Aluminum Boat for saltwater use?

Lex Story

Angler, Gastronomist, Artist, Jarhead, Geek
If you want to line the bottom of your boat. You might want to try Line X, that stuff is bulletproof. A friend of mine had the entire floor of his Jeep Line X'ed and it practically sound proofed him to road noise.
Theres a shop in Redmond that does it (surface prep, application, curing, and warranty)
I'm thinking of LineXing the doors on my Xterra below the half line to deflect rock dings when I go on gravel roads.

For a lot of years I fished out of 14 ft. Duroboat with a 15 hp. 2 stroke Evinrude motor. It had a full-V hull and could handle rough water pretty well. I liked the boat but got tired of the lack of floor space because of the cross seats and having to crawl over the center seat.

So a couple years ago I decided get a semi-V hull 14 1/2 ft Stinger Smokercraft boat with some creature conforts such as side console steering, swivel seats, quiet 25 hp. 4 stroke Honda motor, and open floor plan so that you can walk around in most of the boat. I really like the boat but it doesn't handle rough water as well as the Duroboat.

I agree with Mike Croft's philosophy on avoiding windy conditions. However, once in a while you can get caught off guard when the wind starts blowing hard unexpectedly. This Spring my fishing buddy and I were fishing on the back side of a point and came around the corner to encounter 15-20 mph. winds. We had to cross 3/4 mile of open water to get back to the boat ramp so it was a slow boat ride to get back. That is the only time that I have had the Stinger Smokecraft out in rough water and the Duroboat definitely handled those type of condition better.
A Croft question . . .


I use a 12 foot Hi-Laker. I have a 15 horse Yamaha that I can set to run shallow. Just enough in the water for the water pump to keep flowing. I can't go fast but I can go over shoals that are little more than ankle deep. It is still enough engine to get two guys up on a plane.

You are right Richard I am big, every year the boats sets a little lower....hahaha.

Mike Croft
Speaking of lineing the bottom of a boat brings to mind one more feature I don't loke about aluminum boats.

On the outside bottom of an aluminum boat that gets pulled on the beach a lot you can build up sharp micro-gouges. Un like glass which gouges kind of clean the aluminum can be pushed until a little piece of metal sticks out. This can cut your lines. Wood boats can get a splinter and if you get you line inside of the splinter you are in trouble.

I like to stick my entire rod in the water if I have a fish that is darting back and forth under the boat. But I have taken guys out that won't do that. If they had an aluminum boat with some barnacle scars they would loose fish.

Mike Croft
I just bought a 15.5' Sears aluminum boat. I hear everyone saying don't buy riveted, but the price was right! Anyway, I am planning on taking it out on the sound, maybe at Camano for crabbing and a bit of fly fishing close to shore. It has a 15hp Johnson motor. The only thing that concerns me is that it rides a bit low in the back, and I worry about water washing in if it gets choppy. Is this a valid concern? Any tips for someone just getting their "feet wet" with a boat?



Active Member
Not knowing exactly how that boat sits in the water, I think you probably have a fine boat. I have just gone from a very old, very narrow 14'Applebee to a 14'Valco.

A 15.5' boat used with good common sense and you will have great fun. With a person in the bow, or second seat, that boat will probably trim well, er sit good in the water.

Have fun and use good judgement, no prob.
you bet taking water over the stern is something for concern. Every boat in history that ever sank took on water from someplace. You can carry a five gallon bucket if you are by yourself and put sand (remember sand sinks) or water (if it has a lid) in it and set in the bow. I have also used driftwood. A fishing partner will work too, to trim out your boat.

you need to get into the practice of setting a mental alarm that goes off every fifteen minutes (hard to do if the fishing is good but your life can depend on it) You stop and take fifteen secs to evaluate the weather or if you are at Neah Bay the fog bank.

You don't need a lot of seamanship skills inside Puget Sound because you can't get fatally lost nor is there enough reach for the sea to make up like it can off the coast. That is why there are no swell inside Puget sound. That is not to say that it can't get ugly. The most important thing you can do is say it is time to go home. Judge the rate at which the weather is deteriorating and the time to the take out and give yourself a little extra.....then RUN. If you can't make it don't be afraid to pull your boat up on the shore. I have had to do this. No one has said it but you can't do that with a Boston Whaler even though a whaler is better able to handle those conditions. Trust me no place safer than above the high tide line.

You must ask yourself what would you do if you GPS died and the fog set in. Learn to navigate with a chart and your depth sounder.

