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What Is The Lifespan Of A Boat

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  • Boat lifespan, Maintenance and care, Boat types, Boat materials, Boat engines
  • Posted date:
  • 26-06-2023
What Is The Lifespan Of A Boat

This question asks: what is the lifespan of a boat? Discover the factors influencing the lifespan of boats. Learn about boat construction, maintenance, and usage patterns that impact how long a boat can last. 

Cetec Marine Ltd is a trusted marine surveyor working throughout Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire and Greater London. Get insights into preserving boat value and extending its longevity. Make informed decisions about boat ownership with expert guidance on maximizing your vessel's lifespan.

How Long Do Boats Last?

Boating is a great deal more challenging in real life than it may be in video games or as something to purely observe. With plenty of research, you can look at the lifespan of a variety of boats available. You can see how long they can withstand damage before they become completely non-functioning. 

If you're on the market to find the perfect boat or vessel that lasts a long time, then researching the lifespan will help. You'll be able to make decisions best suited to your needs.

There are many factors that impact the lifespan and expectancy of your boat or any vessel you wish to purchase. The expected life of any available watercraft and engine is typically measured in years. 

Some of the most defining characteristics that impact durability are its design, specific materials, usage levels, and location. The materials and overall design contribute to the estimation of a vessel's lifespan. 

However, another more significant factor that will help enhance it is frequent care and maintenance. 

Neglected boats are lucky to last even five years or so, as all their essential mechanical components need to be checked on and repaired. You'll find that vessels that are frequently utilised but rarely serviced or maintained can struggle to last a whole year.

Much like a car, or any other asset, your boat needs to receive a thorough service annually, or after the first 100 hours of usage. When in possession of a vessel, new or old, you need to ensure all facets are assessed routinely.

Boat Types and Expected Lifespan

It is guaranteed that various boat types will have varying lifespans that are a consequence of their unique features. 

Many factors have a dramatic impact on the longevity of your vessel, for example, the materials used to make them, how they are utilised and how often. Different materials have their disadvantages and struggles that affect how they are maintained. Some materials are much easier to take care of, and others are more difficult.

Another aspect that plays a significant role in the lifespan is the design. However, it can be challenging to correlate this to an accurate estimate. For now, we can do our best to categorise these boats using their materials. With the assumption that the vessels are well-maintained, you can make maximum-year estimates.

1. Aluminium

Aluminium - What Is The Lifespan Of A Boat?

Many may wonder how long aluminium boats can last, and the answer is approximately 15-30 years on average. However, if they are properly maintained, you'll find that they may last around 50 years or so. 

One of the most significant challenges you can encounter with your watercraft is corrosion. When used in saltwater, it is paramount that you make maintenance a priority. Numerous boats are made using aluminium, such as Pontoon boats or Jon boats.

2. Fibreglass

Fibreglass is a fantastic material that is utilised across a broad range of vessels, especially sailboats. 

It is primarily sought after for its immense durability. Watercrafts made of fibreglass are known for their expected lifespan of 10-25 years, yet with excellent, routine maintenance you can achieve approximately 50 years. On the other hand, fibreglass, like many commonly used materials, has its disadvantages. 

They are subject to plenty of UV damage, which is why they have a gel coat that is vastly important for their lifespan. 

The gel coat and the maintenance of fibreglass often take a great deal of effort and time to complete. The best way to tackle this process is to use products that can successfully wax and clean your boat all at once. Doing so can make maintenance much faster, without compromising on thoroughness and quality.

3. Steel

Steel is a much more robust material for vehicle structures, as it is typically used for the creation of buildings. They are known to last for around 40-75 years; however, as time goes by they can grow challenging to work with. Steel boats are often limited in use, especially where larger vessels are concerned. For example, container ships, as the weight and the stature can make your boat slower. 

Compared to fibreglass and aluminium, steel watercraft are immensely heavy, so they can be difficult to navigate and control. If you're searching for the best material for a larger boat and longevity, then steel is the best option.

4. Wood

Wood - What Is The Lifespan Of A Boat?

Wooden boats aren't known for having an extensive lifespan when it comes to vessels, vehicles, and various other structures. 

Wood vessels are expected to last a lifespan of around 10-25 years, which is an incredible improvement from wooden boats of the past. Many years ago, the life expectancy of wood vessels was relatively low. 

One of the most significant advantages of wooden boats is that they can be repaired much easier than other materials. 

The material is much more accessible. Wood is a highly common and popular material, especially for those searching to DIY build their own watercraft. Whilst it isn't as durable as other materials if you decide to invest in or build your own boat, you can easily repair or rebuild it, should it face any small or significant damages.

How To Make Your Boat Last?

There are many things you can do to ensure your boat and its engine last as long as possible. These factors include the following:

You must ensure your boat is serviced annually or every 100 hours or so, whichever you see fit.

Whenever you can, you must keep your boat or vessel away from the water where possible. We recommend that you invest in a high-quality hoist or keep it attached to your trailer. Depending on the structure or type of boat you possess, it may be ideal to keep it out of salty water to prevent wear and tear.

When your sacrificial anodes wear out, you must replace them as soon as possible.

It's best to check the hull and search for any cracks or damages, do so on a routine basis.

On a routine basis, check the engine and the transform for visible faults or damages. 

Purchase a boat cover and try to keep your boat out of the sun when you're not utilising it for sailing for maintenance.

Whilst it sounds ironic, two of the worst things for your boat are sun and water. The best way to keep your boat up to standards and ready to sail is to keep it away from the water and direct sunlight whenever possible.

What Is The Lifespan Of A Boat? Marine Surveyor Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire and Greater London

How Long Do Boat Engines Last?

With a gasoline boat engine, you can achieve around 1,000 - 2,000 hours. Jet boats and jet-ski engines can even reach such mileage and hours. The typical average amount of hours boat owners put into their vessels is around 50 hours. 

So, with that being said, you'll get around 20-30 years or so out of your engine before your boat requires any significant overhaul. You're more likely to achieve a longer lifespan if you keep up with regular maintenance, as that way, you can address any smaller faults immediately.

How Are Boat Hours Calculated?

Depending on your boat's age, you can estimate or count the hours spent on your vessel. When the key is at the 'On' position, or when your engine is running, it will typically display the amount of hours.

More modern boats tend to count the hours, but only when their engine is active. Whereas much older boats often have an hour meter that counts when the boat has power, as opposed to when the engine is running. 

Suppose the boat you own or intend to buy was manufactured older than the year 2000, in that case, it will likely have a computer. The computer inside can be hooked up to other systems that enable you to accurately read the number of hours used. 

There are numerous other factors that these computers log to help boat owners determine how often the engine has been utilised.

A significant tip we recommend is that you should also log in whenever you get gas, as this is much better than an hour meter. You can get yourself a good amount of gas with an accurate date, and this information will be far more valuable than what is displayed on the hour meter. 

A captain's logbook is ideal for keeping inside your boat, as this will be helpful when you get your boat filled up and get it serviced. It will also be better if you intend to sell the boat in the future.

If you are looking for pre purchase yacht or marine surveys in Surrey and the surrounding areas contact our professional boat surveyor today. 

We work throughout Surrey and the surrounding areas including Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire and Greater London. 

We can also travel throughout the UK if required.

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