Until the late 1940s and 1950s, most boats were made from wood. It was shapeable, strong, and easy to acquire. But it had one major problem: it was heavy. A secondary downside was that wood is susceptible to rot.
In the late ’40s and early ’50s, boatbuilders started producing boats from female molds built up with layers of fiberglass cloth soaked with catalyzed polyester resin. The rest, so to say, is history. Today most production boats are built using these materials. Others are often made of metal, composites or are cold molded.
This video shows a presentation about how fiberglass and resin can be used to build lightweight and durable boats:
While fiberglass is excellent for boat building, it’s not a great material for the environment. The question of how to dispose of old, damaged or unwanted fiberglass vessels is a challenge. You can read about solutions to the problem in Soundings’ March 2016 issue.