Best Marine Greases, Lubricants & Marine Gear Oils

Posted by Author David Lee
Dive into the world of marine greases, designed to optimize performance and protection in tough marine environments. These versatile lubricants reduce friction, safeguard equipment, and prevent wear and tear as well as corrosion, making them invaluable for a range of applications. Whether used on steering system cables, gimbal bearings, U-joints, or more, marine greases offer enhanced lubrication and rust resistance, meeting NLGI 2 specifications. Suitable for both saltwater and freshwater conditions, these products are reliable, versatile, and durable. With different types such as marine grease, lubricant, and gear oil, choosing the right product can dramatically improve performance and extend equipment life.

Are Marine Greases, Lubricants & Marine Gear Oils the same?

All these products serve to reduce friction and protect equipment. Here's a brief explanation of each:
  1. Marine Grease: This is a thick, sticky substance used to lubricate parts that move against each other. It stays in place well and offers excellent water resistance, making it ideal for use in wet environments.
  2. Marine Lubricant: This is a general term that can refer to any substance used to reduce friction between moving parts. It includes both outboard motor grease and marine gear oil, as well as other products like engine oil and hydraulic fluid.
  3. Marine Gear Oil: This is a type of lubricant specifically designed for use in boat gearboxes and transmissions. It's thinner than marine grease, allowing it to flow and cover the gears properly, but thicker than engine oil to provide suitable protection for high-pressure gear systems.

All them specifically designed for use in marine environments and formulated to provide superior protection and performance in harsh conditions, including exposure to saltwater, humidity, and extreme temperatures.


It is often used on boat parts such as propeller shafts, wheel bearings, steering cables, and other moving parts that require lubrication. Its primary function is to reduce friction between moving parts, which can help prevent wear and tear, corrosion, and rust.

Here's a table showing boat greases use with different parts.

Material/Boat Part Compatibility with Marine Grease
Steel (Winches, Steering Systems) Yes
Stainless Steel (Fasteners, Fittings) Yes
Steel (Boat Trailer) Yes
Aluminum (Outboard Motors, Propellers) Yes
Copper (Electrical Connections, Fittings) Yes
Brass (Fittings, Valves) Yes
Rubber (Seals, O-Rings) Typically yes (but check product specifications)
Plastics (Bearings, Bushings) Typically yes (but check product specifications)
Fiberglass (Bushings, Bearings) Typically yes (but check product specifications)
Nylon (Bearings, Pulleys) Typically yes (but check product specifications)
Throttle Linkages Yes
Trailer Wheel Bearings Yes

Remember, while it is generally compatible with a variety of materials but some specific types may have different reactions. Always test on a small area first or check with the manufacturer if you're unsure.

What is Marine Gear Oil Made of?

Our investigation demonstrated that this product is typically composed of components designed to enhance its performance.

  1. Thickener: The thickener acts like a sponge that holds the base oil. In these products, commonly used thickeners are complex soaps made from lithium or aluminum.
  2. Base Oil: This is the main ingredient, providing the primary lubrication. The type of base oil can vary, but mineral oils or synthetic oils such as silicone, polyalphaolefin (PAO), or esters are common.
  3. Additives: These are chemicals added to enhance the properties. Marine gear oils often include anti-wear agents, rust and oxidation inhibitors, and extreme pressure additives. A vital additive is a corrosion inhibitor, which protects against saltwater corrosion.

It's important to note that the specific formulation of this product can vary between manufacturers, with each having its own proprietary blends. Always refer to the product specifications or consult with the manufacturer for the exact composition of a specific model.

