Can You Use A Freshwater Trolling Motor In Saltwater? Important Things You Need to Know

Fishing aficionados ask – can you use a freshwater trolling motor in saltwater?

The short and straightforward answer is Yes.

But while it is possible to use your freshwater trolling motor in salt water, it is not always that simple.

There are certain things you need to do to make sure everything turned out right with your trolling motor. So, keep reading and learn more about these tips and tricks from the trade to ensure a worry-free usage of your trolling motor – and keep it working well for a long time.

can you use a freshwater trolling motor in saltwater

Can You Use a Freshwater Trolling Motor in Saltwater?

Catching fish does not only require being at the right place and at the right time.

You also need to make sure that you find a quiet spot or at least with the most minimal noise around. This is the secret to a good catch – whether you are a beginner or a pro in fishing.

And for this, a trolling motor comes in quite handy. With a trolling motor, you can achieve efficient boat propulsion without much effort.

Fortunately, trolling motors have become more and more advanced these days. In fact, improvements have been made to these motors. Now, it is easy to find these with high-tech GPS systems, fish finders, and so much more.

With the help of a trolling motor, you can easily position your boat in the most desirable location and form. When this happens, you can expect the best angle for you to cast.

There are also trolling motors used for freshwater and saltwater. It is just a matter of choosing the right one where you intend to use this tool.

Freshwater Vs. Saltwater Trolling Motor

To tell a freshwater and saltwater motor apart, you need to look at the compartments they contain.

For instance, saltwater motors contain materials that resist corrosion. Thus, this prevents the material from rusting due to the saltwater present in the body of water.

This is why your decision of buying one over the other is affected by the environment where you are planning to fish.

If you are looking to fish in freshwater, keep in mind that it has under 1 percent dissolved salt content. On the other hand, there is a higher salt density in saltwater.

But this is not to say that freshwater does not contain salt at all. There is still salt present but only in very minimal amounts.

Aside from the material the motor is made of, another thing that sets a freshwater and a saltwater motor apart is in the sacrificial anode. This component is found on the bottom and appears as a small tab made of metal.

What this does is it impacts the motor’s durability and performance.

Saltwater trolling motors have the anode protected by a special material. This allows it to resist rust and corrosion. Since brackish water is corrosive, you can rely on the covering to keep the motor in good shape for a longer time.

Using a Freshwater Trolling Motor in Saltwater – Tips You Need to Know

Can you use a freshwater trolling motor in saltwater?

It depends.

Basically, it is possible, but at the same time, you have to take into account the safety of the motor. The salt present in the water corrodes metal. Eventually, this will reduce the motor’s lifespan.

This is why trolling motors for saltwater use have enhancements. These are designed to prolong their lifespan and handle the high amount of salt density in the water.

Some enhancements include hardware made of stainless steel, an advanced painting process, and electrical connections sealed completely for more aggressive corrosion protection.

freshwater trolling motor

If you are planning on using a freshwater motor in the ocean, make sure it has ample protection from corrosion.

However, it is not always possible that your motor has those enhancements similar to a saltwater motor. Thus, you can implement a quick solution to protect the motor from damage.

When you are only looking to sail for a one-time situation only, you can simply rinse the salt off the material. Use fresh water in cleaning the motor. This allows you to flush out any debris or salt deposits left on the material.

Additionally, you can attach some sacrificial nodes right on the motor. These metal pieces prevent corrosion since they are the ones that corrode instead of the motor itself.

Yet, be sure that you inspect and replace the anode as often as possible to shield the engine from corrosion.

Next, make it a point to avoid submerging the boat in salty water. This will help to prevent further salt deposits and damages to the motor.

Additional Tips on How to Use Freshwater Trolling Motor in Saltwater

Aside from the previous tips we have mentioned, it is worth painting on the metal portion of the motor. The good thing about painting is that it prevents the metal from corroding as it serves as a shield.

Keep in mind that you can always remove the paint after use and just apply more paint when you notice that it chips out. These are temporary solutions to using a freshwater trolling motor in saltwater when this is the only type of motor you have on hand.


Fishing at the perfect location and desirable time is essential to ensuring a great catch.

But always keep in mind that a trolling motor can also be very handy by allowing you to cast at a desirable angle and reduce noise that will end up startling your target.

We hope that this post helped to answer your question, “Can you use a freshwater trolling motor in saltwater?”

Now, you can simply apply these tips and techniques to make sure that your trolling motor will last a long time while helping you achieve your goal of a big catch!

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