5 Most Common Problems With Aluminum Boats

In Boating by Shelby Sullivan

Aluminum boats are some of the most innovative boats currently being crafted. Since the peak of aluminum boat construction began in the 1970s, thousands of boats have been made from this lightweight and durable material.

However, like all materials used to craft boats, there are a series of common issues that aluminum boats suffer from. Issues such as corrosion damage to the metal, temperature control within the cabin, and plain design aesthetics are all common with aluminum boats.

We’ve researched the most frequent problems plaguing these boats and listed them below, along with the resale value of several different types of aluminum boats.

Shaft Tube Corrosion

Especially when purchasing used aluminum boats, care should be taken to inspect the shaft tube of the boat. Many aluminum boats suffer from corrosion in the shaft tube.

This corrosion in the shaft tube is caused by water sitting in the tube along with the stainless steel.

This causes a form of electrolysis damage, which we will cover more in-depth later. Shaft tube corrosion is the most frequent form of corrosion on aluminum boats.

However, checking the shaft tube for corrosion before buying an aluminum boat or before setting off for your first outing of the season is simple.

To check for corrosion, you must remove the propeller shaft and the rudder, which may take some time but is worth it to check for this common problem.

Aluminum is Loud on Water

Another issue that many boaters face with their aluminum boats is that they can be loud. The sound of water slapping against an aluminum hull can be jarring if one is not used to it.

While soundproofing options do exist to make for a more comfortable ride, most soundproofing work involves aftermarket parts.

If you are willing to make some post-purchase modifications on your aluminum boat, the noise level inside the boat can be reduced significantly.

However, keep this issue in mind if you plan to use your aluminum boat in backwaters or choppy lakes. The sounds are less noticeable out on the open sea.

Anti-Fouling Expense

While aluminum is an extremely durable and affordable material to construct a boat out of, it holds paint poorly. Therefore, anti-fouling must be done with special products designed to work on aluminum boats.

It’s extremely important that a boat is anti-fouled, especially if you plan to take it out on the sea for extended periods of time.

Anti-fouling paint is applied to the hull of boats to help protect them from marine growth while underwater. This process is done to many different types of boats. However, due to aluminum’s properties, it can be more costly than other types of boats.

Electrolysis Damage

Electrolysis is the name for the process that occurs whenever an electric current passes through water and when two dissimilar metals are submerged under water together.

This type of damage can occur for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to:

  • Faulty electric wiring in the boat
  • Metals dissimilar to aluminum used in the boat’s construction
  • Improperly bonded metals used in the boat’s construction
  • An electrical short from an external power source

The most reliable way to avoid or halt further electrolysis damage is by removing the electric current.

For situations where this can’t be done, either due to the boat’s construction or cost concerns, zinc anodes may be added to the boat to protect from this type of corrosive damage.

Poor Temperature Control

Due to the thinness and lightweight construction of aluminum boats, as well as the inherent properties of the metal, the temperature control within aluminum boats is poor.

In sunny locations, you’ll feel the heat inside your aluminum boat. In the same way, you’ll feel the chill of cold water locations as well.

However, aftermarket foam insulation is a simple, cost-effective solution to poor temperature control within aluminum boats.

Care must be taken to ensure that you use quality insulation foam when temperature controlling an aluminum boat.

If buying a used boat with insulation added, check to make sure that all seams are covered, and an even amount of foam was used throughout the boat.

General Pros and Cons of Aluminum Boats

Every boat has its own unique set of pros and cons. No two boats, even from the same maker, are truly the same. However, aluminum boats share many similar qualities across the board.

We’ve researched the commonly cited pros and cons of aluminum boats to help you make the right decision for your boating needs.

Pros

Aluminum boats are known for being durable and well constructed. With a relatively low amount of maintenance, aluminum boats can last for years.

Aluminum also offers a lightweight and fast ride, which means more fun and less money spent on gas.

Aluminum boats are also known for their reasonable cost and ease of manufacturing. As such, there are thousands of aluminum boats out on the water and for sale.

This makes finding and buying an aluminum boat that fits your needs as a boater easier.

Many mariners also enjoy the distinct look of aluminum boats. Due to the properties of the metal, it is difficult to paint boats constructed from aluminum.

While some may find the look of aluminum less than desirable, many boaters enjoy the sharp and sleek look of these boats.

Cons

  • The shaft tube of aluminum boats often experiences corrosion.
  • Aluminum is loud out on the water without proper insulation.
  • Anti-fouling aluminum boats can be expensive.
  • Aluminum boats are prone to electrical corrosive damage, known as electrolysis.
  • The temperature of aluminum boats is difficult to control without aftermarket insulation.

What do the Reviews Say?

Aluminum boats are budget-friendly, unique and classic for any fisherman or boater out there!

“They’re light, economical, nearly maintenance-free, easy to repair and almost impervious to damage…Their high strength-to-weight ratio means they can be built lighter and therefore can run faster for a given amount of power, and are easier to [attach to the] trailer,”

Source: Boatingmag.com

Aluminum boats are also undergoing many changes to the industry and how they are made.

“That also has been a game-changer as anglers now look at the aluminum Xpress as an option no matter what size of the lake they frequently fish. The new aluminum is not only lighter and stronger, but the pad hull designs make them perform like a rocket but with the stability of a pontoon,”

Source: Pantagraph.com

What’s The Resale Value On Aluminum Boats?

The resale value of aluminum boats depends on a variety of factors, but we’ve gathered the prices for several different types of used aluminum boats and displayed them below:

Year Make & Model Price
2019 Ranger Reata 223C $44,900
2017 Bennington 24 SSX $25,995
2016 SeaArk 2472 VFX $28,995
2015 Moore Center Console Sportfish $89,500
2010 Crownline 240 EX $39,850
2004 Fish Rite 24 Sled $27,745
2002 Sound Craft Islander Sport $97,500
1990 Kayot 5924 Commander $8,500

Please note that these prices are estimates, and the resale value of an aluminum boat will vary based on make, model, location, and other factors.

Final Thoughts

Aluminum boats are becoming more prominent as design innovations are improved. Aluminum boats are sturdy and easily glide through the water. Combined with the signature look of these boats, the low base price of the material makes these boats a popular choice.

Thankfully, many of the issues faced by aluminum boats can be fixed with a little hard work and aftermarket products.

Proper maintenance of aluminum boats is also extremely important. For boat owners prepared to complete minimal maintenance, but do it correctly every time, aluminum boats can be a lasting investment.

References:

Boatingmag.com

Pantagraph.com

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