Fiberglass boats are boats made of a material known as glass-reinforced plastic. This material is today commonly known as fiberglass. It is material made from extremely fine fibers of glass, being interwoven into another material. In the case of watercraft, this is more often than not some type of plastic. Fiberglass as a boat material usually resembles a form of cloth until it dries.
Fiberglass boats started being used with increasing regularity throughout the 1960s, and their popularity has only continued to grow throughout the years. Today, fiberglass is the most commonly-used material for pleasure boats. They are found in all types of locations. Whether on a lake or in the ocean, fiberglass boats are used all over the world.
The main reason for the popularity of fiberglass boats is due to the durability of fiberglass. Unlike wooden boats or metal boats, fiberglass boats will not rot or rust. Therefore, their life expectancies far exceed these traditional materials used in boat construction. Further, fiberglass boats are usually a lighter weight and stiffer than boats made from other types of materials.
This is one reason why these types of boats are so valuable to pleasure boaters. Fiberglass boats take less energy to run, because they do not weigh as much and therefore do not create as much resistance in the water. Further, because they are light, they do not sit down in the water as much when moving slowly or when stopped. This can be a great advantage to fishermen when fishing in shallower waters.
Fiberglass boats are made by first applying the a gel coating to a mold. Once this coating hardens, the fiberglass is then laid down next, usually in several coats. This also must go through a hardening process. Once that is done, the hull is separated from the mold and then combined with other parts of the boat, such as the interior lining and the deck. This completes the boat building process. Often, modern boats also have a foam or balsa core as well, though this is not necessary for a boat to be classified as fiberglass.
Due to the technology and equipment involved in building fiberglass boats, there are substantial costs involved in making such a craft. The way boat manufacturers are able to provide affordable fiberglass boats is through economies of scale. Therefore, most fiberglass boats are impractical to make by anyone but a professional boat manufacturer.