How Dangerous is Marine Corrosion to Shipyards?


Corrosion is the bane of materials engineers, boat and ship builders, and vessel owners alike. Prolonged contact to seawater and even the spray coming from the water’s surface will corrode, degrade, and decay almost any substance, be it fiberglass, wood, or metal. Corrosive elements can get into vital mechanical parts and electrical wiring, and over time completely ruin the safety of a vessel. Constant vigilance is necessary to prevent marine corrosion from destroying a vessel in your care.

Marine corrosion has been around since the first proto-sailors first tried to float on hollowed out logs. Wood, even wood coated in pitch or some other substance designed to prevent the hull from becoming waterlogged degrades due to organic and chemical corrosion. It is an old trope to have pirates and seamen in movies talk about barnacles and the like in reference to their ships – barnacles and other sea life attach to ship and boat hulls and can slowly damage the hull.

With the advent of massive steel shipyards, marine corrosion has taken on a new economic aspect. The wide variety of chemicals, organisms, and environments ships are expected to endure means that marine engineering has to deal with a wide assortment of corrosive substances.

Rust is a common sight at shipyards that are not properly maintained, and if left untreated rust will eat away at the structural integrity of the equipment. The salt in the air and water in oceanic bodies contributes to the chemical degradation of exposed surfaces as well as the growth of corrosive organisms. Even the elements can assist corrosion by damaging equipment, opening up previously sealed areas to the elements. Electronic components and wiring exposed to seawater can be rendered useless by marine corrosion.

The best defense against marine corrosion is proper care and maintenance. At KRSI, we are experts at defending against the ocean's corrosive elements. Ultra-High Pressure water blasting and shot blasting remove paint, coatings, corrosion, buildup of scale, and other tough marine coatings. This environmentally friendly process minimizes the waste stream and creates a smooth finish. Blasting brings out the structure’s natural material profile without damaging the original surface and ensures no residual media or contaminants (e.g. chlorides, etc.) will remain.

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