Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: Aluminum or Fiberglass?

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    22

    Default Aluminum or Fiberglass?

    Looking at buying a new boat and am curious about the advantages / disadvantages of both an aluminum boat vs. a fiberglass boat. Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Member FishKing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Wasilla, Alaska, United States
    Posts
    260

    Default

    Anywhere but Ocean you will need Aluminum. Even ocean, Aluminum is better because of weight issues. Some on the ocean prefer Fiberglass because it rides better due to weight but that equals more fuel.

    best answer without more info.

  3. #3

    Default

    It depends on what you want IMO. The boat I bought is glass because I decided I wanted a cuddy and the aluminum cuddy boats are so **** spendy. I don't find it more of a hassle having a glass boat and the few other people I know with aluminum boats that are burning about the same amount of fuel as me. Of course their boat is a couple of feet longer but put my 22' Osprey next to a 22' sea runner and it just dwarfs it.

    I'd agree you need to provide more info otherwise. If I was just day tripping and didn't have kids I would have got a sea runner and called it a day. I just wanted to sleep comfortably on it and didn't see that happening as easily on a sea runner.

    Dan

  4. #4
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    5,594

    Default

    Assuming this is an ocean boat? Aluminum. They are tough, light (which tranlates to fuel efficient), very low maintenance, and great resale. If I was looking for a larger boat 32' on up to stay in a slip, I'd look at used glass boats, but for say a 28' and under that will be trailered, aluminum is the way to go.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    22

    Default

    I'm looking at something that is reasonably priced, safe, durable, and family friendly. Ideal boat is something I can use for weekend excursions with the family for fishing and possibly PWS hunting in the fall. Seems that an aluminum boat would allow for running up to a beach while fiberglass would be more prone to damage.

    A hewescraft sea runner is something I've been considering in the 18' range. However, there does seem to be quite the price difference when looking for something with a cabin. I've been eyeing a bayliner trophy (hard top) that seems to offer more for a family and a budget.

    At the moment I'm torn between the bayliner trophy and hewescraft sea runner.

  6. #6

    Default

    Another major consideration is that most of the fiberglass boats have inboards/outdrives which typically require way more maintenance, repairs, and $$$'s than an aluminum boat with an outboard.

  7. #7
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    5,594

    Default

    It would be difficult recomending anything smaller than 22' when you put fall hunting in PWS in the mix, and you'll definately want a cabin. Lower temps, bigger waves, and fairly long runs in abient temps in the 40's with cloud cover and rain/fog pretty much every day so your gear won't dry out.

    I'd also say a boat that doesn't have a cabin isn't family friendly for summer use. Kids get chilled way faster than adults, and having a dry place out of the wind is IMHO essential. Figure on 50 deg temps, 20kt wind and rain, the windchill charts really don't help showing how quickly those conditions will make you miserable.

    It's worth spending a little bit more and waiting another year or two to get a boat that will be enjoyable to use, vs. something that falls a bit short.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

  8. #8
    Member patrickL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    1,131

    Default

    This is all good advice so far and I agree with all of it. I was in the same boat as you 3 summers ago. We looked at and almost bought a Trophy 2359. Glad we didn't. Not that there is a problem with them but compared to an Osprey or Seasport there's no comparison. We looked at Bayliner Trophy's, SeaSports, Ospreys, and severa aluminum boats in 2008 and 2009. If I was on a budget I'd buy a used Osprey or Seasport. There are several around that can be had for decent prices. Here's a couple:

    http://anchorage.craigslist.org/boa/2436777940.html
    http://anchorage.craigslist.org/boa/2427426580.html
    http://anchorage.craigslist.org/boa/2400494919.html

    The thing I've found about PWS is it isn't worth day tripping given the costs of getting to and in the water and the distances necessary to travel to get to fish. I generally find this to be true for all the places I boat out of given I'm coming from Anchorage. Basically, having a cuddy cabin and not just a cabin like on a Sea Runner is a must have for me and my family. We started with a Hewes Ocean Pro two summers ago. Good boat but a tight squeeze with my family. We sold it the next season and bought a Pacific Cruiser just so we could enjoy weekends in PWS, Seward or Homer.

