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Old 08-21-2016, 04:04 PM   #1
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hull question

if you had a choice in steel or aluminum material for a hull what would be the choice. looking at 2 different trawlers thats why im asking. thanks in advance nebie
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Old 08-21-2016, 05:14 PM   #2
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Aluminium. Steel would be OK for a new build, but rust can be soul destroying
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Old 08-21-2016, 05:42 PM   #3
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That is a difficult question to answer without a lot more information. Steel is stronger and does not dent as easily. Aluminum has a greater problem maintaining its shape (deflects). That being said, there are standards for materials used in boats hull design. The answer may lay in what standards were employed in the design and construction of the vessels in question. For instance the aluminum vessel may have larger and beefed up structural members support the hull plates that will effectively compensate for the greater deflection that one would expect in the aluminum plate. If both vessels were identical in size and shape you would find the aluminum one lighter (35 - 40 %) but the steel stronger.

Perhaps some of the air pilots on this forum may better answer the question and explain how airframes are inspected for deflection cracks and how time effects that metal.
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Old 08-21-2016, 05:51 PM   #4
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yes that is what i was wondering the life span before it starts to get weak material wise that is thanks newbe
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Old 08-21-2016, 05:55 PM   #5
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A lot depends on size weight and intended purpose. Both have to be properly prep and welded as both have limitations. For heavy full displacement steel, for light weight fast trawler aluminum. Steel shows the corrosion, rust, but aluminum has a lower galvonic metal and can deteriorate faster than steel, turning to white powder. In some applications aluminum is used as a sacrifice metal to protect steel and higher galvanic rated metals.

Make sure you have both surveyed with a knowledge metal surveyor. Both have their inherent concerns. More detail would be helpful
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Old 08-21-2016, 06:16 PM   #6
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steel was made in the early 80s and aluminum in the early 70s both in very good shape all metal made 40 some footers in both cases made in america trawlers thanks newbe
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Old 08-21-2016, 06:40 PM   #7
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There is a big difference in commercial vs pleasure. Commrrcial not as much prep welding as pleasure. Also metal boats tend to have rust deterioration mold on the inside, so the outside may look ok. If you can take a look behind some panels or look for moisture.
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Old 08-21-2016, 08:00 PM   #8
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if you had a choice in steel or aluminum material for a hull what would be the choice. looking at 2 different trawlers thats why im asking. thanks in advance nebie
Where and how are you intending to use it? That determined which would be best or if either one would be appropriate. There is a reason most here have fiberglass and not aluminum or steel.
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Old 08-21-2016, 08:41 PM   #9
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I think that AL. metallurgy has come a long way since the 70's... There have been some real horror stories about early AL. hulls... I would get a surveyor that specializes in Aluminum if you choose to that way.
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Old 08-21-2016, 09:33 PM   #10
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ok thanks for all the help would get a surveyor thats knows aluminum good idea thanks. going to use it as a liveaboard and try to do some traveling later on thanks newbe
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Old 08-21-2016, 09:54 PM   #11
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ok thanks for all the help would get a surveyor thats knows aluminum good idea thanks. going to use it as a liveaboard and try to do some traveling later on thanks newbe


Don't moor it anywhere near a steel boat unless you like wet feet .
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Old 08-22-2016, 03:37 AM   #12
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Steel is easily repairable and can be done while cruising with a grinder and $100 arc welder in a pinch
Aluminium generally requires higher skillset, expensive mig and 3 phase power for repairs.
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Old 08-22-2016, 05:54 AM   #13
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"Steel is easily repairable and can be done while cruising with a grinder and $100 arc welder in a pinch
Aluminium generally requires higher skillset, expensive mig and 3 phase power for repairs."

YUP.

That means checking out the yard that built the boat might be more important than what it was built of.

Steel is low skill and if pro plans were used ,low risk. Although constant maint may be required.

Aluminum from a good builder would be my first choice as it can be left bare above the WL, and after a decade of use the hull restored with a polish with scotch bright.

Loads better than sand blasting and 5 -7 coats of pri$y paint.
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Old 08-22-2016, 07:04 AM   #14
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Old 08-22-2016, 07:06 AM   #15
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Old 08-22-2016, 07:18 AM   #16
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My dad bought a steel-hull boat when I was nine, and I learned the words "sand blast" at an early age. I am sure steel has improved, and there was nothing like the sound of the boat crushing through the occasional wafer-thin ice that formed in Spa Creek in Annapolis in January, but sand blasting was a regular thing.

A steel boat is a boaty boat. I think fiberglass, as I now own, has it's own issues as well.

(Not sure my comment was helpful in the slightest, but curious to see what you decide)
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Old 08-22-2016, 06:18 PM   #17
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Both my friends that have steel boats would rather have something else...
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