Sailing, Curiosity, Hobbies, Weird Stuff

Can an iPhone Survive in Salt Water?

The short answer is yes, an iPhone can survive in salt water but our experiment involved an Otterbox. We didn't set out to do this experiment intentionally, but since it happened I thought I would share.

Before I get to that, here's the issue... saltwater can cause corrosion and damage to the internal components of electronic devices. Anybody who spends any time maintaining a sailboat knows that salt is a good conductor of electricity, and when it mixes with water it can create a pathway for electrical current to flow. This can short-circuit an electronic device and cause permanent damage.

Bottom line: salt + electronics is usually fatal.

Putting the OtterBox to the Test

Here's the backstory...

Sara was washing our boat (which happens to be for sale... hit me up if you need a sailboat) and set her brand new iPhone 14 on the dock box located in the foreground of the photo below.

She opened the lid and plop... into the depths of Semiahmoo marina it goes.

Since the phone is protected with an otter box, we took a gamble and hired Jozeph from ZEI Divers in Bellingham to recover it. Jozeph was fast and super friendly by the way. If you are anywhere near Bellingham and need his help I can't recommend him enough.

Anyhow, here is our thought process:

  • Cost to replace a brand new iPhone 14 pro as of May 2023 is between $750-1000.
  • Cost of a diver that operates in our Marina to help us $150
  • Likelyhood the phone survives saltwater exposure 0%.... Except the phone was in an OtterBox Defender with the port cover closed. This was the tipping point.

We decided to take a gamble and it worked out in our favor. The photo below was taken about a minute after Jozeph found it. It's powered up, the screen is on, and it was receiving messages.

iPhone Recovery from ~25 feet of salt water.

Needless to say, we are now fans of the OtterBox Defender! Here are the critical stats:

  • iPhone 14 Pro + OtterBox - charging port closed
  • Approximately 25 Feet of water
  • Approximately 24 hours underwater

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