This paper deals with sea salt transportation and deposition mechanisms and discusses the serious issue of degradation of outdoor insulators resulting from various environmental stresses and severe saline contaminant accumulation near the shoreline. The deterioration rate of outdoor insulators near the shoreline depends on the concentration of saline in the atmosphere, the influence of wind speed on the production of saline water droplets, moisture diffusion and saline penetration on the insulator surface. This paper consists of three parts: first a model of saline transportation and deposition, as well as saline penetration and moisture diffusion on outdoor insulators, is presented; second, dry-band initiation and formation modelling and characterization under various types of contamination distribution are proposed; finally, modelling of dry-band arcing validated by experimental investigation was carried out. The tests were performed on a rectangular surface of silicone rubber specimens (12 cm × 4 cm × 8 cm). The visualization of the dry-band formation and arcing was performed by an infrared camera. The experimental results show that the surface strength and arc length mainly depend upon the leakage distance and contamination distribution. Therefore, the model can be used to investigate insulator flashover near coastal areas and for mitigating saline flashover incidents.