Characteristics of Marine Lube

It has several key characteristics that make it suitable for use in marine environments:
  1. Water Resistance: This product is designed to withstand exposure to water, especially saltwater. It does not easily wash away or dissolve, which makes it highly effective in wet conditions.
  2. Corrosion Protection: It often contains corrosion inhibitors to protect metal components from the corrosive effects of saltwater and humidity, common in marine environments.
  3. High Load Carrying Capacity: Lower unit gear lube is formulated to handle heavy loads, making it suitable for high-pressure parts in boats and other marine equipment.
  4. Temperature Resistance: It can perform well across a wide range of temperatures, maintaining its consistency and lubricating properties in both high heat and cold conditions.
  5. Long-Lasting: Given its resistance to harsh conditions, marine lube tends to last longer than regular products, offering extended protection and reducing the frequency of re-application.
  6. Reduces Wear and Tear: Like all models, it reduces friction between moving parts, which helps prevent wear and tear, extending the lifespan of marine equipment.
  7. Sealing Properties: It also acts as a sealant, preventing contaminants like dirt, sand, and water from entering and damaging the components.
  8. Biodegradability: Some products are biodegradable, meaning they break down into harmless substances over time. This feature of marine lubricant is key for environmentally conscious boaters, as it reduces the environmental impact if it accidentally enters the water.
  9. Versatility: It can be used on a wide range of boat parts, including propeller shafts, hinges, latches, wheel bearings, and steering systems.
  10. Adhesive Strength: Good products have strong adhesive properties, ensuring they stick to surfaces and continue to provide lubrication even under challenging conditions.
  11. Resistance to Oxidation: Over time, some lubricants can oxidize, causing them to harden and lose their effectiveness. It is formulated to resist oxidation, maintaining its consistency and effectiveness over longer periods.
  12. Non-conductive: It is typically non-conductive, which makes it safe to use around electrical components found in many boats and marine equipment.

How Does Boat Grease Work?

It works by providing a protective layer between moving parts, reducing friction, wear and tear, and preventing corrosion. Here's a breakdown of how it operates:
  1. Lubrication: Its primary function is to lubricate moving parts. When applied, it forms a layer between surfaces, reducing direct metal-to-metal contact. This minimizes friction, which can lead to wear and tear, overheating, and potentially, part failure.
  2. Sealing: It also acts as a sealant. Boat gear oil fills in any gaps or spaces, preventing the ingress of contaminants like dirt, salt, and water. This sealing property is particularly important in marine environments where equipment is frequently exposed to water and other potential contaminants.
  3. Corrosion Protection: This product often contains additives designed to protect against rust and corrosion, particularly from saltwater. By forming a barrier on the metal surfaces, it prevents moisture and oxygen from causing rust and corrosion.
  4. Shock Absorption: In some cases, it can also serve as a shock absorber. It helps dampen vibrations and reduce noise in moving parts, leading to smoother operation.
  5. Heat Transfer: While its primary function is to reduce friction (and thus heat), outboard motor grease can also help dissipate the heat that does occur in moving parts, helping to prevent overheating.

In essence, it works by staying in place under extreme conditions, providing continuous lubrication, and protecting against the harsh marine environment. Regular maintenance, including its timely re-application, is crucial for keeping your marine equipment in optimal condition.

Different Types

It can be categorized based on its thickeners, base oils, and specific applications. Here are some of the most common types:
  1. Lithium Complex Marine Grease: This is one of the most common types. It's known for its high-temperature performance, excellent water resistance, and long-lasting protection. It is suitable for a wide range of purposes, including wheel bearings, chassis lubrication, and universal joints.
  2. Calcium Sulfonate Marine Lube: Calcium sulfonate products offer excellent water resistance, high-temperature performance, and superior protection against rust and corrosion. They are often used in marine applications where extreme pressure and high temperatures are present.
  3. Aluminum Complex Grease: This type offers good water resistance and excellent high-temperature performance. They are widely used in marine industries due to their resistance to washout, heat, and load-carrying capabilities.
  4. Polyurea Grease: Polyurea-based types are known for their high-temperature performance and excellent oxidative stability. They are often used in electric motor bearings.
  5. Biodegradable Marine Lubricant: Environmentally friendly option, these products are designed to break down into harmless substances over time. They're ideal for applications where they might end up in the water, reducing environmental impact.
  6. Synthetic Marine Bearing Grease: Made with synthetic base oils, these products typically offer superior performance across a wider range of temperatures. They also tend to provide better oxidation stability and longer service life.

