Impact Resistance—Part 1: How Hull Materials Respond to Impacts

Chapter 16 of 22 in the Online Book How To Buy an Offshore Voyaging Boat

yacht crash on the rocks

I have a confession to make: I’ve run boats aground on several occasions. Granted, it’s always been at dead-idle speed when poking up shallow rivers. And the damage, thankfully, has so far been limited to a few nicked propeller blades and shredded rubber hubs. But, despite all precautions, it happens. If we were to rank groundings and collisions on the scale of skippers’ worst fears, I suspect they’d fall somewhere between an engine room fire and the pirates’ scene from Captain Ron.

Hitting something in a well-built boat is usually survivable, but is still a scary and potentially life-threatening situation. Today, we will take a look at how some common hull materials respond to impacts.

In Part 2, which will be published in a few days, we will consider two common collision scenarios and take a look at exactly what happens to a boat when you crash her into an immovable object. We’ll also identify some design features that can help to mitigate the damage and keep your crew safe in the immediate aftermath of the accident.


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