Buying a New Boat? Fiberglass Vs Aluminum – A Comprehensive Guide

Thinking of getting a new boat? Have you decided if you want a fiberglass or aluminum (tin) boat? Below is the advantages and disadvantages of each type of material.

Fiberglass is often referred to as a no maintenance material. This however is not the case. The day after you take a new boat from the showroom the fiberglass will start to deteriorate. When fiberglass is left out in the elements, slowly over time it will chalk, fade and stain. Any bumps or scratches will one day need to be repaired to bring back the appearance of the fiberglass. And if the boat is moored in the water it is essential to have the boat anti-fouled to minimize algae build up.

Fiberglass does however have a long life span and the above wearing happens over a great number of years. With a little care such as covering your boat when not in use, hosing down after using and the occasional clean your fiberglass boat will maintain it’s good appearance.

In regards to performance, many boaters prefer fiberglass as the boat sits lower in the water and goes through the water better.

Aluminum boats have their own problems too. Dents are more noticeable in aluminium boats and need to be regularly knocked back into shape by a professional. The main problem most people have with aluminum boats however is that they ride on top of the water rather than through it. This means the ride will be bumpier than it would be with a similar size fiberglass boat.

So what’s good about a aluminum boat? The main advantage of an aluminium boat is they can be a lot lighter than the same size fiberglass equivalent. This is especially true for small dinghy’s and car-topper boats. Small cars can tow aluminum dinghy’s easily whereas if you have a fiberglass boat you will almost certainly need a large car to tow it. Aluminum boats are also easy to repair if you do spring a leak or the hull is penetrated.

So which material do you pick? You need to first look at what you will be using the boat for. Once you have worked this out it should give you a clearer picture of which material to choose. If you are still not sure, have a test drive in both boats and see which type you prefer best.

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