BOAT BUYING TIPS (1) – What makes a good aluminium boat?

plate aluminium fishing boatOne of the most common questions we’re asked by prospective boat buyers is: “What makes a good aluminium boat?”

Here at Bar Crusher, we have many lifetimes of boating and fishing experience within our ranks – and we’re known for our boat building innovation and technical expertise. So we’re sharing some of our boat building knowledge via a series of posts to help you gain a better understanding of boat design and construction.

One thing is certain: there are no shortcuts in building quality plate aluminium boats.

As a buyer, you need to know some very important facts about good boat design and construction to be able to ask the right questions and ensure you buy the best performing boat for your money.

TIP: Before you buy a boat, take it out on the water in 20 knots of wind and a metre or more of wind chop, and put it to the test! If the salesperson is reluctant to take you out for a water test in the conditions you’d like to see the boat perform in – walk away…

Have you ever looked at something closely in a shop or dealership and walked away feeling it was well designed and beautifully made? Have you ever asked yourself: “What gave me that feeling?”


That sense of premium quality is a combination of things. It’s about clever, innovative design. Quality workmanship. Careful fit. Thoughtful layout. A feeling the manufacturer has an interest in you and how you will use the product.

Sometimes it’s the little things like the sound that’s made when you close the door of a BMW or Mercedes Benz car. Positive. Firm. Superb engineering. Well thought-out.

Think of the contrast here with the way a door shuts on the cheapest car on the market. Tinnie, noisy, lightweight, poor fit. It sounds cheap. It has been designed in the hope you won’t look too closely and probably won’t care.


The same principle applies with trailer boats. There are very high-quality boats on the market and there are very poor-quality boats – and everything in between.

Beware of boat manufacturers making big, unsubstantiated claims in glossy brochures – and particularly on social media! An important piece of advice for those setting out to buy a new boat… a high price tag is no indicator of good quality and performance.

Some boats are built to an ordinary standard, are hard riding and are prone to serious broaching. (A wider beam for a given length is a recipe for this… but more about that later.)

Some boats get everything right.

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