The material of the hull defines the character of a boat. However, when buying a boat for the first time, many people pay little attention to the choice of hull materials. The advent of fiberglass (FRP or fiberglass) boats in the 1960s revolutionized the industry and made it the norm. But GRPS are not alone in the market, and it's worth looking at other alternatives before deciding what your first or next boat will be.
Some of the advantages and disadvantages of FRP must be well known. In this article, we will introduce another interesting alternative material, aluminum magnesium alloy. As you will see, aluminum boats have their own characteristics and can be an excellent alternative to GRPS. So let's take a look at each of the characteristics of an aluminum boat that must be considered before deciding if it's right for you.
Aluminum hulls are known to be lightweight, with a density of 2.8 for aluminum and 7.8 for steel. Specifically, they are much lighter than steel, but they are also lighter than GRPS. Lighter hulls provide better performance (the boat speed), especially in light winds. Speed is not just for racers. Light sailing boats also mean that you are less likely to need to use an engine because you can do it under sail even when the wind is light. Often, lightweight hulls can also be designed for shallow draft, thus improving accessibility to shallow rivers and bays. Finally, the lightweight hull translates into lower fuel consumption of an aluminum boat.
The strength of aluminum is perhaps the most attractive aspect of aluminum boats. Simply put, the aluminum boat hull is far less likely to have a hole than the fiberglass one. This is one reason why aluminum is commonly used on large aircraft, which require the strongest materials. When you cruise between icebergs, the safety of the aluminum hull has much more advantages. Apparently, this doesn't just apply to icebergs, but to anything that can or could hit you, from underwater rocks to floating logs or shipping containers. We often hear stories of aluminum boats trapped in rocks for days, but resistant to shaking and sunken but not broken. These boats can be repaired relatively easily. Unfortunately, similar stories of fiberglass boats stranded on rocks never have a happy ending.