Taking a “tinny” out on the lake is a fun way to spend an afternoon. Whether you’re going fishing or just out for a cruise, the aluminum fishing boat is an affordable, low-maintenance vessel suitable for both beginners and seasoned boaters.
The aluminum boat, also known as a “tin” boat, offers boaters versatility for recreational use and sports. The tin boat glides smoothly, riding on the water with excellent control. The lightweight aluminum design of the boat makes it a fast-mover, even with a lower-powered motor.
Aluminum boats are between six to 24-feet in length and are available for several leading boat manufacturers. Is an aluminum fishing boat the right choice for your vessel? Let’s unpack the details of purchasing a tinny and what you can expect from its performance.
- What are the Best Activities for Aluminum Boats?
- How Much Does an Aluminum Boat Cost?
- Aluminum Boats Retain Their Value
- Tips for Buying Aluminum Boats
- Aluminum or Fiberglass Boats?
- Easy to Maintain and Repair
- Maintaining Aluminum Boats
- Types of Aluminum Boats
- Aluminum Jon Boats for Shallow Waters Inland
- Aluminum Deep-V Boats for Marshes and Coastal Regions
- Best Aluminum Boat Brands
- Wrapping Up
What are the Best Activities for Aluminum Boats?
If the wind is low and the lake surface looks like sheet glass, you have the perfect conditions to take your tin boat out onto the water.
Aluminum boats are suitable for inshore use, as the construction of these vessels might not have the design to battle through big surf. However, if you live near a calm ocean, such as in Florida or the keys, it’s a great choice for an ocean-going vessel for inshore fishing.
However, they are suitable for fishing and watersports in saltwater estuaries, and some crazy fishermen will attempt to launch them from the beach. Typically, these anglers have decades of experience in running these boats.
The tinny is the ideal beginner boat if you’re just getting into the sport. If this is your first boat, we recommend sticking on the smaller end of the scale, with a model between six to ten feet in length. This length gives you the best handling and maneuverability on the water.
Aluminum boats typically have low sidewalls, getting the passengers closer to the water for an immersive nature experience when out on the lake. If you’re looking for a recreational sports boat, the tin isn’t the best option, but it works.
Attaching a higher-power motor to the boat gives you enough power for skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing. The aluminum fishing boat is a popular choice for saltwater and freshwater anglers chasing fish in shallow waters, such as trout, bass, catfish, panfish, and others. The lightweight design and shallow draft make them one of the best choices for shallow-water fishing.
The aluminum boat comes with plenty of onboard storage, and there are choices for bare models or fully-equipped boats with live wells, rod racks, and casting decks. Overall, the boat is a solid all-around performer, and it’s an affordable starter boat.
Aluminum boats are available in a variety of driving designs, from rear tillers to center consoles. It’s important to consider the boat’s seating arrangement and general layout, along with the right power option to suit your boating needs.
How Much Does an Aluminum Boat Cost?
The cost of an aluminum fishing boat depends on a few factors. Obviously, a used boat is going to cost you more, but you’re getting a brand new piece of equipment with no hidden surprises that might sink you when you’re out on the water.
The primary factors determining the price of the aluminum fishing boat are its length, the motor capacity, the brand, and the types of accessories or fittings to the boat. Typically, you’ll spend anywhere from $20,000 to $26,000, depending on the size and finishes.
A new 24-foot tin boat from a premium brand with a modern outboard motor, you could cost you anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000. The top models with all the accessories could run you up to $110,000 or more, depending on the accessories.
Aluminum Boats Retain Their Value
It’s effortless to trailer an aluminum boat, thanks to its lightweight design. Move it from harbors to bays, lakes, and estuaries with ease, without causing much wear and tear on your vehicle.
The aluminum boat features a corrosion-resistant material that’s ideal for both salt and freshwater fishing or recreation. Tin boats have the longest lifespan of any boat design, and they can last up to 40-years with the right care and maintenance.
Due to their popularity as an entry-level boat, most aluminum models manage to retain their value on the resale market, making them a great choice for beginners that want to get their feet wet in the world of boating.
Tips for Buying Aluminum Boats
Consider the following tips when settling on the right aluminum boat for your fishing or recreational needs.
How many people do you intend on taking out in the boat? Typically, most aluminum boats come with a three to six-seater configuration, with eight passengers being the maximum capacity for the largest aluminum boats.
The larger boats are suitable for fishing tournaments and inshore saltwater fishing, while smaller boats are ideal for recreational use. The aluminum boat experiences the most amount of depreciation after the first year of sale. After that, it tends to hold its value, making a used boat a viable choice for anglers or boaters on a budget.
If you’re thinking about purchasing a used model, we recommend you look out for hidden scratches, chips, and cracks in the vessel – This is an indicator of structural damage to the boat. Check the cables on the steering system for signs of wear and tear.
Aluminum or Fiberglass Boats?
If you’re struggling to choose between a fiberglass and an aluminum model, keep the following in mind. Thanks to its lightweight construction, the aluminum model is the best choice if you’re frequently loading and unloading your boat for weekend trips.
