Raw Water vs Fresh Water Cooling System on Boat

Raw water cooling and freshwater cooling are popular cooling systems to consider for a boat. a raw water cooling system is standard on most boats. this option does not need an additional pump or machinery so it is a financially beneficial option for many boaters.

The freshwater cooling system circulates a water and antifreeze mixture through a closed system to cool the boat engine. For this, you need two pumps and two separate circulating systems on board. Freshwater may be more cost-effective in the long run but will be more expensive upfront.

What is raw water?

Raw water is natural water that circulates in rivers, lakes, bays, and oceans. It is used as a cooling medium in traditional outboard and sterndrive boat engines, as well as conventional inboard engines.

Raw water is the most common way to cool a boat engine and can be used on most boats. To flush raw water through the system, you simply draw it in through the intake and allow it to circulate through the engine to keep it cool.

When the water has circulated through the system, it is then released back into the water.

Saltwater can also be used as a raw water source, but it requires special filters and a dedicated system to prevent salt from corroding parts of the engine over time.

It is important to understand that the raw water cooling system relies on a natural environment for cooling, and if the temperature of the water is too hot, it will not be able to adequately cool your engine.

What does raw water cooling mean?

Raw water cooling means using the water found in a body of water, such as a lake, river, or ocean, to cool a boat’s engine.

Raw water cooling systems are commonly used on boats and are often preferred over other types of cooling systems because they are more efficient and cost-effective.

Raw water is drawn from the surrounding body of water and circulated through the engine, absorbing heat and cooling it down. The cooled water is then returned back into the body of water, where it absorbs more heat before the cycle starts again.

The main advantage of raw water cooling is that it does not require a pump or any additional equipment to cool an engine, making it a cost-effective choice for many boaters.

Furthermore, raw water cooling systems are generally more efficient than other systems, as they can absorb more heat from the engine and transfer it to the water more quickly.

However, raw water cooling systems also have some drawbacks. They can be susceptible to contamination and debris in the body of water, which can cause damage to the engine and affect its performance.

Additionally, algae can form in the cooling system, reducing its efficiency and potentially leading to corrosion or blockages.

Advantages and disadvantages of raw water

Raw water cooling systems can provide an efficient way to cool boat engines, but they come with some drawbacks as well.

One of the main advantages of raw water cooling is that it requires no electricity and is relatively low maintenance. There are also fewer components involved than in a freshwater cooling system, meaning that it’s easier to install and troubleshoot.

The biggest drawback of raw water cooling is that the salt content in the water can cause corrosion in metal parts over time, leading to costly repairs and replacements.

Raw water also needs to be changed more often than freshwater, which can be labor-intensive and costly. Additionally, if the raw water source is polluted or contains debris, this could damage the engine.

Overall, raw water cooling is a good option for boats that are used in the ocean and in areas where freshwater sources are limited. However, for boats that are used in freshwater, a freshwater cooling system may be a better choice.

What is a freshwater cooling system?

A freshwater cooling system is a type of Closed-Loop Water Cooling system. This system uses an onboard freshwater reservoir as well as an onboard heat exchanger.

It works by circulating fresh water and antifreeze mixture through the engine, collecting any heat generated by the engine, and then releasing it into the atmosphere via the heat exchanger.

It is commonly used on larger boats, such as yachts, cruisers, and sportfishing vessels.

The cooling water can be either cooled by a keel cooler or passed directly through the hull for heat dissipation.

This type of cooling system is more efficient and quieter than a raw water cooling system, but it also requires regular maintenance to prevent corrosion and scale buildup.

Advantages and disadvantages of fresh water

Freshwater cooling systems are ideal for saltwater conditions as they eliminate corrosion and the build-up of calcium deposits.

This helps to prolong the life of your engine and other components that use the cooling system. Fresh water also provides more consistent cooling, reducing wear and tear on the system.

The reduced salinity also helps to protect the engine from electrolysis.

Freshwater cooling systems are usually more expensive than raw water systems due to their complexity. The cost of installation, maintenance, and replacement parts can add up quickly.

Additionally, fresh water is usually not available in as many areas as raw water, meaning it may be harder to find a reliable source for your boat.

Finally, these systems require periodic maintenance to keep them running optimally, so if you don’t have the time or expertise to properly maintain the system, this may not be the best option for you.

Does water cooling use less electricity?

When it comes to cooling a boat’s engine, using water instead of air can be much more efficient when it comes to energy consumption.

Water is an effective coolant due to its high heat capacity, meaning that it can absorb a lot of heat from the engine before it needs to be changed or cooled down.

When water is used for cooling, less energy is used than when air is used, making it a great option for boats that don’t have access to unlimited power.

On the other hand, it’s important to note that water cooling can also increase the drag on the boat, as the water has to travel through pipes before it is released from the engine.

What is the most effective cooling method?

There are mainly 2 types of water cooling methods. Raw water cooling is the most traditional method and uses a raw water intake to draw in water and cool the engine.

Freshwater cooling systems use a closed-loop system that recirculates heated coolant through a radiator and back into the engine.

Raw water cooling is the most efficient when it comes to cooling power and fuel efficiency.

This is because raw water cooling can draw in cooler outside air faster than freshwater systems, meaning that the engine does not have to work as hard to cool down.

However, this also means that the raw water will have more particles and debris from the ocean, which can cause damage to your engine over time.

Freshwater cooling is the most reliable system, as it does not rely on the ocean for cooling.

This system uses a closed-loop design where the heated coolant is circulated through a radiator before returning to the engine, allowing it to maintain a consistent temperature.

The downside of freshwater cooling is that it can be expensive to install and maintain.

Raw water cooling can be the most effective for small boats with limited fuel efficiency, while freshwater systems may be better suited for larger boats that need greater cooling power.

Which is better for your boat?

When it comes to cooling your boat, there are a few different options available.

Raw water cooling is the most traditional method and has been used for many years. With this system, raw water from a lake, river, or bay is drawn in through an intake valve and pumped directly into the engine’s cooling system.

This method is simple and reliable, but it can be risky if the water contains debris or organisms that can cause damage to the engine.

Additionally, as raw water is drawn in, it can bring in other organisms that may clog or damage the engine’s cooling system over time.

Freshwater cooling systems are closed systems and offer a safer and more efficient way of cooling the engine. These systems recirculate a water and antifreeze mixture through a closed system to cool the engine instead.

freshwater is cleaner and contains fewer organisms that could cause problems, making it a much safer option.

In addition to being safer, freshwater cooling systems also use less electricity than raw water cooling systems, making them more cost-efficient as well.

Overall, when it comes to choosing which type of cooling system is best for your boat, it really depends on your needs and preferences.

Raw water cooling is the traditional method and is simple and reliable, but it can be risky if the water contains harmful organisms.

Freshwater cooling is a newer option that is safer and more efficient, but it requires two pumps and two separate circulating systems on board.

Ultimately, the decision is yours to make and you should consider all the pros and cons before making your choice.