20 June 2019
The Great Hull Debate: Aluminum or Fiberglass, what’s right for you?
Boat hulls were traditionally constructed from wood. Today, hulls are constructed from aluminum or fiberglass, and both materials offer several advantages.
So, Aluminum or Fiberglass for your boat’s hull – if that is your question, here are a few factors to help you weigh the decision.
Aluminum is strong, durable and fairly easy to maintain. The pros of an aluminum hull include:
Lightweight: Aluminum is a very lightweight yet strong metal. A lightweight hull requires less engine power to cut through water, and also aids in the launch and recovery of the boat.
Robust: There is no understating the strength of an aluminum hull. Also, aluminum bends but doesn’t break easily, which makes it quite safe, particularly for harsh conditions. And if the boat hull does get damaged, the repairs can be done quickly and easily.
Easy to maintain: The metal is generally resistant to corrosion, provided the right alloys are used and insulation procedures are followed, as we do at Ocean Craft Marine.
Easily customized: Aluminum has a fair amount of elasticity, which allows for quite a bit of customization. Deep, flat-bottomed, shallow, short or long – the aluminium hull can be constructed to exact specs, which makes them particularly perfect for professional boats such as patrol boats, search and rescue boats, special ops crafts and the like.
Earth-friendly: Aluminium is one of the most recyclable materials on earth. And recycling takes a fraction of the energy and cost required to produce
A couple of cons to think about, however, are that a ride on an aluminum boat can be quite noisy and rough as the boat is less solid for high speed maneuvers.
Fiberglass is quite popular in the boating community as it also offers quite a few advantages. Here’s why you should consider a fiberglass hull for your boat —
Construction is simple: Fiberglass is quite malleable, and can be molded into any shape. The hull is created from a preset mold, which requires less time and skill to construct, if you’re working with a reputed boat construction company, like Ocean Craft Marine. The exterior of these boats is also quite smooth, which gives them quite a sleek look.
Impervious to the elements: The material is not affected by moisture or the elements, and these boats can even be left in the water for extended periods, without any worries about damage.
Easy to maintain: Fiberglass boats are quite sturdy and can withstand a lot of punishment (especially from beaching). They can be easily maintained without a lot of effort – which is great for a recreational mariner – and if damage does occur, it can be fixed easily by a professional, with a fiberglass patch. These boats are also very easy to clean.
Lightness: While these hulls are not as light as aluminum ones, fiberglass hull RIB Boats are quite light compared to other Fiberglass hull boats, and don’t need a lot of horsepower to push through the water.
Quieter rides: It’s less noisy as the boat cuts through the water. And with OCM’s unique reverse chines design, the water splashes away from the boat making for a smoother and drier rides.
The main drawback of a fiberglass hull is that it is made from a mold, which limits customization options to the hull specifically, and once the mold is made, the design cannot be changed. That said, everything above the hull is fair game! Cost could also be a factor to consider, particularly if the mold for the hull of your boat is to be custom made.
So there you have it, the benefits and downsides of the two materials that are used to make the largest part of your boat. At Ocean Craft Marine, we construct boats for professional and recreational mariners, and so whatever your need, we have one that’s perfect for you.
If you’d like some more information about OCM and the boats we build, please visit https://oceancraftmarine.com/ocm-innovations/.