Members' Online Book: How To Buy a Cruising Boat, Chapter 20 of 27

Impact Resistance—How Hull Materials Respond to Impacts

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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Meet the Author


Matt, Engineering Correspondent, is a Professional Engineer and true renaissance man, with a wide range of expertise including photography and all things boat design. He has a unique ability to make complex subjects easy to understand and he keeps an eye on the rest of us to make sure that we don’t make any technical mistakes. Working as M. B. Marsh Marine Design, Matt designs innovative powerboats of all shapes and sizes.

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