Most of my designs have been done with this material in mind, although other materials can be used. Aluminum has almost all the attributes of the perfect boat building material. As a boat building material aluminum was first used about 120 years ago. In the early years, used with other metals aluminum suffered a bad reputation for corision. Now, using marine grade aluminum and an understanding of compatible materials life expectancy is almost unlimited.
Advantages of Aluminum Boat Construction:
Weight. One of the most important factors of any boat, aluminum is one of the lightest boat building materials available. A lighter boat increases performance, reduces fuel costs and increases carrying capacity. Twice as strong as steel for the same weight and fifty percent stronger then fibreglass, aluminum's lighter weight makes it easier to handle thus reducing cost.
Workability. Aluminum can be worked with the most basic of tools. Circular saws, band saws, drills, etc. easily and quickly cut as compared to steel. Even the welding of aluminum is faster then that of steel. It can be bent, curved and sanded to achieve pleasing and attractive lines to equal that of almost any material.
Maintenance. A well designed and constructed aluminum boat is virtually free from maintenance. It will not rot, decay, corrode or weaken and is impervious to chemicals, UV rays and other environmental conditions. If left in the water, an aluminum boat will require antifouling paint and sacrificial anodes as with any other boat.
Green. Except for the facts that aluminum requires a lot of energy to initially produce and is not made from renewable resources, it is the most easily recycled of any boat building material. Recycling of aluminum uses about 90% less energy then raw material production. The scrap material from the building process can be reused and recycled. In the unlikely event that an aluminum boat is totally destroyed the hull will still be worth its weight as scrap metal. Steel is almost worthless as scrap and any other material would have to go to the landfill. Another consideration is that aluminum's lighter hull weight reduces fuel requirements thus reducing emissions.
Disadvantages of Aluminum Boat Construction:
Conductivity. Not to electricity but to noise and condensation. Noise and condensation are an issue with almost every boat but even more so with aluminum because of its incredible conductive properties. With a little extra effort and careful insulation practices, these issues can be resolved.