Sacrificial anodes are intrinsic to the protection of boats and marine structures by preventing the corrosion of metals higher up the galvanic scale through their preferential breakdown. The dissolution of anodes directly inputs component metals into local receiving waters, with variable rates of dissolution evident in coastal and estuarine environments. With recent changes to the Environmental Quality Standard (EQS), the load for zinc in estuaries such as the Hamble, UK, which has a large amount of recreational craft, now exceeds the zinc standard of 7.9 μg/l. A survey of boat owners determined corrosion rates and estimated zinc loading at between 6.95 and 7.11 t/year. The research confirms the variable anode corrosion within the Hamble and highlighted a lack of awareness of anode technology among boat owners. Monitoring and investigation discounted metal structures and subterranean power cables as being responsible for these variations but instead linked accelerated dissolution to marina power supplies and estuarine salinity variations.
Rees, A., Gallagher, A., Comber, S., & Wright, L. (2017). An analysis of variable dissolution rates of sacrificial zinc anodes: a case study of the Hamble estuary, UK. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 24(26), 21422–21433. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-9762-2