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Difference Between Aluminum and Fiberglass Boats

boat-sea-pdAluminum vs Fiberglass Boats

The comparison between aluminum and fiberglass boats is an age-old battle of fiberglass versus aluminum. Boat-building material, if is compared on behalf of performance and value, then aluminum boats are cheaper and fiberglass boats are more expensive. Aluminum boats ding if they hit a hard object, and would be hard to repair in some cases, whereas fiberglass boats are strong and flexible. Aluminum can be welded, and fiberglass cannot, which makes aluminum boats easier to repair.

Modern fiberglass boats come with flotation foam, and do not use any wood in their construction. They are steady in water, and float easily. A fiberglass hull is fragile, and a reversed-chine hull forces the water to spray to either side by cutting through it. An aluminum hull is rectangular in shape, and plows through the water instead of cutting through it. It can be difficult to repair.

Fiberglass boats can break, and aluminum boats may bend. Fiberglass can be molded, whereas aluminum cannot be molded, but only welded into any shape. Fiberglass boats are less noisy, and give solid ride, whereas aluminum boats produce a loud noise with their hull. Aluminum, if scraped, can be repaired easily, but fiberglass is more difficult if damaged or scratched. Fiberglass boats are corrosion resistant, whereas aluminum boats may not be able to resist corrosion in salty water if not properly maintained and sealed. Fiberglass boats are flexible, whereas aluminum boats bend, and the rivets may leak.

Almost all fiberglass boats can store up to 60 gallons of gas in the built-in gas tank in the bilge area underneath the floor. Whereas aluminum boats have a shell type design, without ample space for storage, so the extra fuel may be in your way most of the time. If you are going to fish in small lakes or rivers, aluminum may be the best choice, but if you plan to go to larger lakes and oceans, fiberglass is a must. Fiberglass an aluminum can withstand severe weather conditions.

Another major difference we can find is in the designing, seating and storage capacity. Fiberglass boats will be more spacious, with comfortable seating and ample storage space, compared to aluminum.

Aluminum boats are good for longevity, and remain in good condition for a long time, unlike fiberglass. Aluminum boats are not only popular, but the standard boat building material for the manufacturing of luxury yachts. Aluminum boats are lightweight, with more speed, and are dent resistant. Fiberglass is brittle by nature, so they can crack if you want to change boat into a hull, whereas aluminum boats may only dent a little. Fiberglass boat material consists of petroleum-based chemicals, and is combustible, whereas aluminum is usually fireproof.

Summary:

1. Aluminum boats are lightweight, and usually fireproof.

2. Fiberglass boats are manufactured with petroleum-based chemicals, and are combustible.

3. Aluminum boats are cheaper than fiberglass boats.

4. Fiberglass boats may crack or break, and aluminum can bend and dent.

5. Aluminum boats have a noisy hull that plows through the water, whereas fiberglass boats have a fragile hull that cuts through the water.


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1 Comment

  1. I have recently replaced the flooring and the transom support on and in my aluminum boat with treated plywood. Upon reading about the chemicals in treated lumber causing aluminum to corrode, should I be concerned about the boat being damaged ? Boat was manufactured by CrestLiner in 2004. Thanks, R. Turner

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