Remember, each type has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the best choice will depend on the specific application and operating conditions.

What is the Best Type of Outboard Gear Oil to us it in Salt Water?

When operating in saltwater environments, it's crucial to choose a type of this product that offers excellent water resistance and corrosion protection.

The Calcium Sulfonate type is often recommended for saltwater applications because of its superior water resistance and excellent rust and corrosion protection. It can effectively resist washout and protect your equipment, even in a harsh saltwater environment.

Alternatively, the Synthetic type is another good choice for saltwater use. These products typically offer excellent performance across a wide range of temperatures and provide better oxidation stability and longer service life. They also tend to have good water resistance and corrosion protection properties.

Is Marine Lubricant Worth it?

Yes, it is definitely worth it if you own a boat or any type of marine equipment. The benefits it provides far outweigh its cost. Here's why:
  1. Protection Against Wear and Tear: It significantly reduces friction between moving parts, which can extend the life of your equipment by preventing excessive wear and tear.
  2. Corrosion Protection: Marine environments, especially saltwater, can be harsh on metal components. It provides an essential barrier against rust and corrosion.
  3. Water Resistance: Unlike outboard gear oil, marine grease is designed to resist washout, even in wet conditions. This makes it ideal for use in marine applications where equipment is frequently exposed to water.
  4. Improved Performance: By ensuring the smooth operation of moving parts, it can help your equipment perform at its best.
  5. Cost Savings: While there is a cost associated with purchasing this product, it can save you money in the long run. By protecting your equipment and extending its lifespan, you can avoid costly repairs or replacements.

How to Get the Most out of Marine Grease?

To maximize its benefits, follow these tips:
  1. Regular Application: It should be applied regularly as part of your routine maintenance. The frequency of reapplication will depend on your specific equipment and its use. Always check the manufacturer's recommendations.
  2. Right Amount: Applying too much marine lube can be as detrimental as applying too little. Use just enough to cover the moving parts without overloading them.
  3. Right Type: Be sure to choose the right type for your specific equipment and conditions. If in doubt, consult the manufacturer or a marine maintenance expert.
  4. Clean Before Applying: Before applying a new marine gear oil, clean the parts thoroughly to remove old grease, dirt, and other contaminants. This ensures that the new one can adhere properly and do its job effectively.
  5. Storage: Store it in a cool, dry place to maintain its effectiveness. Exposure to extreme temperatures or moisture can degrade it.
  6. Safety: Always wear gloves when applying them to protect your skin, and avoid contact with your eyes.
  7. Environmental Considerations: If possible, choose a biodegradable type to minimize environmental impact.
  8. Compatibility: Don't mix different types of these products unless you're sure they're compatible. Mixing incompatible types can lead to reduced performance or even damage.

Key Facts

Consider the following factors to ensure you choose the right product for your needs.

Water Resistance

It should be highly water-resistant to withstand the wet environments typically found in marine applications.

Corrosion Protection

Look for a marine lubricant that offers excellent protection against rust and corrosion, particularly if you're operating in saltwater conditions.

Temperature Range

Different types perform best at different temperature ranges. Consider the temperatures your equipment will be operating under and choose a type that performs well in those conditions.


Ensure it is compatible with your equipment and any existing products. Mixing incompatible greases can lead to problems.

Environmental Impact

If environmental impact is a concern, look for biodegradable types. These products are designed to break down more quickly and cause less harm to the environment.

Brand Reputation

Choose a reputable brand known for its quality. Reviews and recommendations can be helpful in determining this.

Application Needs

Some types are better suited for certain applications than others. For example, there are types specifically designed for trailer wheel bearings, while others are better for general-purpose use.

