Are aluminum boats more reliable than wood/steel boats?

Some boat experts consider aluminum-hulled boats to be more reliable than either steel or wood hulls. This is largely due to aluminum being lighter and stronger, pound for pound, than the other materials. Another argument for aluminum is its durability and that it lasts longer than other materials.

Other factors in the reliability of aluminum include mostly maintenance-free construction, better value maintenance, no structural joints or leaks, corrosion resistance, and water absorption resistance. Aluminum also does not blister like fiberglass. Boat builders tend to like aluminum as it allows more sculpted details due to being softer and allows for more flexible interior layouts as it requires fewer bulkheads.

Compared to steel, aluminum is safer during building and operation. It is non-magnetic, so it does not interfere with navigation or electronics. It is also non-sparking, which means it cannot start fires as a result of friction sparks. Aluminum can absorb more energy than steel since it deforms instead of rupturing. Dents in smaller aluminum boats can typically be repaired by hammering them out.

Some disadvantages of aluminum boats include the price, lack of abrasion resistance, and susceptibility to melting in an intense fire. The melting point of aluminum is around 1,080 degrees Fahrenheit; steel can sustain temperatures twice as high.

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