Boating - - BOAT DOCTOR Q&A -

Q: Boat Doc­tor, we have a 2003 Sea Ray 22-foot bowrider. We are the sec­ond own­ers and bought it three years ago with less than 250 hours on the en­gine. This sea­son an oil leak de­vel­oped, and the oil pan leaked be­cause of an ap­par­ent hole. The ma­rina pulled the boat right away to avoid con­tam­i­na­tion in the bay.

First of all, why would the oil pan rust, and what can we do in the fu­ture to avoid such a slick mess? Thanks for a re­sponse. We are long­time sub­scribers to Boat­ing.

Michael Bai­ley Somers Point, New Jer­sey

A: Sorry to hear of your trou­bles. Oil pans are now mostly made of alu­minum. We’d have to go back and see what was spec’d in 2003, but alu­minum was cer­tainly not as preva­lent as it is to­day. In fact, salt­wa­ter-spe­cific en­gines, like the MerCruiser SeaCore line, go a step fur­ther and an­odize alu­minum parts. (SeaCore en­gines are avail­able as an up­charge.)

So, at the risk of sound­ing blunt, 15 years of steel ex­posed to salt wa­ter is the cause for the oil pan rust­ing out. It’s ac­tu­ally amaz­ing it lasted that long.

You might find this ar­ti­cle help­ful: boat­ing­ avoid­ing-oil-pan-cor­ro­sion.

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