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Why is there no love for aluminum boats?

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Why is there no love for aluminum boats?

Old 10-21-2019, 10:04 AM
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Default Why is there no love for aluminum boats?

It seems that aluminum boats dominate the work boat and commercial boat fleets with the exception of the few fiberglass Carolina Skiffs that are seen here and there, but why no love for them in the recreational sector? I'm talking about welded plate boats, not flimsy riveted Jon boats or canoes. The USCG uses aluminum SAFE boats and they beat the hell out of them and they seem to take a licking and keep on ticking and all the work boats I have seen are also treated poorly and seem to last for years. Is there a stigma against aluminum and salt water? Not quite sure why that would be though, all around Louisianna and through out the Pacific NW, it seems like aluminum boats dominate their salt water environment. Australia has been showing them love for years. Is it a manufacturing thing where fiberglass is cheaper with less skilled labor and therefore the boats are cheaper to produce? It seems like a well cared for fiberglass or aluminum boat with both last a lifetime and you don't have the hassle of gel coat on a painted aluminum boat. As far as I know, the ride of hulls with the same geometry should be the same. Weight should be about the same. So, what gives? Is it the lack of major name brands manufacturing aluminum models? If a major player introduced a nice aluminum hull for comparable or less money than the fiberglass version, would you buy one? If not, why not?
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Old 10-21-2019, 10:18 AM
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Bunch of reasons.

One is cost. Competent aluminium welders are expensive and fiberglass boats, once you have the mold, are cheaper to produce.

Another is comfort. Aluminium is hard, cold (or hot), and loud.

Yet another one is aesthetics. Graceful curves are... not easy in aluminium.

Want one more? Screw up galvanic corrosion on an aluminum boat and watch it disapper quite rapidly.

In some areas the advantages of aluminium dominate -- e.g. in workboats or in areas where you always have stuff floating in the water (PNW comes to mind). In other areas these advantages don't matter much.
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Old 10-21-2019, 10:37 AM
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When thinking of today’s designs......compound curves. Very hard to do in ally.
Old 10-21-2019, 10:41 AM
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They are expensive. Nobody really makes a nice plate bayboat either. Not that I know of. American aluminum marine are the only that I can think of but the smallest they make is 24ft. Great looking boats though. After 20 years you hit them with some new paint and they look brand new again.




Old 10-21-2019, 10:44 AM
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I have a 21' walkaround. I don't believe I've ever seen an aluminum one by any manufacturer. So my choices are to either get one in fiberglass, or go for a different type of boat, other than the type I wanted.

Also, corrosion scares people. Around here we remember that a few years ago, a city bought a bunch of new aluminum ferries. Within 6 months, several needed to be pulled from service due to corrosion making them unsafe to ferry passengers. I'm sure something was done "wrong" or some maintenance was missed, but that doesn't give people a warm and fuzzy about aluminum.
Old 10-21-2019, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by jobowker View Post
I have a 21' walkaround. I don't believe I've ever seen an aluminum one by any manufacturer.
Aussies and Kiwis make a bunch, I think.

Here's a 22' one:


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Old 10-21-2019, 11:01 AM
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Not sure I agree about the no love thing... I go back to this listing just to marvel at the beauty of this aluminum girl:

Vripack 77ft custom Aluminum Enclosed Btidge Sportfishing Yacht South Florida REFIT
Old 10-21-2019, 11:02 AM
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I went back to aluminum this year (Lund). I am on Lake Erie so I have no concerns about salt. It's old school being a tiller drive (I'm old school too). Just want to fish (when I can) and I don't entertain with this boat. It is very easy for me to launch and retrieve on my own.

Kind of a loaner this stage of life although I do want to return some fishing favors to Boataholic next season (laid up already).
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Old 10-21-2019, 11:05 AM
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I thought hard on either a Black Lab or a Pacific AL CC back in 2007 when I was shopping all the 23' CC's.

If they were not $15 to $20K more than a fiberglass hull, I would have bought one.

Cost, was the factor for the "No Love".

Then again, I have been careful enough, after 12 seasons, to not been needing the ability to bounce the hull off of rocks and stuff . . .
Old 10-21-2019, 11:09 AM
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Cape fear catamarans are aluminum but there was one thread on here for a bigger one sinking. The 22 footer starts around 70k.

Last edited by Elgreco809; 10-21-2019 at 11:21 AM.
Old 10-21-2019, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by damifino_reg26 View Post
Not sure I agree about the no love thing... I go back to this listing just to marvel at the beauty of this aluminum girl:

Vripack 77ft custom Aluminum Enclosed Btidge Sportfishing Yacht South Florida REFIT
Large boats, yes.....but no under 40' boats.
Old 10-21-2019, 11:18 AM
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Sounds like price and the fear of corrosion if not properly zinced (?), Personally, I would not have an issue buying one, but doesn't seem like a lot out there in the smaller boat version (at least in NE) that aren't jon boats or fresh water set up.
Old 10-21-2019, 11:26 AM
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Why you hating on my jon boat bro
Old 10-21-2019, 11:41 AM
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FWIW, our other boat is a 15' WarEagle welded jon, with a 2-stroke Johhny 25, no middle seat (side gun box), and a raised deck up front. I like it, it's not a bad boat at all, and tough as nails. We use it in salt inshore and fresh.

The problems as stated above apply to us as well - - it's hot to the touch, it is loud (especially) inshore when you are trying to sneak, and it's only a 15" transom with no scuppers........... But, it is tough! Bounces off pretty much anything. I'd take about a 17' welded open floorplan jon with higher gunnel's and a 4 stroke any day if you find one for free.
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Old 10-21-2019, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Drako View Post
Aussies and Kiwis make a bunch, I think.

Here's a 22' one:
Sure - let me hop into my private jet for 22 hours of flying time to go see one.
Old 10-21-2019, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by jobowker View Post
Sure - let me hop into my private jet for 22 hours of flying time to go see one.
Stabicrafts are sold in the US, in the PNW.

Last edited by Drako; 10-21-2019 at 11:59 AM.
Old 10-21-2019, 11:53 AM
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It may just be the way they are painted but the aluminum boats I have been around basically require you to wear shoes because the decks get so hot. I personally like the ability to be barefoot on the boat and give that I boat purely recreationally this is a big difference for me.
Old 10-21-2019, 11:55 AM
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Here’s one
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Old 10-21-2019, 11:57 AM
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Fresh water here - I love my aluminum boat.

Lot's of guys on this site restore their old boats & a bunch get in way over their head with an old glass boat. I found my Crestliner 19.5 sport fish parked under a tree for 10+ years.

I knew the structure was going to be solid because it was all aluminum - so drop in some new plywood & bingo - rock solid.
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Old 10-21-2019, 11:58 AM
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When I asked a native Alaska guy he said "rocks". Those tin boats just bounce off and a fiberglass boat chips, scratches or breaks. He had a very heavy boat as aluminum goes tho.
BTW there are a bunch of aluminum boats here in that 20-24' class. They are pontoons, maybe the most popular boat in some areas of SW Florida.
The pattern where I am seems to be they drag an I/O down here from up north and get rid of that pretty quickly, buying a bay boat or an offshore boat, (if they can afford it). Then they end up with a pontoon.

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