Jun 18, 2018

Stainless Hose Clamp?

Corroded hose clamp

You've read it before — hose clamps that say they are "all stainless" aren't always being 100 percent honest. Sure, the clamp itself may be stainless, but often the screw that tightens it isn't. That deception means that the most important part of the clamp may fail within months — or even weeks if it's exposed to saltwater.

A failed hose clamp may be as inconvenient as a leak in the potable water system or as dangerous as an exhaust leak that pumps deadly carbon monoxide into the boat. Because your boat likely has dozens, if not hundreds, of hose clamps, you need to inspect them at least every spring and replace any that show signs of corrosion.

Besides rust on substandard screws, check the bottom of vertically mounted hose clamps where water may collect from a slow leak. Standing saltwater will corrode even stainless steel, so use a flashlight (and mirror, if needed) to inspect the entire clamp for rust.

Replace damaged clamps with name-brand clamps, such as Tridon or AWAB, that are made from 316-grade stainless. Check with a magnet if you're not sure; proper stainless is nonmagnetic. AWAB clamps use smooth nonperforated bands, which prevent the inevitable corrosion in slotted-type clamps. The rounded solid bands also prevent your clamps from acting like a cheese slicer on your hoses.

Want to go to the next level? Try titanium clamps. They're more expensive but are nearly immune to corrosion.