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Old 22-10-2021, 07:40   #1
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Fiberglass Lifespan

Interested in buying an older boat ~50 year old. I've done some research and found conflicting opinions (of course). I know the correct answer is 'it depends', but for a boat that was well maintained, is there a point where fiberglass inherently starts to disintegrate from just being exposed to a marine environment?

Also, has anyone done an additional hull survey when looking at potential boats? Or is that part of the standard survey?

I appreciate any wisdom shared here.
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Old 22-10-2021, 08:22   #2
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Re: Fiberglass Lifespan

I think the answer is no, sort of. The problems old fiberglass boats have is usually core related or osmosis. It's probably that a 50 year old boat won't have core issues, because many of the fiberglass boats of that era have way overbuilt solid laminate hulls with no core material. Osmosis should be able to be detected by a surveyor. It should be a standard part of a purchase survey, where they haul the boat and the surveyor inspects everything under the waterline.
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Old 22-10-2021, 08:49   #3
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Re: Fiberglass Lifespan

Thanks Muaddib1116,

Yes, this is a solid laminate hull, which is part of the attraction. Seems like this boat has been well maintained, just didn't want to buy into something that would start turning to dust at some point in the near future.

I'll look out for osmosis. Um, what does that look like?
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Old 22-10-2021, 17:54   #4
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Re: Fiberglass Lifespan

Part of the problem with the boat industry is that the older boats are still around, diluting the market. It used to be that wooden boats developed leaks and rot, then fell apart after 20 years. You then needed a new boat. Now the boats last longer than their owners, and fewer and fewer new boats are sold each year. Look up boat component parts like fiberglass cloth and polyester resin on an "eco-scale" to see how long it might take for them to break down. Likely in the 100 or more years range - and that's in a landfill with NO care or maintenance of the materials.
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Old 22-10-2021, 18:51   #5
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Re: Fiberglass Lifespan

Quote:
Originally Posted by pushstudios View Post
Thanks Muaddib1116,

Yes, this is a solid laminate hull, which is part of the attraction. Seems like this boat has been well maintained, just didn't want to buy into something that would start turning to dust at some point in the near future.

I'll look out for osmosis. Um, what does that look like?
A few things that may help ...

Osmosis testing in boats

Marine Survey 101, pre-survey inspection

Moisture Meter Mythology and Flir thermal imager
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