My answer to How long should a boat engine last?
Answer by Desmond Last:
I once was asked to start a new boat engine that had only been used once. It was six months old. I could not start it.
The engine was seized solid because of the salt in the surrounding air. The owner had left the air cleaner off. The salt air had entered the inlet manifold. It then seized the piston rings to the cylinder wall and the valve seats had become corroded.
If your boat engine is a salt-water cooled engine then the manifolds and risers will need replacing every 4–5 years. This will depend on use.
They corrode when not in use. The salt dries and corrodes the cast iron. You can get stainless steel components.
Always replace the anodes once a year. The anodes ensure the electric charge caused by dissimilar metals corrode the anodes not the engine.
If it is a fresh-water cooled engine with a salt-water intercooler the engine should last until it wears out. This will depend on use.
Outboards should be flushed out after use and the water pump impeller changes at the beginning of summer.
Provided you use your engine regularly and ensure you cover the air intake if you leave the boat unattended for a long period of time the engine should last until the bores and pistons have excessive wear. A minimum of 10 years on inboards less on outboards.