In 1972 while commercial fishing I got caught in a blow off of Coos Bay Oregon. I was in a molded plywood wooden boat (God Bless wood) and watched the sea go from flat calm to heaving seas over twenty foot tall and breaking to boot. The storm sank 9 boats and killed 11 men. Every boat that sank was over thirty feet in length. If I had not been in a direct down wind line to the mouth of the jetty it might have been twelve guys that died that day. It was so bad I had to tie myself to the steering station. I spent six hour knowing i was going to die. When I finally made it back to safety it took two days before I could sleep. I must have had a gallon of adrenilin pumping through me. If you are out on the water long enough you will get the holy crap scared out of you. It is inevitable. If you survive it , it will be the best thing ever for your seamanship abilities because you will never ever want a repeat.
"You don't need a lot of seamanship skills inside Puget Sound because you can't get fatally lost nor is there enough reach for the sea to make up like it can off the coast. That is why there are no swell inside Puget sound. That is not to say that it can't get ugly". It not only can get 'ugly', it can and has gotten very deadly. What can be a pleasant day fishing on the outgoing tide, with a SW 10-15mph can get nasty in a hurry when the tide starts to flood. 3-6ft. standing waves come up in a heartbeat and you best know how to quarter waves properly. We lost a 50ft. Purse Seiner in the middle of the night in the early 80's making the run from the locks to Apple Tree. All hands lost, one mayday only, blowing 25-30. Know your boat and your abilities as well as your limitations. When in doubt, run for cover, even if that isn't where you launched!


Active Member
I'll be darn, but there seem to be quite a few old ex-commercial guys on this site.

Worst enemy to the man on the water in Puget Sound, IMHO, is wind against the tide or wind against the current.

It is something all of us who frequent the smaller boat need to be aware of also. The run home can be relatively small in distance but if the tide turns and the wind is against the current it can be way more than our little boats or even bigger boats can handle.

Mike is right. Put it on the beach if you can, just don't panic. Look for a lee behind an obstruction or Island, have a good anchor and use it, many options to thinking you have to get home on time. I lost four good friends an hour out of Bellingham and to this day I think part of the reason was they all thought they needed to get one of the guys to his day job.

Stay on anchor or as Mike says put it on the beach. Seamanship is mostly good decision making.

The best place to see the worst wind against the tide phenomenon is the mouth of the Columbia. If you want to test your mettle (and your luck) fish bouy ten. There you have current going east and wind and tide going west. It will define ugly for you.

It has fish like the Hoodsport hastchery on Novemeber 1, they are everywhere but I still rate it one of the ten worst fishing spots in the Northwest. Fish there and watch a real live Coast Guard rescue every day.

Mike Croft

Richard E

Active Member
Mike, just for clarification for me, but isn't the current going west (the Columbia, which flows west), and the wind and the tide coming in from the ocean (the ocean on the west side of the state, but as the tide comes in, it floods in to the Columbia) . . . ?

Amn I bass-ackwards on this, or . . . ?

Hey, by the way, I don't get to this site that often, yet I don't recall you chiming in on a topic like you're doing on this, and I know I'm not the only person who is appreciative of you sharing your substantial insight and perspective.
You are absolutly right it is my mental dyslexia at work. Once the tide turns the east moving tide powered by the wind runs into the west flowing river. when the tide and the river both go east the bar is pretty nice. In fifteen minutes it can turn and build into real ugly water. Off shore there is another current that is quite strong flowing south about three knots. We used to call it the hill. If you fish south then you have to climb the hill to get home.

The best thing about Commercial fishing. Actually the only good thing about commercial fishing was the ability to fish as many rigs as you could put over the side. Hootches come in all the colors that our flies do. I could compare colors at differnt times of the day and under differnt lighting and at differnt depths. There are times and colors for kings and silvers and they vary from overcast days to the time of day.

I am now avidly opposed to the commercial fishing industry. There is no fishery that they have touched since they started fishing with powered craft that they haven't pushed to the brink.

I committed great sins as a commercial fisherman and I am sure I will have a special place in hell that sportsfishermen never go.
I guess I am stuck on this topic. One of the signs that you don't need much in the way of seamanship skills here in the sound can be seen in the boats that they build here. When I first moved here I was shocked at how many really small boats had flying bridges. This is the land of top heavy boats.

Without naming any specific boats a lot of these would go turtle in real seas.

Two of the companies that made good looking boats were Tiderunner and Sea Dory. I am not sure about the newer ones but the older ones had a flat bottom. in rough seas you'd swear someone was behind cutting out your kidneys.