How to Compare Plate Boats
When you buy a boat, you are buying its performance, quality and safety. Sometimes it's hard to tell what is real and what is nothing more than a gimmick. Throughout this page, we break down the common myths about Aluminum Plate Fishing Boats.
The following information is designed to provide answers to common queries, allowing you to compare plate boats in an informed manner.
THREE TYPES OF ALUMINIUM BOATS
There are three major forms of aluminium boats on the market. Below, we break down each form and compare plate boats commonly sold across Australia.
Plate Boats: Made from 5083 structural marine grade aluminium, designed and built as a traditional fully framed vessel. These vessels typically are used in commercial applications and meet the strict requirements of the NSCV.
The Seatamer PTF series are true aluminium plate boats.
Production Boats: Mass produced boats for recreational purposes. Typically, these vessels are made with plate aluminium for the planning sheet and side sheets used in conjunction with extruded profiles for the keel and chine joints. As they are not fully framed or welded, the structural design and warranty is for recreational use only.
Press Boats: Mass produced for the once a month boater, these are affordable family boats made with softer aluminium. As a result, the stepped hull and side sheets can be pressed by a simple punch. Common examples include a tinny or runabout.
PROVEN DESIGN - AUSTRALIAN STANDARS
Australian design standards apply to ALL boats regardless of who builds them. AS1799.1 - 2009 Small Power craft, AS4132.2 -1993 Design & Construction, AS3004.2 - 2009 Electrical Installations for vessels.
When vessels claim to meet a design standard, there are still vital considerations that you must be aware of. These include;
- is the vessel fully framed?
- has level buoyancy been achieved with foam or air?
- are the fuel tanks separate from the hull?
- Which joints are fully welded on both sides? And finally;
- Why would I want a fishing boat that is based on a commercial design?
COMPARE BRANDS FOR YOURSELF
The use of a ballast in a boat is not new. In fact, it has been done for centuries. Most large boats have ballast tanks that allow vessels to control where they sit in the water. Cargo ships, for example, utilise ballast to help balance themselves.
A flooding ballast on a small vessel is a solution to mask design compromises.
Vessels that are too light for their size, too narrow for their length, or too steep in their deadrise may incorporate a flooding ballast to overcome these trade-offs in design. There is no doubt any boats stability will improve at rest if they have ballast.
However, if the vessel needs ballast or ballast would improve the vessels performance. Please don't remove the boats frames that attach to the keel and give the vessel its strength. Make the ballast tank removable so the inside of the hull is not exposed to salt water and it can be replaced.
Fuel tanks are often the most crucial and problematic parts of any boat. When functioning well, all is good. When they break down, however, you will be left stranded.
Independent Fuel tanks are removable for cleaning, repair or replacement. On the other hand, upgradeable commercial integrated fuel tanks can be welded into the vessel's structure. However, they cannot be removed, replaced or upgraded for commercial use.
Pictured RIGHT are 2 x 200L fuel tanks in a 7.4M Mono running twin 200HP Mercury. The fuel tanks are in a cofferdam, accessible through a floor plate on the back deck. They can be cleaned and serviced over the next 15 - 20 years. Pulling the fuel tanks out and cleaning them as you replace engines is the best recommended practice.
The information provided is accurate to the best of the information provided by each of the manufactures via their websites. If any information is inaccurate we will correct it. The purpose of this information is to provide an accurate comparison of the vessels and their construction.