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Perhaps the most basic decision for today’s shopper is whether to buy a fiberglass boat or an aluminum boat. Once upon a time, glass boats were much more stylish than aluminum boats, but that’s not true anymore—not by a long shot.

Today’s aluminum boats not only deliver a ride that’s as good as (if not better than) fiberglass, they look just as sleek and stylish. And when you consider the inherent advantages of aluminum as a hull material, aluminum boats become the smart choice for the knowledgeable buyer.

Let’s look at some factors that give aluminum the edge.

Lighter weight. Comb through the specs for boats of the same length and width with similar floor plans comparing aluminum to fiberglass, and you’ll see aluminum boats are around 10 percent lighter on average. That means a smaller, less expensive outboard will deliver the same performance with an aluminum boat that a bigger more expensive outboard does for a fiberglass boat. The lighter weight means tremendous fuel savings too, both gas in the boat and gas in the tow vehicle.

Durability. There’s a reason you don’t see fiberglass jet boats blasting upstream in rocky rapids; those are all aluminum boats. Fiberglass can literally shatter on impact, while aluminum may bend, but not break. Not only does this mean that the aluminum boat can continue in the water without leaking, it also means a faster, less-expensive repair when you get it back ashore.

Easy maintenance. You can spend your weekend polishing a glass boat after using it, or you can run an aluminum boat through a carwash and get it looking like new. Painted aluminum hulls with baked-on finishes are the ultimate in low maintenance. And if you get a ding, a little touch-up paint will get the aluminum boat looking like new, while a fiberglass boat’s layered gelcoat requires a major operation and expense to get back in shape.

Initial investment. Shop and compare and you’ll see that aluminum boats, on average, cost less.

Resale value. When it’s time to buy new, a well-maintained aluminum boat will fetch a higher percentage of the original price than a fiberglass boat of the same age.


Sunlight and freezing temperatures can degrade fiberglass over time, while aluminum is impervious to both. That’s why you often see aluminum boats handed down through the generations of a family, often looking just as good for the great grandchildren as it did the day it was bought. Glass tends to fade, discolor and get chalky with age.

Recyclable. If you lean green, you should know that when fiberglass boats go out of service, they end up chopped up and in a landfill. In the unlikely event that an aluminum boat gets wrecked beyond repair, that aluminum hull, substructure and deck are 100 percent recyclable.

Take a good look at the important decision between fiberglass and aluminum. After you see the benefits of aluminum, you also will see the choice is quite easy after all.

Finding the right boat. The ‘Aluminum Boat Guide’ is designed specifically to assist you in finding the appropriate boat for your requirements. With the knowledgeable assistance of your local dealer, you’ll find an affordable aluminum boat that doesn’t compromise either your sense of style, or your budget.

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