Aluminium vs Fibreglass Boats – 7 Points to Consider
When looking to purchase a boat there are a myriad of issues a potential boat owner has to consider. What engine to choose? What style of boat? How large a boat do I need? One of the oldest arguments in boating is whether to choose aluminium vs fibreglass hull construction. Everyone has on opinion on what is better. But the truth is each has their benefits. Choosing what is right for you depends on what you are using the boat for and what factors are important to you. This article will give you an understanding of the where each material is superior. So you can make an informed decision and get the right boat for you.
Ride Comfort – Fibreglass
If ride comfort is important to you then fibreglass wins hands down. Despite vast improvement in recent times in aluminium boat manufacturing fibreglass still wins this round. The reason is a combination of factors that result in fibreglass boats having a much smoother ride. Firstly fibreglass is heavier than aluminium allowing the hull to break through waves easier. This results in less lift and push from chop and waves leaving the boat more stable during the ride and less likely to slap. Secondly there is a limit to how far aluminium can be stretched to form complex shapes. Whereas fibreglass can be moulded to form any shape desired. As such fibreglass boats have sleeker designs, deeper €œvees€ and softer chines. These factors combined result in design that slices through the water superior to any aluminium boat. So if you have a bad back stick the fibreglass.
Toughness – Aluminium
In the Aluminium vs Fibreglass debate ali wins the hands down on toughness. If you need a boat that can handle some punishment then aluminium is the way to go. If you plan on beach launching or this is your first boat a forgiving hull can save a lot of headaches. Aluminium is strong and forgiving. Hence aluminium boat withstand impact much better than their fibreglass counterparts. An impact that results in only a scratch or slight bend for an aluminium hull will likely result in some major gelcoat damage and possible cracking for its fibreglass counterpart. So if you want a rough and tough boat go aluminium.
Price – Aluminium
Generally speaking you can get a cheaper aluminium boat with similar specification compared to fibreglass. Many modern aluminium boats are made with plate aluminium which is more expensive than traditional stretch form aluminium boats. Of course you get what you pay when it comes to both aluminium and fibreglass boats. There are excellent example of value for money in both field. But if you want the most bang for your buck boat that you can then generally you’ll be more suited to an aluminium hull.
Reparability – Aluminium
Fortunately both aluminium and fibreglass boats can be repaired. Most often damage to aluminium hulls will result in a dent. This can be easily hammered out. More serious damage will need to cut out and replaced by an experienced aluminium welder but this is less likely to occur. Fibreglass on the other hand is not so forgiving and any major impact is likely to cause a hole. Fixing fibreglass requires the assistance of an experience fibreglass repairer. The latter is likely to be a lengthier process and more costly to repair.
Customizability – Aluminium
Are you looking for a fully fitted out fishing boat with all the features. Or an all-rounder for the family? Generally speaking aluminium boats are more customizable than fibreglass boats. This is because fibreglass hulls are built out of a mould so the form of the boat is pre-determined. As such more fibreglass boats have standard shapes and features. Most aluminium boat manufacturers have a wider variety of hulls available options and features available. So if you want a boat for a specific task you are more likely to find a suitable aluminium option.
Maintenance – Aluminium
Aluminium requires very little maintenance other than keeping the salt off to protect the hull from corrosion. Keeping your pride and joy fibreglass hull requires a little more care. Fibreglass must be given a soapy bath at least once a month. At least once every six month’s your fibreglass hull must be waxed and polished.
Aesthetics – Fibreglass
Of course looks comes down to taste. But if a quality polished finish boat is what you desire then you can’t go past fibreglass. The sleek lines and polished gelcoat of a fibreglass boat cannot be matched by any aluminium hull. Fibreglass boats generally have combination more polished stainless steel and woodwork that give them superior styling. So if you looking for a boat with the all the bling fibreglass is the way to go.
Really when choosing between aluminium vs fibreglass it depends on what you are using your boat for. If you are a seasoned boatie you know what you prefer. But if you are new to boating it would be wise to talk to a professional about what boat would be right for you. If you need assistance in choosing a boat or don’t know what style of boat you need for your water recreation contact the friendly staff at Blue HQ.
If you need assistance with repairs on your aluminium or fibreglass boat visit Blue HQ’s website for more details on how we can assist.