Marine Bearing Greases Benefits

Using it in your marine equipment provides several benefits:

  1. Reduced Friction: We have found from using this product that it significantly reduces friction between moving parts, leading to smoother operation and less wear and tear. This can prolong the lifespan of your equipment.
  2. Protection Against Corrosion: The anti-corrosion additives protect metal parts from rusting, especially important in saltwater environments.
  3. Water Resistance: Marine lubricant is designed to resist washout, even when exposed to water regularly. This makes it particularly effective for marine applications where water exposure is almost a certainty.
  4. Lower Maintenance Costs: By reducing wear and tear and preventing corrosion, marine boat grease can help lower maintenance costs over time. It can mitigate the need for frequent repairs or part replacements.
  5. Improved Performance: Proper lubrication ensures your equipment operates at peak efficiency. This can lead to improved performance and reliability.
  6. Extended Equipment Life: Its regular use can extend the overall life of your marine equipment by protecting it from damage and maintaining its performance.
  7. Environmental Protection: Some products are biodegradable and eco-friendly, minimizing environmental impact if they accidentally enter the water.

Remember, to reap these benefits, it's crucial to apply them correctly and regularly as part of your equipment's maintenance routine. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for application and reapplication.

Marine Gear Lubes Drawbacks

While it is essential for maintaining and protecting marine equipment, it can have a few potential drawbacks:

  1. Environmental Impact: Traditional products are not biodegradable and can harm aquatic life if they enter the water system. However, there are now environmentally friendly options available that are designed to minimize this impact.
  2. Application Frequency: Lower unit gear lube needs to be reapplied regularly to maintain its effectiveness. This requires ongoing maintenance and can be time-consuming.
  3. Cost: High-quality types, especially synthetic, can be more expensive than standard products. However, the cost is often offset by the extended equipment life and reduced repair costs they can provide.
  4. Compatibility Issues: Not all types are compatible with each other. Mixing incompatible types can lead to reduced performance or even damage. It's crucial to know what type of grease is already in use before reapplying or switching to a different type.
  5. Over Application: Applying too much product can be as detrimental as applying too little. Over-greasing can cause excessive heat build-up and premature failure in bearings.
  6. Specificity of Use: Different types have different properties and are suited to different applications. Choosing the wrong type for your needs can lead to sub-optimal performance or even damage.

Remember, while these are potential drawbacks, most can be mitigated through proper use and application. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and consult with experts if you're unsure.


There are several manufacturers known for producing high-quality products. Based on our observations, here are a few of them:
  • Lucas Oil: Lucas Oil is well-known for making high-performance lubricants, including marine grease. Their product is formulated with premium, heavy-duty lithium complex type fortified with unique polymers, anti-wear agents, and tackifiers to provide excellent water resistance and rust and oxidation protection.
  • Star Brite: Star Brite's Wheel Bearing Grease is designed specifically for marine applications, offering excellent water wash-out resistance and corrosion protection in salt water.
  • Yamalube: Yamalube, Yamaha's line of lubricants is highly resistant to water, providing durable, long-lasting protection.
  • Quicksilver: This marine lube works well under extreme conditions. It's a high-quality general-purpose product suitable for a wide range of applications.
  • CRC Marine: CRC Marine offers a white lithium boat gear oil that provides great heat resistance and heavy-duty service.
  • Bel-Ray: Bel-Ray's Waterproof marine wheel bearing grease is long-lasting, water-resistant, and provides superior rust and corrosion protection.

Marine Boat Greases Ingredients and Warnings

Potential Hazards Warnings and Precautions
Skin Irritation Marine greases may contain chemicals that can cause skin irritation. It is advisable to wear protective gloves when handling grease and wash hands thoroughly after use.
Eye Irritation Marine lubricant can cause irritation or damage to the eyes. Avoid direct eye contact. In case of eye exposure, flush the eyes with clean water and seek medical attention if irritation persists.
Inhalation Inhalation of grease fumes or vapors may cause respiratory irritation or other health issues. Ensure adequate ventilation when using grease in confined spaces and use respiratory protection if necessary.
Environmental Hazards Marine gear oil may contain substances harmful to aquatic life if released into water bodies. Dispose of grease properly to avoid contaminating water sources.


