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Old 10-07-2013, 18:46   #16
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Re: Another reason I like steel boats



Carry on.
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Old 10-07-2013, 18:55   #17
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Carry on.
The pop corn does Better on a glass boat. Sorry someone lost their boat. Not convinced it was because of hull material
Hope everyone is okay. Sad for the loss.
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Old 10-07-2013, 19:18   #18
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Re: Another reason I like steel boats

Wow...This thread seemed like a set up to begin with. If you want steel...go ahead. I built 3. Two of them my own. I have only seen one boat on fire and that was in Redwood City, Ca. The hulls insulation caught on fire. It was steel and the owner was lucky to be alive. The smoke was so thick, he was completely blinded and overtaken by fumes on the way out, gashing his forehead in the process requiring close to 100 stitches.
People shiver in their timbers about F/G boats having osmosis after 30 years. I've seen many steel hulls with corrosion on an 1/8" thick hull with 1/16" pocks. Yup...1/2 way through. My friend in Mexico has a Roberts 43. After 12 years in the water and what he thought was well maintained, his integral tanks became salty tasting...yup...you know why. There's a reason 99% of boats are F/G. Builders know owners are unknowing about the extent, boats need maintenance.
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Old 10-07-2013, 19:18   #19
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Re: Another reason I like steel boats

Not sure what all the fuss is about. Fiberglass will burn more readily than steel. Keep that in mind. As another poster said, maintain your systems. A fire onboard either sounds like trouble!!
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Old 10-07-2013, 19:41   #20
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Re: Another reason I like steel boats

There are 100s of ways to lose a vessel. Fire being one of the lesser reasons. I say scrap the thought and enjoy the boat, regardless of it's material and enjoy yourself.
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Old 10-07-2013, 19:53   #21
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The thread was another reason.... Op is a good poster so I guess he did not think how that sounds. I jumped him cause it sounded like it did. Narrow in thought.c
Cause of fire was not hull material it was something attached that we all have.. Don't be naive and think you have a solution when you don't. Op is not a troll kind of poster so I am surprised by his enthusiasm over the loss.
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Old 10-07-2013, 21:58   #22
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Re: Another reason I like steel boats

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The thread was another reason.... Op is a good poster so I guess he did not think how that sounds. I jumped him cause it sounded like it did. Narrow in thought.c
Cause of fire was not hull material it was something attached that we all have.. Don't be naive and think you have a solution when you don't. Op is not a troll kind of poster so I am surprised by his enthusiasm over the loss.
Actually my point was pretty simple. This fire occurred on a dock I am very familiar with. It would have been spotted immediately because of the number of people around, the time of day, etc. They have fire hoses on the dock and the fire dept I guess would have come from Friday Harbor, which is quite close. However, once the fire started in the pilot house and because the boat was made of completely combustible material it burned and became uncontrollable. A steel boat interior can burn as easily as any other vessel, however, I suspect that had this vessel been steel it would not be reduced to the waterline and with the equipment at hand could have been controlled. Don't know, but that would be my guess. When a steel boat is lined with foam, it is double troubled if it catches on fire because the foam will burn and when it does it gives off cyanide gas.

So, my point was merely that if you have to endure a fire, a steel hull that is unfoamed has advantages. To say otherwise is to ignore reality, hence the tet a tet at the beginning of the thread.
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Old 10-07-2013, 22:24   #23
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Good on you mate you get it. My neighbor his house burned to the sill. thank god it was his house that burned said I.. Our bungalows never burn . Not sure why my neighbors are not rejoicing that we own houses that did not burn.
I'm all yeah look what happens to an a frame.
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Old 10-07-2013, 23:02   #24
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Re: Another reason I like steel boats

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Actually my point was pretty simple. This fire occurred on a dock I am very familiar with. It would have been spotted immediately because of the number of people around, the time of day, etc. They have fire hoses on the dock and the fire dept I guess would have come from Friday Harbor, which is quite close. However, once the fire started in the pilot house and because the boat was made of completely combustible material it burned and became uncontrollable. A steel boat interior can burn as easily as any other vessel, however, I suspect that had this vessel been steel it would not be reduced to the waterline and with the equipment at hand could have been controlled. Don't know, but that would be my guess. When a steel boat is lined with foam, it is double troubled if it catches on fire because the foam will burn and when it does it gives off cyanide gas.

So, my point was merely that if you have to endure a fire, a steel hull that is unfoamed has advantages. To say otherwise is to ignore reality, hence the tet a tet at the beginning of the thread.