However, if you’re thinking about using the boat in the ocean, the fiberglass model is the better choice. In contrast, aluminum boats are good for ocean use; the lower sidewalls mean they struggle in rougher conditions.
Easy to Maintain and Repair
Aluminum fishing boats are sturdy, durable, and easy to repair. If you accidentally dent the hull or sides, you can usually pound it back into shape without incurring any real damage to the vessel.
Severe damage to the boat is also somewhat easier to repair than fiberglass models. Owners can cut out the affected section and reweld a new piece back to the boat or secure it with rivets.
Typically, you’ll pay a fraction of the cost to repair an aluminum boat compared to a fiberglass model.
Maintaining Aluminum Boats
Aluminum is rust-resistant and corrosion-resistant. However, if you’re using it in saltwater, it’s critical to spray down the boat with fresh water as soon as possible after removing it from the water.
While aluminum has excellent corrosion-resistant properties, saltwater will take a toll on it if you don’t complete the necessary maintenance.
Ensure that you keep the boat dry and clean in storage to extend its service life. We recommend lifting the floor and inspecting the hull for damage every three to six months, depending on your fishing conditions.
Types of Aluminum Boats
There are three types of aluminum fishing boats available, the Mod-V (Modified-Vee), Deep-V, and Jon boat.
This design is ideal for calmer waters like lakes and estuaries. The hull features a combo of flat aft and deeper forward sections in the boat.
These boats carve through the surface with ease, and they offer excellent handling in any driver configuration. The mod-V might not have the stability of the deep-V hull, but it’s a good choice for shallower waters.
This model features a deeper V in the hull, with a pronounced increase in deadrise. These boats are better for ocean-going use, as the hull might run aground in shallow waters.
However, out on the ocean, the hull design cuts through the water, preventing the slapping effect caused by v-designs or Jon boats that have flatter hull designs.
These flat-bottomed boats are the ideal model for fishing in shallow waters. Typically, they come in lengths of ten to 16-feet, and the hull has next to no deadrise or just a few degrees.
The flatter bottom offers you better performance with speed and turning, skimming across the surface of calm waters allowing for maximum speed and stability with the boat.
Aluminum Jon Boats for Shallow Waters Inland
The Jon boat is the ideal choice for fishing in shallow waters. The lightweight design and easy handling of the craft make it suitable for a variety of tasks, from hauling lumber to fishing or hunting. The flat hull lets the boat sit on top of the water, allowing for faster speeds and easier turning.
Many specialized anglers prefer a Jon boat thanks to its ability to access very shallow water where the angler may be fishing for catfish or bass. Jon boats let anglers get into tighter spots in estuaries and lakes where V-hull boats might run aground.
The aluminum design makes it easy to pound the hull back into shape if you hit a submerged rock or tree.
Aluminum Deep-V Boats for Marshes and Coastal Regions
The Mod-V or deep-V hull is the better choice for anglers fishing inshore around coastal areas. The hull’s shape can maintain in small to mid-sized chop, with the hull cutting through rougher water, allowing anglers to reach sandbars, coastal marshes, and barrier beaches.
If you’re planning ocean-going fishing trips to these types of locations, aluminum boats with V-shaped hulls are a good choice due to their ocean-going capabilities. They are also easy to launch from the beach, with the lightweight construction allowing for easy movement of the boat and fast unloading and loading from the trailer.
Best Aluminum Boat Brands
There are several brands selling aluminum boats in all designs. When selecting your boat, it’s prudent to do extensive research on the model types suited to your application.
It’s also important to note that some brands are more expensive than others. So, make sure you define your budget before you start boat shopping; it’s easy to get carried away with all the accessories and overspend on your budget, giving you buyers remorse that ruins your fishing trip.
Here are our top choices for the best aluminum boat brands for your first fishing vessel.
Lund is the most established brand in aluminum boats. This company has over 70-years’ experience in building some of the finest watercraft available, and it has a full range of aluminum models to suit any fishing application.
Lund is a popular brand with freshwater and saltwater anglers, and you can expect to pay a premium price for any Lund boat.
However, the superior design, construction, and quality of Lund boats are outstanding, and they are well worth the money if you have the budget available. Lund boats give you a lifetime warranty on the hull and the plywood materials.
Tracker is another leading brand in aluminum fishing boats. While they might not have the same prestige as Lund, they build magnificent, high-performance aluminum fishing boats.
The boats come in a variety of sizes and hull designs to suit your fishing requirements, and they have some of the best accessory options available on the market.
With a Tracker boat, you get a more affordable price tag than Lund, but it’s still an expensive brand. However, like Lund, you get a high-quality design and construction with premium materials.
G3 Boats has its headquarters in Lebanon, Missouri. G3 offers you an excellent range of aluminum fishing boats in a variety of configurations, sizes, and endless customization options.
The G3 Gator series is an excellent choice for a fantastic all-around model. The designs are attractive and sporty, offering you a high-performance vessel for both saltwater and freshwater use.
Aluminum fishing boats are sturdy, affordable models available with customizations to suit your angling needs. Please choose the right hull design, brand, and accessories for your boat, and remember to maintain it regularly.
With the right maintenance and care, your boat will last a lifetime.