Many anglers are curious about the possibility of using a freshwater trolling motor in saltwater. After all, it’s usually much more cost effective to buy and maintain a freshwater trolling motor than it is to purchase its saltwater counterpart.

So can you use a freshwater trolling motor in saltwater, or should you just buy one designed for use in the ocean? Let’s take a look.

Can I Use a Freshwater Trolling Motor in Saltwater?

The short answer is that most freshwater trolling motors can be used in saltwater if they’re properly maintained and cared for. However, there are certain precautions that need to be taken to ensure that your freshwater motor lasts as long as possible when exposed to salt water.

The first step is to make sure your trolling motor is equipped with stainless steel hardware, including screws and bolts, which won’t corrode as quickly as other metals when exposed to salt water.

Additionally, you’ll want to make sure your motor has been sealed with a marine-grade sealant so that it won’t rust or corrode over time due to exposure to salt water.

Finally, if you’re using your motor in salt water frequently, it’s important to remember that the salty environment will cause wear and tear on the engine more quickly than it would in freshwater—so be sure to give it an extra layer of protection by regularly cleaning and lubricating all moving parts with marine-grade lubricants designed specifically for use in saltwater environments.

It’s also important to note that some manufacturers explicitly state whether their motors are made for use only in fresh or only in saltwater environments—so if you’re unsure about whether or not your motor can handle being used in both types of water, refer back to the manufacturer’s guidelines before taking any risks.


In conclusion, while most freshwater trolling motors can technically be used in saltwater if they’re adequately protected and maintained, it’s always best practice to check with the manufacturer before making any major changes like this one.

If your motor isn’t designed for use in both fresh and saltwater environments, then you could risk damaging it beyond repair by exposing it to too much saline content. Be smart about how you use your equipment—and good luck fishing!