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There’s just something about the new experiences that come with visiting different waterways that leaves lasting memories. Whether it’s the fact that you’re spending quality time with friends and family, experiencing new things, or having a new adventure, the appeal is undeniable. That’s why, if you’ve never experienced boating in saltwater, you may be missing out on some absolutely incredible experiences. Your best summer memories yet may be just a short road trip away, so let’s dive into how to use your Axis towboat in saltwater. 

Note: There are a lot of differences between boating in freshwater and saltwater, and we can’t cover them all in this article. While we will cover some of the bigger differences, be sure to do your research and prep work before dropping your boat in to saltwater.

Saltwater Package

If you’re about to order a boat and you plan to take your Axis out in saltwater frequently, be sure to order it with the saltwater package. This gives you sacrificial anodes and some stainless-steel components that make your boat more saltwater hardy over the longer term. 


Whether your Axis is equipped with saltwater package or not, it’s important to flush the engine when you get out of brackish (a mixture of saltwater and freshwater) or saltwater. You can do this with a fake-a-lake, which is a hose attachment that feeds freshwater to your engine intake, or by launching the boat in a freshwater lake and running around for a bit. Either way works, but it needs to be done as soon as possible after you’re out of the saltwater. Newer Axis models feature Malibu Monsoon Engines – M5Di, M6Di and LT4 – which were specially designed to be less affected by raw water. These engines have a closed cooling system, which means that instead of raw water cooling the more delicate components of the engine, it’s done with an antifreeze solution called Glycol. It’s also a good idea to partially fill the ballast tanks with freshwater so the pumps get flushed. 


Freshwater Washdown

When boating in saltwater, remember to give your boat a freshwater bath any chance you get. Many marinas will have a freshwater hose you can use.

Channel Markers and Signs

Just like some lakes and rivers, many saltwater waterways will have channels and obstructions, which are marked with signs. Stay between the red and green markers to stay in the channel, and give obstructions—which can be anything from oyster beds to sunken boats to rocks—a wide berth, especially at low tide. 


Always keep a close watch on the tides. They can swing from several inches in some places to several feet in others. Use the Navionics app on your phone to get a rough idea of where it’s deep enough to boat, then keep your eyes open and watch for signs that it may be shallow. If you see cresting waves or a noticeably different shade in the water, it can be a sign of a shallow area and should be approached with caution. 


This may sound like a lot to watch out for, but if you’ve never experienced the emerald and sapphire tones of clear saltwater, or the unforgettable memories of boating with dolphins for the first time, you should give boating in saltwater a shot. When you’re ready for your next (or first) saltwater adventure, build your custom Axis with our 3D Build-a-Boat tool or visit your local dealer for a day on the water. 

Ready to Go All Out?

Contact your local dealer to schedule your on-the-water demo & join the Axis Wake Movement. You’ll be glad you did.