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Aluminium Boat Safety & Maintenance Tips

Blog | 17 January 2017

Classed as a lightweight but durable metal, aluminium alloys are employed in countless transportation-related industries. The alloy has become the backbone of the aeronautics industry, for example, and its high strength-to-weight ratio also makes it a perfect material for the shipping sector. In assessing aluminium boat safety and maintenance tips, we need to know a little more about this all-purpose metal.

Aluminium: A Boat-Biased Primer 

Aluminum, as the Americans call it, won’t rust or oxidize. That’s because marine-graded alloys are typically coated with an oxide coating, but even regular aluminium panels exhibit some degree of rust resistance. On top of this corrosion-resistance factor, the metal is favoured by the fabrication sector, so many factories and machine shops make intricate shapes out of the easy-to-shape alloy, including hull sections and seagoing passenger benches.

Aluminium Boat Safety 

Beware of galvanic corrosion. Aluminium won’t rust under normal circumstances, but contact with a dissimilar metal will cause the alloy to deteriorate. The problem is aggravated by saltwater, so keep track of other metal parts and their effect on the boat. Next, the boat is rugged and likely built from a high-grade alloy, but it’s still susceptible to impact. If the boat passes over a submerged rock or, worse still, hits a rocky outcropping, damage may occur. Check the hull for metal deformation and holes. Similarly, exhibit all due care when wielding sharp-edged implements, for they can puncture the hull.

Lightweight Boat Maintenance Tips 

It’s a tough and light craft, one that won’t consume too much fuel when it’s zipping through the waves, but, like anything else, it requires periodic maintenance. Washdown the interior, especially if deposits of saltwater have invaded the inner hull. Corrosion is unlikely, but sea water is aggressive stuff. If there’s an outboard motor attached, unfasten it with a rated winch and place it in a drum for further cleaning. Meanwhile, assess the hook-up point at the rear of the boat for fastener damage and galvanic corrosion. Finally, wash away all dirt, oil, and salty deposits with an approved brush and a bucket of soapy water.

This short guide covers the basics of aluminium boat safety. It also assesses some of the maintenance tips you’ll need to keep your compact vessel clean and undamaged. Stay vigilant. The boat is corrosion-resistant, not corrosion-proof. Take note of scratches and avoid the conditions that cause galvanic corrosion. Do so by picking up discarded copper pennies and displaced stainless steel tools.

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