    Let me know if I can help in your search. I'd be happy to show you around my boat or talk boats with you. Then maybe you could help me find a diesel truck to pull it with

  9. #9

    Default

    My Osprey has an inboard/outboard and have changed my big price tag item (manifolds and risers). I am not scared by it is replacement cost. I can get a long block for 2k.

    I don't want to replace a 200 hp outboard. Just sounds like $$$$

    Dan

  10. #10
    Member hoose35's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Soldotna, Alaska, United States
    Posts
    2,891

    Default

    I love fiberglass boats, but if I were to buy a trailer boat again, I would rather have aluminum. Outboards are ok, but I wouldn't say they are any more reliable than an I/O setup. I bought a 1978 glasply 5 years ago, and it had the original I/O and it was still running fine, maintainence goes a long way.
    Responsible Conservation > Political Allocation

  11. #11
    Member jrogers's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,539

    Default

    The disadvantage of aluminum is mainly cost. The disadvantage of fiberglass is slightly higher maintenance and slightly less durability. Both are good choices and it really comes down to personal preference.
    2009 Seawolf 31'
    www.seawolfmarine.com
    Fully Loaded

  12. #12
    Member Roger45's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    966

    Default

    The first thing to remember is that the original price will be the cheapest thing you spend money on when buying a boat Also, horse Power vrs weight will equal speed...so for similar styled boats, aluminum will/should go a little faster. I prefer aluminum, but they do sweat, so you will need to have a carpet or liner to all interior surfaces if you are over nighting IMHO. If I was buying something 24 foot o smaller, I would seriously only look at outboards, again a personal choice. That said, I was in Whittier on Friday, a guy had an aluminum 28 foot boat with twin 225HP outboards and burned 25+GPH. The boat I was on was 33 foot, aluminum with twin Yanmar diesel engines and at 26Knots burns just under 8GPH

    Remember, it is a buyers market out there. Depending on your budget, you can find a ton of boats for sale...craigslist, Alaskalist, Alasaka Boat Brokers, and others have many adds. Going to Whittier and walking the docks you can find dozens for sale in all shapes and sizes. There are a ton of Trophy Bayliners in the 24 foot configuration, and they tend to make nice day trippers. They are easy to get into and out of large lakes as well. As said earlier in this thread, make sure you have a truck big enough to safely haul any boat!

    Good luck.
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

  13. #13
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    5,594

    Default

    Also consider looking in the lower 48, their are alot of boats for sale down there, and even if you have to pay $2-5k to ship a boat up here, it often still pencils out.

    One important thing to consider is that "good deal" fixer uppers or boats that are almost what you want always cost you more than a clean maintained boat that is ready to go. Often times upping your budget $5-10k to get a well sorted out boat will save you an easy $10k, allow you to enjoy the boat vs. fixing it, and you'll get your $ back in resale down the road.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

  14. #14
    Member breausaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    830

    Default

    How I see it:
    If you want comfort than go glass; Fiberglass doesnít transmit cold or sweat near as much as aluminum.
    If you want rough and tuff, run up on the beach, bonk the sides with the anchor, whack the sides with shrimp pots go aluminum.
    As for long term resale value I donít think youíll find many boats that retain theirs as well as C-dory, and there are a lot of them around. Other than a couple of small gel coat blemishes my boat looks almost new after 4 sold years out on the sound most every weekend from early April through late Sept, and we shrimp, fish, hit the beach most every day. I wax it maybe once a year and spray it off after every trip, thatís about all the maintenance I have ever done to the hull.
    Yea, Iím a little bias.
    Jay
    07 C-Dory 25 Cruiser
    OurPlayground.


