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Runabout - Aluminium vs fibreglass


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Hi everyone, I am looking for a small runabout and can you guys tell me what there is to dislike about a glass boat? I know the basics (alloy is lighter, more easily repaired, glass can get water into it and make soft spots), I dont want google answers, I want to know what you guys think and prefer. What do you guys own and why did you choose alloy/glass?


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22 hours ago, noelm said:

Depends on your interpretation of "small" what size are you considering?

Around 4.4-4.5m, give or take some depending on what I find. I was looking at an older Mustang 1600 for example, a Bermuda 455 and Stacer 429.


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It's just a personal thing, small boats in alloy are a much lighter over all package, and tend to suit small boat uses better, once you go a bit bigger, and think about going out in the ocean, I would then look at glass, when you get to (say) 5.5-6m then either option would be on my list, that's just my opinion, there just seems to be better glass options in the "mid" range, older boats like Seafarer VCs and Haines come to mind. Now before people throw rocks at me and tell me how fabulous their own boat is, it's just my own personal preference and opinion, and note, lots of those older "legendary" brands were very badly built and may/will need considerable work on them, unless you can locate a good one.

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I had a 5m FG boat and it was ok, but I never really felt all that safe in it. It was an older boat so it was probably all in my head. It rode quite well, but always seemed to get water in it. I moved to a larger plate boat, and I really like it. Loads of room and high sides, so I can take my young feller out and he won't easily fall over the side. The ride is ok too, although I think that a lot of ride issues are related to the throttle!

In the smaller size, there will be more choice in the the alloy market. 

Most people will say that the weight is what gives the FG boat a better ride. An alloy boat will most likely be lighter meaning your trailer can be smaller and unbraked which means no inspection (in nsw) required and is cheaper. Alloy will be easier to put an electric up the front too.


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16 hours ago, OZrevhead said:

Thanks Noel, why change to glass for a bit bigger? Yes rivers and lakes mostly, maybe an odd trip to Botany Bay for kingys. Im not planning to take it outside but that depends on what boat I end up buying.



Nothing beats getting onto different types of boats to "feel" what is the difference is.


But failing having the opertunity to do that I would be doing some research through sites like these to get some sort of understanding-






Personally for bay/estuary , all you need is a 4m alloy like a quintrex or stacer etc with a 25PH tiller steer.


BUT you need to establish how many people you will be regularly taking along & how much comfort you would like as the more people then you could need to be getting into a larger boat with say a 1/2 cabin, hydraulic steer ect ect.


You then need to think about budget!

Edited by kingie chaser
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*This is only personal preference*... 🤙

I first owned a small aluminium centre console that I fished inshore with comfortably, only when I became comfortable with the boat and a bit more experience fishing offshore I used to do trips to the FAD regularly. These are just a few things from the top of my head that I experienced.

Aluminium Features:

  • Can be beached without fear of damage
  • A lot easier to launch an retrieve (Lighter)
  • Less fuel and smaller motor required (Again, lighter)
  • Little to no maintenance - Easier to clean (No buffing/waxing etc)
  • Handle a lot of punishment (But rattle your teeth out. LOL)
  • No worry about rotting etc. (Although most fibreglass boats use composite board now)
  • Easy to repair/add accessories if needed
  • Great newbie boat

I then had a year and half with no boat but was constantly watching for when the price and hull type I was looking for popped up. Now I run a slightly bigger American fibreglass centre console and would never go back to aluminium. EVER! (For the type of fishing I do)

Fibreglass Features:

  • Slightly cheaper to purchase (But you pay for this in other costs. e.g. bigger motor etc.)
  • A lot softer and quieter ride! (Generally push water out better with the flare) And sit into swell instead of skipping over the top
  • Less rocky at rest/drifting (All depends on the 'V' though)
  • Self draining decks
  • Look a LOT nicer with curves 😝🤤


In saying all that, I generally only fish outside now. Although I have fished in a few aluminium boats since then and found the ride somewhat ok...Just my opinion!

Really comes down to what type of fishing you will be mainly doing, level of experience with boats, and your budget (And remember ongoing costs!).

LOL looking at those notes it looks like I should go back to an aluminium boat - Hope it helps with your decision 😝🤪

Cheers, Brendo

Edited by Brendan Monks
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Thanks for the great replies everyone.


On paper we are candidates for a larger boat: Usually three adults in it, lately the second youngest son is with us too and we have grand daughters but they havent been in the boat yet so Im not planning them into the ride (trade them for one son for a few hours lol).

We will 99.9% be in enclosed waters, I would love to go out to the first FAD one day but I can wait until my son gets a bigger boat for himself later.


Until then keep fishing everyone.




Edited by OZrevhead
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My observations are that most people are looking to trade up in size rather than down.   So I'd be inclined to get started with the bigger boat subject to storage, towing and budget restraints.

Edited by Welster
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