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Boat Buying Tips 101: What to Look for in Aluminium Boats

Blog | 28 March 2018

The following boat buying tips are intended as a purchasing primer. Aluminium boats, the subject of this purchasing guide, are sold in numerous styles and constructions, so a shopping trip to acquire one of these metallic beauties can be something of a baffling experience. Returning to the basics, let’s learn all about hull design and the rivet versus welded body debate. Come on, the buying guide starts right now.

Don’t Sink Your Budget: Selecting Your Hull 

Let’s start with the conditions you favour. Small body of water, open lake, or coastal estuary, where is the craft cruising? For that matter, is the boat cruising a calm surface or cutting through choppy waves? Select a flat-bottomed hull if the water is shallow and calm. Alternatively, if you’re navigating rough seas, a deeply cut v-hull shape is the logical choice. Finally, for a best of both worlds boating experience, consider buying a semi-v aluminium boat, a design that utilises high bows and a flat transom.

Rivets vs. Welded Designs 

Granted, a riveted frame is less expensive than a fully welded one, but rivets require holes. Follow this sequence of events. An aging aluminium boat is loaded every weekend into a boat trailer. It’s unloaded, occupied by fun-seeking day trippers, then it’s returned to the trailer. Bumping home over a poorly maintained highway, the boat is put back into storage. All that bumping and moving, it’s loosening the rivets and the boat is taking on water. Welded hulls cost a little more, but they strengthen the hull and don’t leak.

Recognise Hull Features 

From the chine design to the addition of spray rails, knowledge of these special terms will expedite the buying experience. The chine design, the cross-section profile of the craft, combines with strake angle and spray rail form to stabilise the aluminium hull as it slices through the choppiest waters. Imagine a superior hull, a boating frame that’s built to deflect the waves. It’s stabler and faster than other craft, and that speed is gained without adding a more expensive propulsion system.

A Desirable Onboard Configuration 

Constructed from marine-grade aluminium, the hull is thin but strong enough to ward off light-to-moderate impacts. Meanwhile, what’s taking place up top? An appropriate steering console and seating layout are required if you’re to get the best out of the boat. Large enough to carry a fishing party, the seating arrangement must satisfy the shopper’s needs.

That last tip receives a lot of attention from buyers, which is what you’d expect. Bow or deck rails, seating arrangements, and basic convenience features all require attention. At the end of the day, however, it’s the hull of your aluminium boat that requires the most consideration.

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