  15. #15
    Member ocnfish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    542

    Default

    My two cents, I owned a 22 Sea Raider hardtop with a 150 merc and was very happy with that boat and for your usage a Hews 22 sounds about right. Moved to a 26 Osprey LC and am now "salt" only, way different boat from a design point of view. Very seaworthy because of ... 1.) Low Center of Gravity, 3" of fiberglass below the waterline, 5.7 V8 and outdrive down low, boat does not tip or roll. With aluminum boats metal is sometimes a bit heavyer on the bottom but the powerhead of the outboard is relatively high above the water, becaue of CG they roll and tip more. 2.) About 8 feet of bow from the keel to the top of the bow with a deep v hull, been in 12 ft seas and no green water over the bow. 3.) Flush deck, boat designed to keep water out of cabin and engine compartment. 4.) Aluminum is lighter and some see that as an advantage, I am not so sure, my Osprey cuts through rough seas really well, because of all of the above. Best example of the occured two weekends ago, we headed back from Montague to Seward and two 30 ft charter aluminum boats had about a mile head start on us, seas were about 8 ft swell and a bit of a chop on top. The seas were mostly following, I settled into about a 28 mph cruise with an a occasional bang from a bad wave, not a bad ride. Slowly I overtook and passed both charter boats and they were obviously bobbing up and down probably in the low 20's. I had a mile on them by the time we were back in the bay at Seward. In the ocean there is hardly a day when I am slower than the fast aluminum boats. With a 280 hp 5.7 Volvo Penta V-8 and the Duoprop drive I cruise at 30mph and WOT is 42 mph, not bad for an 8500 lb boat.

  16. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Sitka
    Posts
    40

    Default

    If your looking to go glass you might want to look at the BAMF Boats 25' or 30' Excursion. The 1st 25' Excursion will be out in about October. It is a scaled down version of they're 30'. As far a glass boats these are as tuff as they come.

  17. #17
    Member pacific23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Whitesboro, Texas
    Posts
    534

    Default

    I am a ALLOY freak , your looking for a Family boat so that tells me your not looking for speed [ read, contender, yellow fin, etc ] there are only a few alloy boats built to go FAST , metalshark and rocksalt , most of the rest are right up your alley .

    Cost wise...NEW Alloy is not cheap , I'm not even going going to try and tell you they cost less, they don't. Where the savings comes in on a alloy boat is Low Maintenance and longevity of the boat . No gel coat cracks , no spider cracks, no worries of banging docks or dropping weight on the deck , Alloy does not stain [ blood ] , it will sweat but it will also dry out if you run your heater and insulate your cabin.
    Power wise... I prefer out boards because you have no packing, rubber boots or extra hole to worry about not to mention maintenance on the motor/s you can do standing up outside the boat instead of standing on head in a to small engine compartment [ as you get older you will understand the standing on your head part sux]
    Upgrades and changes are VERY easy to do on Alloy and stuff usually stays right where it was welded down .

    Fuel burn , well, it takes more fuel to push more weight and a Alloy boat weighs about 2/3's the weight of a same size glass boat typically .

    When buying a Alloy boat I would say buy your 2nd boat 1st , it will save money in the long run. In other words if you think a 18 will do ya get the 20 and so on. You are buying the boat for the next guy . Typically the only reason guys sell their Alloy boat is to get a bigger one.

    Here is a pretty good list of Alloy boat manufactures we have put together ...
    http://www.aluminumalloyboats.com/vi...9&p=6360#p6360

    Take a look to see whats out there. I'm sure we need to update our list but there is some good info there.

    Plastic boats....Makes me sick just thinking of waxing them.

    Good luck and get what works best for ya , this is just my $0.02.

  18. #18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jrogers View Post
    The disadvantage of aluminum is mainly cost. The disadvantage of fiberglass is slightly higher maintenance and slightly less durability. Both are good choices and it really comes down to personal preference.
    I agree with you that both glass and aluminum are good choices. Others will debate which is better forever even if it has already been hashed out a thousand times. The truth is they both have unique pros and cons. I have an aluminum river boat and a glass boat I use in the salt. This is truly a matter of personal preference.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •