Points of Differences Plate Aluminium Boat Fibreglass Boat Aluminium or Fibreglass boat?
Weight
Weighs less by approximately 20 percent or more. Weight savings of 35% to 45% in hulls, and 55% to 65% in superstructures, can be achieved with aluminium compared to steel.
Heavier, not as versatile and as strong as Aluminium
Too heavier to put on a trailer with a 4WD towing. Requires a truck to tow a heavy fibreglass boat.
Aluminium preferred
Speed
More speed, less fuel
Less speed, more fuel
Aluminium preferred
Manufacturing
Aluminium is easier and faster to weld.  Aluminium is also very easy to shape, so aluminium boat hulls can have more detailing than other types.
Cannot be welded, requires a mould.
Aluminium preferred
Repair
Very easy to repair if they become damaged. If damaged, pound it out with a hammer. If this won’t work, the area can be cut out with a saw and replaced easily.
Costly to repair
Aluminium preferred
Durability
They are durable.  Aluminium boat hulls will stand up to impacts much better than steel or fibreglass varieties. These hulls will also resist corrosion in saltwater unlike steel.
Fibreglass hulls are very brittle and will easily break if they sustain an impact.
Aluminium preferred
Flammable
Aluminium is not a flammable material and does not catch fire. Therefore it is safe.  Aluminium does not corrode as a metal, which makes it all the more suitable for fishing expeditions in salt water.
Fibreglass boats are processed with a flame-inhibiting resin, in case the boat catches fire it will burn easily
Aluminium preferred
Commercial aspects
When the coastguard or navy buy boats in survey they buy a Noble because of all the advantages mentioned above.
When was last time you saw a fibreglass patrol boat?
Aluminium preferred

 

Aluminium vs Fibreglass

If you are thinking of buying a serious offshore fishing boat you have a number of choices. You can buy a plate aluminium fishing boat or a fibreglass boat.

You are buying a boat because you want to be fishing, not working on boats. If you want to be working on boats buy a timber fishing boat and you will be guaranteed spending many hours working on it.

What do you want in a fishing boat? Well, you want it to be tough. Water resistant. Impact resistant. Low maintenance. Long lasting. Light and easy to use.

Aluminium is all of these and more. It is extremely tough. It is welded not riveted, so it is totally waterproof. It is highly impact resistant. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be holed, but it’s hard to do. Rather than get a hole aluminium tends to dent. This is great. If you hit something, you end up with a dent. If you hit something in a fibreglass boat chances are high that you end up with a hole, and someone needs to come and get you because your boat is sinking.

Aluminium has a very high strength to weight ratio. So it is light and easy to handle, both in the water and onto and off a trailer. It is incredibly strong and will take a stack of punishment. It needs very little maintenance and will last forever.

fibreglass boat on the other hand, has some drawbacks. It is heavier. It is less resistant to impact,and more easily holed. It takes a little more maintenance, although much less than a timber boat. And if treated badly it can absorb water.

And whereas a plate aluminium boat retains a very good resale value because they are so tough and durable, fibreglass boats can be more easily damaged and for this reason may not retail their value as well.

With fibreglass, any number of vastly-different-quality resins may be used whose performance and durability can vary widely. While aluminium welds can be x-rayed for verification of a boat hull’s integrity, an entire section of fibreglass would have to be excised and essentially destroyed to subject it to analysis.

All told, aluminium boats offer significant advantages over the competition with regard to their weight, strength, durability, the maintenance they require, and their resale value. And, if your aluminium boat bucks the odds and winds up headed for the scrap heat, take heart; it’s also highly recyclable.

So if you’re pondering your choices between the different types of fishing boat, make it a plate aluminium boat – a Noble Boat. You won’t regret it.

References:
Aluminium Boats Prove Their Mettle, By John Simpson Aluminium Now.
Aluminium Now and Michael Skillingberg VP, Technology The Aluminium Association, Inc.