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Old 05-04-2019, 10:18 AM   #1
Liz
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Steel boat vs fiberglass

Hello All,

Tomorrow I am going to see a steel boat as I plan to start cruising the Trent system and then do the Loop solo. I couldn't find much on this forum about steel boats.

Any thoughts out there? The good, the bad and the ugly.....all opinions and advice is very welcome!

Here is the ad

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-powerboat-mo...ationFlag=true
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Old 05-04-2019, 10:43 AM   #2
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Steel boat vs fibreglass

$16,900?! What a steal...er, steel. Pretty sure all the FG boats will say steel is bad. All of the steel boat owners will say steel is awesome. Just a hunch.

As for me, I have a fiberglass boat, but think steel trawlers are awesome. I also believe the US market doesn’t appreciate them because we are programmed to only see value in mass-marketed production products. Never made sense to me.
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Old 05-04-2019, 10:44 AM   #3
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What a neat boat!

Steel requires additional vigilance due to potential for rust. I have been warned (but have not personally researched rates yet) that insurance rates can be higher on steel vs glass or aluminum, all other things being equal. I always enjoyed operating steel boats at work, especially in rough patrol service where we were challenging shallow waters, high speed runs at night with potential for driftwood strikes, beaching, etc. . But I wasn't responsible for paying for maintenance of the hull. Sleeping aboard can a bit noisier than with a glass hull (hull slapping), but better than aluminum IMO.
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Old 05-04-2019, 10:48 AM   #4
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The engine looks like it would be difficult to access and maintain. The hull appears to need some rust cleanup. Have a good marine steel guy offer his thoughts on corrosion protection effort and costs. You may be surprised.
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Old 05-04-2019, 10:51 AM   #5
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Ask how the interior structure was prepped. Was it blasted to white/near white metal and then painted with epoxy? How much time elapsed between hull prep and painting? What type of insulation?

Go read the metal boat articles on Kasten's web site. He was the editor for the Metal Boat Society for decades.

Is Steel Too Heavy?

Go to this page and read up on paint and insulation:
Metal Boats For Blue Water - Kasten Marine Design

Later,
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Old 05-04-2019, 10:59 AM   #6
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That price is in Canadian dollars also.

The owner has had it for 10 years. He leaves it in the water year round and lets ice form around it. He told me that he stays on it overnight in the winter sometimes.

I'm surprised insurance is higher as steel is so much stronger. No worries about hitting a rock and tearing a hole.

Luckily I usually sleep soundly.

This is only the 5th boat I've seen. It needs a few things such as a shower. The holding tank is 100 gallons. Fuel is 30 gallons. That will have to be switched in size.
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Old 05-04-2019, 11:01 AM   #7
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Thank you Sunchaser and Dan. I will do all of what you advised.
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Old 05-04-2019, 11:16 AM   #8
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Cute boat. It looks like he lowered some soft fabric sound shield around the engine. Also appears that he painted and maintained the exterior, because it's easier to reach. The problem with steel boats is that they generally rust from the inside to out. Obvious reasons. The interior you will likely gut and redo. This is what we call a project boat, so expect to spend a solid year working on it before you take off on your long term cruise. Like previously said, you need to spend the money on proper surveys (hull, systems, engine) including haul out. Fun project if you're young and enthusiastic (like I once was years ago). Good luck
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Old 05-04-2019, 11:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liz View Post
.

I'm surprised insurance is higher as steel is so much stronger. No worries about hitting a rock and tearing a hole.

.
I imagine it is due to insurance claims surrounding corrosion, and higher costs of repair over fiberglass when collision damage does occur.
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Old 05-04-2019, 11:39 AM   #10
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There’s already a ton of maintenance on a boat. Why would you also want to “maintain the hull”? My friend had a steel boat. Really hard to keep up with all that rusting.....cost of course can make one attractive
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Old 05-04-2019, 11:47 AM   #11
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If your going forward after you see the boat, as part of the survey get an ultrasound on the hull. It’s a non-destructive way to measure the hull thickness.
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Old 05-04-2019, 11:50 AM   #12
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Corosion on a steel boat

There was a fellow in my yacht club who had a steel sail boat that was his liveaboard.

