Instead of looking for better ways of getting parts un-frozen, why not just avoid the problem in the first place!


How often have you – or your boatmate – spent hours trying to get something apart?  Say, a hose clamp, unscrewing a water pump, trying to remove the deck fill plug, removing a shackle on the genoa . . . the list goes on and on. How many gallons of Liquid Wrench or PB Blaster have you used?

Nope, I’m not going to tell you a secret way to get stuff apart.  I’m going to tell you how to avoid the problem in the first place.

Over the years, Dave and I have learned that few cruisers know about one of our favorite products:  Anti-Seize (actually, we’ve always called it “Never Seize”).  Actually, I’d never heard of it (and my dad owned a hardware store) until I saw it in Dave’s toolbox.

It’s marketed as a lubricant for spark plugs and you most often will find it in an auto parts store, or sometimes in a hardware.   I’ve never seen it in a chandlery.  The good news is that it’s cheap (under $5) and a small tube will last a long time.  Just coat the threads of one half of what you’re screwing together before you put two metal pieces together, and wipe the excess off (it’s one of those things where your hands WILL get dirty putting it on).  It’s fine for engines, safe up to 1,600° F.

You can buy anti-seize at your local auto parts store and on Amazon.

UPDATE:  Robert Patterson left a note in the comments that there is also a food grade version of Anti-Seize for use where it may come in contact with potable water, etc.  This would be better to use on the deck fill for water than the standard Anti-Seize.  Dave didn’t even know it existed and I’ve never seen it in a store.  It only comes in 8 ounce containers, which is enough to last forever on most boats, and it’s “only” good to 900° F.

Once opened, keep the tube in a heavy-duty (freezer) plastic bag – we’ve discovered that if it sits in the tool box on a boat, other stuff hits it and will possibly puncture the tube or at least “squish” it.  If it’s in a bag, it’s less likely to puncture and if it does, the mess is contained and you can still use the Anti-Seize.

We (okay, mostly Dave) used Anti-Seize on a ton of stuff all over the boat, including:

  • hose clamps
  • shackles – really important for being able to quickly get sails off in case of a hurricane warning (but be sure to mouse with seizing wire so they don’t come unscrewed)
  • deck fills (see Jan’s story of trying to get theirs open after years of cruising and not using it)
  • engine and outboard
  • pumps (keep it out of the pump itself, though)
  • mast/boom hardware (very important if stainless screws are going into an aluminum mast or boom)
  • anywhere that we used locknuts (without locknuts, sometimes you have to choose between using Anti-Seize and Loctite)

By the way, if you live ashore part time, it’s also great for lots of land projects, too – anywhere that two metal pieces come together.

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  • Robert Patterson on Facebook
    Posted at 03 October 2012 Reply

    Permatex Food Grade Anti-Seize lubricant is a premium,
    synthetic, food grade, non-drying anti-seize compound.
    Permatex Food Grade Anti-Seize is formulated with PTFE
    and other lubricating solids in a non-melting carrier. Food
    Grade Anti-Seize is NSF H-1 White Book listed which gives it
    full acceptability for use in all areas where incidental food contact may occur.

  • The Boat Galley on Facebook
    Posted at 03 October 2012 Reply

    Thanks for adding that — I’ve never seen the food grade version, we’ve always been very careful to keep it from coming in contact with the inside of hoses, etc. I’ll be on the look out for it!

  • Steven K. Roberts on Facebook
    Posted at 10 June 2013 Reply

    One of the best things ever.

  • Stephanie Hamilton on Facebook
    Posted at 10 June 2013 Reply

    and tef-gel. can’t live on a boat without it.

  • Stephanie Hamilton on Facebook
    Posted at 10 June 2013 Reply

    This is Bill. I used Tef-Gel (or the West Marine generic) on all my screws and bolts on S/V SummerWind. ESPECIALLY on dissimilar metals such as stainless steel screws holding winches on the mast and booms. Not only is antisieze, but insulates against the galvanic action that causes the oxides that cause the siezing.

  • The Boat Galley on Facebook
    Posted at 10 June 2013 Reply

    Thanks Bill!

    You can get Tef-Gel on Amazon as well as from West Marine.

  • Rita Wolfe
    Posted at 16 August 2015 Reply

    LPS 01716 Food Grade degreaser will not take the paint or cosmetic applications from fiberglass or any other area you would like to protect during a degreasing project.

  • Petra Vandenberg
    Posted at 18 August 2015 Reply

    Stephen John Martland

  • Gerald Vlasak
    Posted at 18 August 2015 Reply

    It’s called lubrication.

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