Things you Must Look for When Buying an Aluminum Boat (Helpful Tips)

So you’ve found a nice aluminium boat you’re keen on? Before reach in to your pocket read this article for some things you should check first.

Cleveland aluminium boat coral bay

1. Cracks in the welds

Different construction to fibreglass, aluminium boats and constructed using aluminium sheets and cut outs that are welding together.  Therefore, take a look along all the key welding lines to ensure there are no cracks.

2. Quality of welds

Check the quality of welding on the boat. If the boat has poor welding it’s likely to be more prone to stress cracks and deterioration in the future. You’ll find boats that are built in Australia and New Zealand usually have great welds (for example Surtree or BarCrusher boats are known for this), however it’s common for low cost boats that are mass produced offshore to have poor quality welds.

Below are some examples of good vs bad quality welds.

What makes a good aluminum weld?

A good boat welding example

A good weld on an aluminum boat is a consistent, uniform weld with no holes, cracking or slag. The weld shouldn’t be thin and there should be no breaks in the weld line.

What makes a bad weld?

A boat aluminium boat weld

A bad aluminium weld is a weld that is thin, has breaks in the weld line, has holes and slag along the line.

3. Galvanic Corrosion (Electrolysis)

Aluminium isn’t a metal that rusts, however if it comes in contact with hard metals or stray terminal tackle such as sinkers, hooks or swivels then galvanic corrosion can occur. Therefore be sure to check the inside of the hull, under the carpet (if possible) of under the hull for signs of galvanic corrosion.

4. Aluminum sheet thickness

Thickness of aluminium boat sheeting

The thickness of aluminium used to construct the boat is also a contributing factor to the quality of an aluminium boat.  If the information is available, ask the owner if he knows the thickness of the aluminium used within the hull.  

The thicker the aluminium the more rigid and sturdy the boat will be.  There will also be less flex in the boat when riding through rough conditions.  Additionally, if you plan to do a lot of beaching of the boat then a thicker hull will be more resistant to scratches and dents when the boat is beached on sand of the river bank.

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