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What to know about fiberglass boats

Around the mid 1960s, fiberglass boats started to become popular among recreational boaters, and the demand for fiberglass boats remains strong today. The reasons for their popularity are many, but it's important for prospective boat buyers and even prospective boat builders to understand both the advantages and disadvantages to fiberglass boats.

Advantages

Perhaps the most contested point when comparing fiberglass boats to their aluminum or wooden counterparts concerns maintenance. Some insist fiberglass boats are easier to maintain, while others feel fiberglass boats are a much bigger chore to maintain. One thing is certain, and that is boaters don't need to continually inspect their fiberglass boats for rotting wood.

Many boaters also find fiberglass boats are sturdier because they don't dent like their aluminum counterparts. Denting can destabilize the boat, so some feel fiberglass, because they don't dent, are both sturdier and safer.

Some boaters also feel fiberglass boats slide more easily over rocks, which can make for a steadier ride.

Another advantage to fiberglass boats is they don't corrode in water, nor are they susceptible to electrolysis.

Boaters who construct their own boats can do so in much less time if they use fiberglass than aluminum. Doing so requires training, but going forward it should take significantly less time and prove less frustrating to construct a fiberglass boat.

Disadvantages

Many boaters find fiberglass boats' weight to be a significant disadvantage. Fiberglass boats are typically much heavier than aluminum boats, which can make it more taxing to tow them. And because aluminum boats don't weigh as much, some find it easier to handle an aluminum boat. Still, some boaters prefer the heavier fiberglass boat, feeling they're more effective at getting through the chop because they weigh more.

Though some feel fiberglass boat maintenance is a snap, it can cost considerably more if a problem does arise. Aluminum boats are generally much more affordable to repair.

Fiberglass boats also don't retain as much resale value as the typical aluminum boat. That's because many boaters feel fiberglass boats, though not as prone to dings and dents or wood rot, are much more easily damaged, which can hurt their resale value.

When deciding on a boat, it does come down to personal preference. Each type of boat, be it timber, aluminum or fiberglass, has its pros and cons. Consumers should consider the pros and cons of each before making a final decision.

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