What is marine grease used for?

It is used to lubricate and protect the moving parts of marine equipment such as boat trailers, winches, steering systems, throttle linkages, and more. It reduces friction, prevents rust and corrosion, and is resistant to water washout.

How often should I apply outboard motor grease?

The frequency of application can vary depending on the type of equipment, its usage, and the specific product used. However, as a general rule, it should be reapplied at least once every boating season or after every 100 hours of operation.

Can I use regular grease instead of marine boat grease?

It's not recommended. Marine gear oil is specially formulated to resist water and protect against the harsh conditions found in marine environments. Regular type may not provide the same level of protection.

Is marine grease harmful to the environment?

Traditional products can be harmful if they enter the water system as they are not biodegradable. However, environmentally friendly options are available which are designed to minimize this impact.

What should I look for when buying marine grease?

Look for a type of outboard gear oil that offers excellent water resistance, and corrosion protection, and is compatible with your equipment. If environmental impact is a concern, consider biodegradable grease.

Can I mix different types of marine grease?

Mixing different types isn't generally recommended unless you're sure they're compatible. Incompatibility can lead to reduced performance or even damage.

Are there different types of marine grease for different applications?

Yes, different types of marine lubricants have different properties and are suited to different applications. Always check the manufacturer's recommendations for your specific equipment.

Does marine grease expire?

There is usually no expiration date, although it is best to use it within 3 years of purchase. Store it in a cool, dry place to maintain its effectiveness.

How should I apply marine grease?

Before applying marine gear lube, clean the parts thoroughly to remove old products, dirt, and other contaminants. Then, apply just enough product to cover the moving parts without overloading them. Always wear gloves when applying them to protect your skin.

Can I use marine grease in non-marine applications?

Yes, it can be used in non-marine applications that require a heavy-duty, water-resistant lubricant. However, it may not always be the most cost-effective choice for these applications.

Is marine grease different from regular grease?

Yes, boat gear oil is specifically formulated to withstand the harsh conditions found in marine environments. It provides superior protection against water, rust, and corrosion compared to the regular type.

Is marine grease safe to handle?

While it is generally safe to handle, it's always a good idea to wear gloves to protect your skin and avoid contact with your eyes. If you get it on your skin, wash it off with soap and water.

What happens if I don't use marine grease on my boat?

Without the protective layer provided by lower unit gear lube, the moving parts of your boat or marine equipment are more susceptible to damage from friction, rust, and corrosion. This can lead to premature wear and tear and potentially costly repairs.

Are all marine greases the same?

No, it can vary significantly in their formulation and performance. Some offer better water resistance, others provide superior corrosion protection, and some are more environmentally friendly. Always choose a type that's suitable for your specific needs and equipment.

How do I know when it’s time to reapply marine grease?

Signs that it might be time to reapply it include increased noise, decreased performance, visible rust or corrosion, or if it appears to be thin or washed out. However, as a general rule, it's a good idea to reapply it at least once every boating season or after every 100 hours of operation.

Does marine grease attract dirt?

Like any grease, marine lube can attract dirt and dust. Regular cleaning and reapplication can help prevent build-up.

How do I clean off old marine grease?

Old products can be cleaned off with a degreaser or solvent. Always ensure to dispose of old products properly, as they can be harmful to the environment.

Is marine grease safe for all types of materials?

Most products are safe for use with a variety of materials, including metals, plastics, and rubber. However, always check the product specifications or consult with the manufacturer if you're unsure.

Is boat grease harmful to marine life?

Traditional products can be harmful to marine life if they enter the water system. If this is a concern, consider using a biodegradable type that is designed to break down more quickly and cause less harm to the environment and marine life.

