Find more listings like 2013 Xpress Boats 18' Aluminum Jet Boat by searching the Fishing Boats category. Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below. Reflecting on a distaste for plastic, and the inevitability of rot, one's thoughts turn to aluminum.
I have read that the preferred method is solid, not pop rivets, and 5200 as a sealer in the joint. All the modest sized aluminum boats I have seen use a fairly lightweight aluminum that is not very stiff.
My objection to aluminum in small boats is the noise and that fact that they get burning hot in the sun. A lot is made of aluminum's expense, but I wonder just how much more expensive it is to use in fabrication after one factors in the highest quality woods, countless coatings of epoxy, fairing materials, fiberglass, primer, paint, etc.. There used to be a story, apparently an urban myth, that if you dropped a penny in the bilge of an aluminum boat it would galvanically eat a hole right through the hull in no time at all. It seems to me, that even though a hull may be constructed of aluminum, and no longer really a wooden boat, there still could be an awful lot of woodwork left on such a boat, especially if trying to make that boat beautiful. I could see it if you are a welder with the tools and materials at hand but other wise lots of $ and extra work.

So you cover it, and there seem to be two choices, one being to cover it with polyester and glass as explained by Vaitses.
So, aluminum may have serious disadvantages, but it does not have two of the big ones in the other method I tried. The Sears boat isn't anything like what I had in mind by the way, I want to build a nice v or flat bottomed sailing boat with a traditional sail plan. The first sign of trouble is usually the smell of gasoline in the compartment holding the fuel tank.
Another place corrosion can develop is when trailerable boats are taken out of the water and set on trailer bunks that hold moisture against the hull as it is exposed to rain, etc.
De Havilland here in Australia used to build riveted aluminium boats, I bet they did something similar in Canada too.
The sheets were fastened at the chine to a rolled aluminium chine chine piece, it was two flats and a raised section, sort of U shaped with the two flats extending 90 degrees off the end. For smaller boats, you really can't beat plywood for price and ease of construction, even using proper materials everywhere. My Diamond yacht spent 20+ years in the water on a mooring, with only antifouling protecting it, and even then, when I bought it, there was bare plywood in places.
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Even if the aluminum is weldable trying to weld the thin stock used for small boat hulls is also difficult because of the potential for warpage. Bigger ones get interiors built into them and possibly sound deadening material, too, making them more agreeable.
And I've seen any number of cheap aluminum fishing skiffs used in salt water for years without big problems. The seams were sealed with some sort of sealant as they were riveted with aircraft type rivets. And I do believe one of our resident naval architects, who I hope will come along shortly, has designed aluminum boats for saltwater use.
To build an aluminum hull from flat panels requires either much thicker, heavier stock or some kind of add-on channels to keep the panels from oil-canning.

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