I've actually repaired a lot of fiberglass "burn boats", or boats which have been in a fire. Fiberglass is not as flammable as many think. Fire retardant properties have been designed in for decades now. I have repaired some severe examples, including one large powerboat which had the balsa core burned out of the entire starboard side of the hull, leaving both skins mostly intact. I've posted a few burn boat pics here before. I think you know how common this is, especially around here in the land of old boat houses. I think a total loss like this comes down to the fire getting really invested in interior woodwork and setting off the fuel tanks. I agree that steel is the way to go if you will be setting your boat on fire. Note that "burn testing" is the traditional method for chemical engineers to get a field test from a sample of a given laminate to accurately determine resin ratio. I have done a whole lot of burn testing, which involves (in my case) putting a carefully weighed glass sample in something like a big old Folgers tin and torching it with MAP gas until all of the resin has been burned away and only the glass fibers remain. One then carefully weighs the glass, subtracts this from the weight of the sample, and voila!, resin/fiber ratio is accurately read in the field. I mention this because I am very familiar with what it takes to burn a piece of fiberglass, having done it a lot. I use MAP gas because a regular torch doesn't burn hot enough and takes too long. Ask any experienced chemical engineer.
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Old 10-07-2013, 23:07   #25
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Re: Another reason I like steel boats

Concrete and steel framed buildings have fires. It barely matters what the structure is if it's loaded with furniture, finishes, insulation, equipment and all the rest on the inside - because all of that stuff does burn.

The only difference is whether you have a fiberglass hull burned to the waterline or a gutted steel hull. I suppose the latter is more desirable because it's easier to tow to the scrapyard.....
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Old 10-07-2013, 23:14   #26
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Re: Another reason I like steel boats

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Concrete and steel framed buildings have fires. It barely matters what the structure is if it's loaded with furniture, finishes, insulation, equipment and all the rest on the inside - because all of that stuff does burn.

The only difference is whether you have a fiberglass hull burned to the waterline or a gutted steel hull. I suppose the latter is more desirable because it's easier to tow to the scrapyard.....
Or easier to put the fire out before it consumes the vessel.

We all know that when a boat catches on fire, there is a distinct possibility the boat will be totaled. The ONLY point I was making was that in this situation, at this dock, with this equipment available, with this early warning of a fire, it is possible that this particular boat would have been saved if the hull material was not combustible. Is this really such a controversial suggestion?
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Old 10-07-2013, 23:20   #27
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Poor choice another reason I like steel boats.
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Old 10-07-2013, 23:27   #28
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Re: Another reason I like steel boats

Wouldn't a steel boat be expected to have greater hull integrity from a collision than a glass boat?

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Old 10-07-2013, 23:44   #29
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Re: Another reason I like steel boats

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Wouldn't a steel boat be expected to have greater hull integrity from a collision than a glass boat?




Certainly depends on the boats in question. Some steel boats have very thin plating (European boats), some have "expedition" plating(NZ). Same is true of glass boats. I think a fairer comparison is, what happens after the material in question has been stressed to failure, ie what is its failure mode? For steel, it cracks or punctures. For fiberglass, the resin matrix shatters, but the glass fibers stay intact, presenting a substantial water barrier. I have seen many severely damaged glass boats limp in, quite a few unaware of the true extent of damage. Only cases I've seen the same happen with steel boats is when the damage/holing happened in way of an integral tank, not more than a couple of these in my career. I think steels real area of superiority over glass is abrasion resistance, ie what happens when you park your boat on a reef for awhile. For a single impact event like hitting a rock or the proverbial submerged container, give me a glass boat every time (as long as we're comparing boats of similar strength).
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Old 11-07-2013, 06:47   #30
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Re: Another reason I like steel boats

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I've actually repaired a lot of fiberglass "burn boats", or boats which have been in a fire. Fiberglass is not as flammable as many think. Fire retardant properties have been designed in for decades now. I have repaired some severe examples, including one large powerboat which had the balsa core burned out of the entire starboard side of the hull, leaving both skins mostly intact. I've posted a few burn boat pics here before. I think you know how common this is, especially around here in the land of old boat houses. I think a total loss like this comes down to the fire getting really invested in interior woodwork and setting off the fuel tanks. I agree that steel is the way to go if you will be setting your boat on fire. Note that "burn testing" is the traditional method for chemical engineers to get a field test from a sample of a given laminate to accurately determine resin ratio. I have done a whole lot of burn testing, which involves (in my case) putting a carefully weighed glass sample in something like a big old Folgers tin and torching it with MAP gas until all of the resin has been burned away and only the glass fibers remain. One then carefully weighs the glass, subtracts this from the weight of the sample, and voila!, resin/fiber ratio is accurately read in the field. I mention this because I am very familiar with what it takes to burn a piece of fiberglass, having done it a lot. I use MAP gas because a regular torch doesn't burn hot enough and takes too long. Ask any experienced chemical engineer.
My understandind is that the tanks on this boat are in the stern. As can be seen from the photos this vessel started burning forward and it was a few hours before it reached the fuel. That's what makes this particular fire so curious.
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