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Marine Maintenance – The Top Three Issues Every Mechanic Needs to Address

November 2019

The marine environment is one of the toughest there is for any mechanical component and especially for hose clamps and connectors. A simple failure could leave a marine vessel and its crew stranded, often many miles from shore. Not only do clamps need to put up with the ongoing vibration from the marine power plant but the constant pounding of the waves can shake loose just about anything. Even worse, marine engine compartments are fully enclosed for noise abatement, which encourages additional condensation.

So how do you ensure performance in these extreme conditions? There are three notions to keep in mind when selecting clamps for marine repair.

Combatting Corrosion

Any steel part will rust very quickly in the typical marine engine room or enclosure. It is vital to make sure the compartment is properly ventilated and ventilation systems are working properly. This prevents the condensation that causes corrosion. Always use clamps that meet or exceed the engine makers’ specifications for clamp force and durability. As a major supplier to marine power plant original equipment manufacturers, we know what those specifications are and design our products to meet or exceed expectations. We use a variety of very high-quality stainless-steel alloys for superior corrosion resistance such as 304, 316, S50, S60 and SMO and go through rigorous testing to ensure performance criteria are met.

Eliminating Cavitation Erosion

The second issue is mainly a problem with fresh water boats. In an automobile, the cooling system is what we call a closed system. Meaning once it is full of coolant, there is no exposure to outside air or liquids. And because most fresh water boats use lake water for cooling, it can cause issues at every hose clamp joint due to cavitation erosion. If you have worked on cooling systems in boats or cars you have likely seen this phenomenon. It looks like something has eaten away at the metal on the hose neck and other cooling system parts. The lake water has no ability to stop this corrosion but there is something a tech can do to minimize and prevent it. It is as simple as placing the clamp in the right place.

To stop this erosion on hose necks, always place the clamp as close as possible to the bead on the hose neck. When the clamp is more than 3/8" back from the bead, it creates a small cavity that accelerates the impact of any bubbles in the cooling water. These bubbles crash into the metal hose neck at high speeds and will slowly erode the hose neck. Placing the clamp properly prevents this. At the end of the season, it is great practice to thoroughly flush the cooling system and install an antifreeze coolant with corrosion inhibitors.

Using Quality Clamps that Fit the Job

Last but not least, always use the right clamp. If your working on a fuel system, use a lined clamp like the NORMA ABA clamp. If the original clamp is a constant torque clamp, replace it with the same. A worm drive hose clamp should never replace a constant torque clamp because leaks will usually result. Find plenty more tips and information on our marine products at