One day he woke up with water over his floor boards.

On inspection, durring haul out, it was found that a large section of his hull was failing. The only economical thing for him to do was to scrap the boat.

Galvanic corosion can change depending on where you moor your boat or who your boat neighbors are or the state of disrepair of the marina your in.

Fiberglass lasts forever.
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Old 05-04-2019, 11:53 AM   #13
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Steel boat vs fibreglass

Quote:
Originally Posted by grahamdouglass View Post
There was a fellow in my yacht club who had a steel sail boat that was his liveaboard.



One day he woke up with water over his floor boards.



On inspection, durring haul out, it was found that a large section of his hull was failing. The only economical thing for him to do was to scrap the boat.



Galvanic corosion can change depending on where you moor your boat or who your boat neighbors are or the state of disrepair of the marina your in.



Fiberglass lasts forever.


This didn’t happen overnight. Your friend probably would have met the same fate with a FG boat as well. Obviously neglected to care for his boat.

I find it amusing that the same posters who tell you steel hull’s are bad on one thread are also complaining about core issues on their own boat on another thread.
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Old 05-04-2019, 12:09 PM   #14
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As someone that worked in and owned yards, steel is much easier to repair than fiberglass. Steel is much stronger and will elongate rather than puncture or break. The tanks can be part of the hull and contribute to the overall strength. While steel is higher maintenance, with proper metal coating, and maintenance, steel can last indefinitely. But considering how many people take care of their boats, fiberglass is probably better for most yachts.

I've seen steel boats that pounded on breakwaters with rudders torn off and prop shaft bent 90° with only minor flooding.

If you have major machinery changes, holes can be cut to move equipment thru and later welded. With care no visible sign of the hole will be apparent after repainting.

For you greenies, steel can be recycled forever or left to decompose.
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Old 05-04-2019, 12:33 PM   #15
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Fiberglass meets the needs of the general public better than steel. That doesn't make it a better material.

Different solutions for different needs.
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Old 05-04-2019, 01:58 PM   #16
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Greetings,
Ms. Liz. Yup. REALLY good survey with ultrasound is needed. I, also, am concerned about the working room around the engine. Doesn't look like much space. IF it is that cramped, how difficult would it be to service AND if so difficult, how often was is serviced in the past?
Even if you use the 100 gallon tank for fuel, 100 gallons isn't much. Is there room to add more tankage?
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Old 05-04-2019, 04:39 PM   #17
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Ask the ultrasound tech to pay particular attention to the area under the shaft log and the waterline. The two areas most likely to show bad corrosion.
Her location implies a life in fresh water which is a good thing.

If you want a glossy finish that looks like a FG boat's gelcoat just popped out of the mold then a steel hull is very expensive to maintain. On the other hand if you are happy with a work boat finish and willing to do it yourself then it's not expensive to maintain.
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Old 05-04-2019, 10:00 PM   #18
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Yo steel work boat!
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Old 05-05-2019, 06:21 AM   #19
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"Fiberglass lasts forever".

GRP continues to harden over time , it lasts till a load requires the hull to flex more than it can at that point in time. Overbuilding by 400% (as done on inspected vessels) attempts to solve this problem.

A too thin steel hull section is repaired by installing a new section.

In Euroland the charge is by the square meter , no big deal.
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Old 05-05-2019, 06:52 PM   #20
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I saw the boat today.

Note to self: ask for lots of CURRENT photos. The boat has been sitting for 5 years on blocks. She is in rough shape. Even the local mice didn't want to live in her.

But I had a lovely 9 hour drive with a good friend who has agreed to continue accompanying me on my quest.

Thanks everyone who took the time to give me advice and share knowledge. I know a bit more and have looked into steel boats now.

I will continue to post any boat that seems possible but I am unsure about. Is looking for boats for someone else the equivalent of shopping for shoes for someone else??? Lots of fun and doesn't cost anything!
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