MISCONCEPTION: 316 stainless steel is a marine grade and is suitable for seawater immersion.
FACT: Seawater has about 20 times the chloride level that 316 can withstand and it is worse if the surface is rough or has a crevice (such as a nut and bolt). Seawater suitable stainless steels are the super austenitic or super duplex grades.
316 is often referred to as the ‘marine grade’ but this simply means that, provided it has a good finish and is washed by rain or under a proper maintenance regime, it will remain bright and shiny. In seawater it will rust especially around hard fouling or crevices – think seashells or bolts – and even under deposits in the splash zone. Furthermore, in severe coastal applications where salty ocean spray is allowed to build up over time, 316 can visibly corrode.