Q&A: Can I Use Bronze Sea Cocks In An Aluminum Boat?

Question: Do you have bronze sea cocks in your aluminum hull and if so what level of corrosive activity have you seen?

Answer: We have bronze sea cocks insulated from the hull with fiber spacers. The through hulls are plastic. There is no sign of any corrosion around most of the sea cocks, which are located in the engine room. The only exception are the head sea cocks located forward. Here the hull plate under them is showing some light pitting from copper salts dripping off the sea cocks over the last 20 years. I think the reason that the engine room sea cocks don’t have this problem is that the heat from the engine and generator keep them and the surrounding area pretty dry, whereas up forward the area is often wet from condensation, particularly when we are in cold water areas (most of the time).

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John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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