Choice of material for your boat
Leisure boats are primarily made of plastic or aluminium. Each material has its advantages and charms, and boat owners have their own preferences. Opinions differ as to which material is better, but they each have different properties and maintenance requirements.
Boats should be able to stand up to normal usage, and ideally, be able to withstand a bit more than that without suffering major damage. It is an advantage when launching a boat and bringing it out of the water again, that it is not too big and heavy. Before winter storage, the hull needs to be cleaned of algae, barnacles and similar to ensure the boat stays shipshape. Most leisure boats are painted with antifouling below the waterline, but in recent years, antifouling has been shown to be very toxic for marine environments and it is going to be phased out.
Wooden boats are beautiful to see as they chug around as they are made of natural materials, but wood is also the material that requires the most maintenance. Wood needs to be protected against harmful UR radiation, water, salt and dirt. Summer sun rays penetrate deep into the wood and break down everything organic. It is therefore important that the boat has the right kind of varnish as this is the only thing that will protect the wood. The wood should be cleaned and varnished every season. Some kinds of wood, such as mahogany for example, contain oil and it is therefore important to clean the boat with an alkaline cleaning agent before sanding and varnishing. The wood must be kept dry to avoid fungal attack that can cause rot. A well-cared for wooden boat is a warm and welcoming sight.
Aluminium is a durable material, but it is not produced from a renewable resource. It is easy to look after and requires very little maintenance. However, if you get a hole in the hull for whatever reason, it is problematical to repair unless you have specialist knowledge. Any such repair must be long-lasting and look as good as new. You should also check that the boat does not have bolts in some other metal that can rust. Aluminium boats generally cost more to buy.
Plastic is the most common material for leisure boats. Other than an annual clean, a plastic boat is almost maintenance-free. If you choose a boat made of polyethylene, you will be getting a boat that is UV-resistant, very durable and that can withstand tough treatment. What’s more, plastic is environment friendly to make and is 100% recyclable. And if you get a hole or scratches in the hull, such damage is easy to repair yourself.