You Can Protect a Trolling Motor Against Saltwater Damage
- A Note About Warranties
- The Best Saltwater Trolling Motor
- The Best Freshwater Trolling Motor
Why Do They Make Different Trolling Motors for Freshwater and Saltwater?
The answer to this question is both straightforward and complex.
The straightforward answer is that the salt present in both saltwater and sea air can damage certain parts of the trolling motor. Trolling motors designed for use in saltwater have some added protection.
Trolling motors designed for use in freshwater will not have these added elements. The trolling motor may still work in saltwater for a while, but it may not work as long as it would have worked if it was only exposed to freshwater.
How Saltwater Damages a Trolling Motor
The salt that is present in both saltwater and sea leads to the corrosion of metals. Corrosion is the process by which metals are gradually “eaten up” or broken down by the environment around them.
The process of corrosion most often looks like the formation of rust on a metal surface. This brown, flaky substance on iron indicates that the metal has been damaged. However, corrosion can occur on any metal and may look different on different ones.
Salt speeds corrosion because it is an electrolyte. An electrolyte is any substance that has free ions, which means that it can conduct electricity. This conduction speeds up the process of corrosion.
If you look inside any trolling motor, you’ll notice a lot of metal parts. This includes everything from the wires that conduct electrical signals inside the motor to the mechanical parts of the motor.
Because these parts are all made of metal, they can all fall victim to corrosion. When they are exposed to saltwater, this corrosion process may move faster. This means that trolling motors with exposed metal will not last as long as they otherwise would.
How Companies Protect Trolling Motors Against Saltwater Damage
Different manufacturers may protect their saltwater trolling motors in different ways.
Some companies use stainless steel wherever possible. It resists corrosion because it has a very tiny oxide layer on the outside. This makes it much harder for the ions in salt to conduct electricity, so corrosion is much slower or even nonexistent.
Companies may also seal away the electronic parts of the motor in different ways. While all trolling motors have to have watertight compartments for their electronics, ones made for saltwater may have added protection.
Note that the way that companies achieve this added protection is usually considered proprietary. This means that it is their company’s secret and they will not tell you how they achieve this.
Finally, some companies may paint the metal components of a saltwater trolling motor with special paint to help it resist corrosion. This paint will provide a barrier that does not conduct electricity, similar to the oxide layer on stainless steel.
Once again, the specific ways that these paints work is often proprietary.
Some saltwater trolling motors come with what they call the sacrificial anode. This is a small additional piece of highly reactive metal. It has more electrical conductivity than the other types of metal used to make the trolling motor.
Because the sacrificial anode is more conductive, it will corrode faster than the other metals. It is consumed in place of these other metals so that they do not get corroded. This can save the other metals because the corrosion focuses on the sacrificial anode rather than on them.
How You Can Protect a Trolling Motor Against Saltwater Damage
If you need to use a freshwater trolling motor in salt water, there are a few things that you can do to prevent corrosion and the associated damage.
First of all, rinse the trolling motor with fresh water after using it in saltwater. You can do this easily at home with a garden hose, though you will want to rinse it as soon as possible after taking it out of the saltwater.
You may also want to run the motor for a few minutes in fresh water. You can fill a large garbage can with freshwater, submerge your trolling motor, and turn it on. This flushes any saltwater residue out of the motor and, hopefully, helps you avoid corrosion.
If you need to use a freshwater trolling motor in saltwater regularly, coat all exposed metal parts with corrosion block spray. This supplies a non-conductive layer between salt and its ions and metal, preventing the corrosion process from happening.
Make sure you apply the spray generously over all exposed metal parts of the trolling motor, as well as over any electrical connections you can access. This ensures as much protection as possible for your trolling motor.
A Note About Warranties
Many companies that make freshwater trolling motors include a warranty with that piece of equipment. However, the warranty likely contains a note saying that it is voided if the motor is used in saltwater.
If the warranty is not important to you, you can use your freshwater trolling motor in saltwater. However, if you want to maintain that warranty as valid for as long as possible, don’t put your trolling motor in saltwater.
The Best Saltwater Trolling Motor
If you’re looking for an amazing saltwater trolling motor, look no further than the Newport Vessels NV-Series Saltwater Transom Mounted Trolling Motor. You can buy this motor in a variety of thrust levels, so you can get the best one for your needs.
This saltwater trolling motor is efficient, so it will easily last all day. It never gets so loud that it scares the fish away, either. In addition, it’s fully adjustable so that you can use it with maximum efficiency on your boat, no matter what your specific needs are.
Newport Vessels has designed a trolling motor made for use. It has 8 speeds, 5 that move you forward and 3 that go backward. This means that you can get your boat where you want and need it to be, no matter where that is.
It also features a 3-blade propeller. This means that it has great torque even at very low speeds and that it will always be able to help you get your boat moving again. It makes it good at holding you in one place, too, so you can catch all the fish you’ve been searching for.
Finally, this trolling motor is reliable. It comes with a 2-year warranty for use in both fresh and saltwater. It’s made of high-quality stainless steel, zinc, and magnesium, so it should withstand use in even the saltiest areas.
If you’re looking for a saltwater trolling motor that won’t let you down, look into this one from Newport Vessels today.
The Best Freshwater Trolling Motor
Do you live and fish far from the sea? Then you don’t need a saltwater trolling motor at all. In that case, look into the Lowrance Ghost Freshwater Trolling Motor. This high-thrust motor comes in a variety of shaft lengths so you can fit it to your boat.
This trolling motor is silent, so it won’t scare away the fish you’re trying to catch. It’s also reliable. Lowrance tested it for more than 10,000 hours, so they swear to its ability to keep going, no matter what. When you plan to spend all day on the water, this is the trolling motor you want.
This Lowrance trolling motor comes with plug-and-play sonar, which means it’s easy to use out of the box. Find all the fish you’ve been looking for and more when you use this trustworthy technology to help you find the best fishing spots.
Foot pedal technology means that you don’t have to steer or manage your trolling motor with your hands. This leaves them free to fish or do other things on board your boat. Lowrance’s pedal is even more advanced because it is completely configurable.
Make the foot pedal work for you. You can set your preferences for different shortcut buttons and even for a flip switch. These shortcuts can allow you to drop a waypoint with your foot or even to operate your underwater anchor.
If you keep to freshwater when you’re fishing, this Lowrance trolling motor is the one you need. Take it along on all your fishing adventures so you can love every minute that you get to spend on the water.
If you’re looking into trolling motors, make sure you consider whether you’ll be using the motor in saltwater, freshwater, or both. If you need a saltwater motor, make sure you get one that will work for your boat and your needs.
Once you have the right trolling motor for you, enjoy it! Take your boat out often and enjoy your time on the water!