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How to Clean Sea Strainers

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Sea strainers, also known as raw-water strainers, provide your boat with a layer of defense against the ocean. These strainers filter out the junk and debris from the water that your boat uses to cool its engine. However, that means they’ll get dirty over time. Learn how to clean sea strainers so that you can maintain this layer of defense and keep your boat running smoothly.

Keeping a Sea Strainer Clean with Prevention

There’s an old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You should adopt the same mantra when it comes to your sea strainer. Do this by keeping your strainer clean by applying foul-release coating. This product is exactly how it sounds—the coating will make it easier to remove anything foul from the water without impacting the strainer’s ability to pass water through it. Applying a thorough coating of foul-release will make the prospect of cleaning your sea strainer much easier, especially if you clean it often enough to avoid letting clumps build up.

Disassembling Your Sea Strainer

It may not be your favorite part of your regular boat maintenance, but knowing how to disassemble your sea strainer is necessary to avoid future problems. But, the good news is, the disassembling process often makes it easier to remove the debris that is caught in the nooks and crannies of your system.

The more modern your sea strainer is, the less likely it is that you’ll have to disassemble it. That’s because modern sea strainers are built with easy cleaning in mind, so they make it simple to access the screen and wipe it down. But, if you have any doubts about your sea strainer’s abilities, you might want to disassemble it the first few times you clean it just to check if there are any debris you weren’t able to see.

Cleaning Your Sea Strainer the Right Way

Outside of disassembly, there are a few ways you can make sure your sea strainer is in top shape. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Check its position. If your screen/filter is below the waterline, make sure that you close the seacock before you start cleaning.
  • Dump and clean the basket/bowl. How you do this depends on the construction of your sea strainer. It’s possible that your sea strainer came with instructions for cleaning, so make sure you follow them thoroughly at this stage.
  • Rinse the screen and basket. Rinsing with fresh water can often do the job alone, particularly if you have a new sea strainer or frequently clean it in this manner.

Maintain Your Boat with Top BoatLIFE Products

Knowing how to clean sea strainers is an important part of your boat’s maintenance. However, there are plenty more preventative measure you can take to keep your boat clean and in working condition. Browse the boat cleaners here at BoatLIFE for great ways to clean out your sea strainer, your hull, and almost everything else on your boat!


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