Can marine grease be used in freshwater and saltwater environments?

Yes, marine bearing grease is designed to withstand both freshwater and saltwater conditions. However, saltwater can be more corrosive, so it's even more important to regularly apply this product in these environments.

Can marine grease freeze or melt?

It is designed to withstand a wide range of temperatures. However, extreme cold can make it more viscous, and extreme heat can make it runny. Always check the product's temperature range to ensure it's suitable for your environment.

How should I store marine grease?

It should be stored in a cool, dry place with the lid tightly sealed. This will help maintain its effectiveness and extend its shelf life.

Can marine grease improve the performance of my boat or equipment?

As indicated by our tests, reducing friction and protecting against wear and tear, grease really helps your boat or equipment perform more efficiently and last longer.

Can I use marine grease on my fishing reels?

Yes, marine lubricant is often used to lubricate and protect fishing reels. It's particularly useful for saltwater fishing, as it helps protect against the corrosive effects of saltwater.

What is the color of marine grease?

Boat gear oil or grease can come in a variety of colors, including white, blue, and green. The color does not affect the performance of this product.

Can marine grease be used on outboard motors?

Yes, it can be used on various parts of an outboard motor, such as the prop shaft, to provide lubrication and protection against corrosion.

How do I know if my marine grease is still good?

If your marine lube has not been contaminated, has been stored properly, and is within a few years of purchase, it should still be effective. However, if it appears hard, crusty, or separated, it may be time to replace it.

Why is marine grease so sticky?

Its stickiness helps it stay in place, even in wet or turbulent conditions. This ensures it continues to provide protection and lubrication over time.

Can marine grease cause skin irritation?

While marine lubricant is generally safe to handle, it can potentially cause skin irritation in some individuals, especially with prolonged contact. Always wear gloves when handling this product.

Is marine grease flammable?

While not highly flammable, it can burn under certain conditions, especially if heated to high temperatures. Always store it safely away from heat sources or open flames.

Can marine grease be used on rubber parts?

Many types of these marine wheel bearing greases are safe for use on rubber parts. However, always check the product specifications or consult the manufacturer to be sure.

Can marine grease be washed off with water?

One of its main features is resistance to being washed off by water. However, it can be removed with a degreaser or solvent.

Can I apply marine grease with a brush?

Yes, you can use a brush to apply marine grease. This can be particularly useful for reaching small or difficult-to-access parts.

Does marine grease smell?

Most marine bearing greases have a mild odor due to the oils and additives used in their formulation. The smell should not be overpowering and usually dissipates after application.

Is marine outboard motor grease harmful if swallowed?

it should not be ingested. If swallowed, it can cause nausea and other health issues. Always keep it out of reach of children and pets, and contact a poison control center or seek medical attention if it is swallowed.

Can marine grease be used on stainless steel?

Yes, marine gear oil can be used on stainless steel and many other types of metal. It provides lubrication and helps protect against corrosion.

How do I remove marine grease from clothing?

To remove it from clothing, try applying a grease-fighting dish soap or laundry detergent directly to the stain, then wash as usual. Be sure to check the garment's care instructions first.

Can I use marine grease on my motorcycle?

Yes, it can be used on motorcycles, especially for parts exposed to water or harsh conditions. However, there are also types specifically designed for motorcycles that might provide better performance.

Why does marine grease come in a tube?

Marine lube often comes in a tube because this allows for easy application, especially with a grease gun. After conducting experiments with it we found that it also helps keep the grease clean and free from contaminants.

Can marine grease be used in high-pressure situations?

Yes, many types of this product are designed to withstand high pressure without breaking down. Always check the product specifications to ensure it's suitable for your needs.

Can marine grease be used in high-speed applications?

Some types за marine gear oil are suitable for high-speed applications, but others may not perform as well. Always check the product specifications or consult with the manufacturer if you're unsure. is a source where the post Marine Greases, Lubricants & Marine Gear Oils appeared first.

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