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Living near the ocean... issues?

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#1 Dragonwatcher

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 11:46 PM

In another thread, it was suggested that perhaps reflector mirror coatings don't last as long/degrade more rapidly in areas near the sea.

How much effect does salty air have on mirrors and lenses? Are there different precautions to take if you live near salt water? Does it matter if the sea water is warm or cold? Do dew and fog contain more salt in these areas?

I will be observing from a bluff overlooking salt water Puget Sound in Washington state, with the water perhaps a 1/4 mile away. I have refractors and a Dob and many eyepieces. So this concerns me a bit...

#2 Mariner@sg

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 11:49 PM

Rust and corrosion would be the main issue I gather. The marine environment is quite harsh on almost everything, except maybe plastics.

#3 fmhill

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:12 AM

I have lived and worked on Cape Cod in a career in oceanography since February 1969. My career involved time on board research ships at sea operating sensitive imaging and electronics sampling equipment as well as owning a number of Nikon F series cameras and lenses which have spent many hours at sea aboard ship documenting scientific research. I still have, to this day, a couple of those cameras and lenses, and also have a Celestron 5" SCT that I purchased in a local shop 35 years ago, and its as good today as the day I purchased it.

Point is, equipment does not deteriorate in the salt air environment as long as you keep it clean... Get salt spray on a lens, simply clean the lens using good cleaning practice and it will last as long as you need it to and then some. As to my SCT, in 35 years, I've disassembled it once and cleaned the mirrors and inner surface of the collector plate primarily as they had become filmed by out gassing of some component, I suspect the foam lining the case the SCT is stored in.

You have nothing to fear using your gear 1/4 mile from Puget Sound, just keep your gear clean and it will be fine...

#4 Dragonwatcher

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:27 AM

Mitch, thanks! That is encouraging to hear from someone with first hand experience.

#5 fmhill

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:48 AM

Just for a grin, I know Puget sound, I lived in Tacoma for a year, half of 1967 into 1968 and used to fish off the Point Defiance pier and Jetty. I left there to come back east where I came from and had grown up along the coast of South Eastern Massachusetts.

Then, in the mid 1980's our Oceanographic Instrumentation Equipment Company here on the Cape leased sidescan sonar survey equipment to a contractor for PG&E who was surveying cable routes across Puget Sound near Everett and I ended up flying out there to help with the navigation for the survey...

SO I know what the conditions will be like there and you will not have any problems out of the ordinary...

#6 Dragonwatcher

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:55 AM

That's certainly pertinent information! I am moving to a Whidbey Island west-facing house that looks across the water to Port Townsend. The ferry to Whidbey is at Mulkilteo, just barely south of Everett.

#7 n1wvet

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 01:01 AM

I've have noticed that metal surfaces are more subject to corrosion when you store your equipment near salt water. I observe about 20' from a salt water canal in North Carolina and have noticed the plating on a meade tripod is starting to deteriorate. To be fair the plating on the legs is fairly old so it may be wearing a little thin. No problem with painted surfaces or mirror/lens coatings. I think observing a 1/4 mile away should be no problem. Like fmhill says - keep it clean and you will be fine.

#8 n1wvet

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 01:08 AM

Small world - I've taken the same ferry up to the Naval Air Station. Beautiful area especially watching the bald eagles. Observing should be nice, especially up on a bluff.

#9 wolfman_4_ever

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 02:47 AM

Do dew and fog contain more salt in these areas?


Yes. Sea fog contains salt from sea spray or wind. Clouds (fog included) requires hygroscopic particles which water vapor can condense on. Near the ocean, this is usually fine particles of salt or sand..

#10 Brent Campbell

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 07:01 AM

I live about 60 miles South of you in Olympia. My location is about 5 miles from the water but the conditions are not that different. The short answer to your question...Clouds and fog around Puget Sound- both of which ruin your day of observing.

As for the scope. Take normal precautions to dry out your gear after use. Don't put a dew soaked scope or eyepiece back into a sealed container and hope all will be well! I have had zero problems due to the climate for taking care of the gear.

I typically store my gear inside and bring it back inside within a day of using it. I usually take the lens caps and focuser plugs out and leave it that way for a few hours to dry everything out. Then I return it to its normal storage.

These precautions are probably not that different from what you would do anywhere in the country.

#11 Dragonwatcher

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 02:49 PM

Small world - I've taken the same ferry up to the Naval Air Station. Beautiful area especially watching the bald eagles. Observing should be nice, especially up on a bluff.


Yep, I see bald eagles fly close by my windows and nest in a nearby neighbor's tree. And I can almost make out the pilots who fly very low over my house as they practice at the Outlying Air Field a few miles from my home.

At my suburban home on the Eastside, which we just sold, I can't see the Milky Way due to light pollution. The MW is at least observable from Coupeville. A big plus. The downside is fog and the marine layer.

#12 hottr6

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 11:13 PM

Be concerned. The ocean is a huge oxidizing bath. It will rot anything. Aluminum coatings on mirrors? Maybe a year. Glass coatings? Maybe a bit longer. There is a huge business in recoating optics that spend time at sea (binos mostly).

Seriously, think of the cost of maintaining a boat in salt water vs. fresh water. Ocean air is brutal to optics (and everything else that makes our hobby fun).

#13 Dragonwatcher

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 11:32 PM

But I won't be at sea per se. And my equipment will be out only for relatively short periods "near" salt water. I will not be having salt water splashed on my gear like binos used in a stormy sea. Do you mean aluminum coatings might last a year if saturated with salt water?????

[I see have you have your equipment safely distant from salt water! :)]

#14 RTLR 12

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 12:13 AM

Being 600 yards from the beach, I guess my stuff will disintegrate just any minute now.

Stan

#15 wolfman_4_ever

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 12:41 AM

I'm melting!! What a world.. what a world...

Guess I'm lucky.. I'll have to wait a few days for mine to disintegrate since I am about a mile from the ocean..


#16 starrancher

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 01:01 AM

Being 600 yards from the beach, I guess my stuff will disintegrate just any minute now.

Stan


Right on man !
That means you can go out and buy it all over again , helping to bolster the sluggish economy .
:lol:

#17 csrlice12

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 08:21 AM

and a whole new sheet of Saturn Stickers too!! :lol:

This is a test; do not try this at home with your parent's car. Take your parent's car and park it by the Ocean, take your other parent's car and park it in Albuquerque. Come back in one year....which car is rusted????

The equipment will just require more frequent cleaning/care. You may have to recoat the mirrors every 10 instead of 12 years.

#18 Greyhaven

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 10:37 AM

Stan, I guess that depends on which side of the high water mark you're measuring your 600 yds from to your property line.
Be Well
Grey






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