Boat and Ship Hulls

Economic and Operational Benefits

boat hullCopper-nickel boat hull.

Experience with copper-nickel boat hulls has been well recorded. The unique combination of high resistance to corrosion and reduced macrofouling potentially leads to a lack of maintenance which can provide the following economic and operational benefits:

    • Frictional drag on boat hulls is greatly reduced with copper-nickel versus hull materials that corrode and macrofoul.
    • Reduced drag on copper-nickel boat hulls translates to faster boat speeds, less need for power and greater fuel conservation to maintain operating speeds compared to hulls that corrode or macrofoul.
    • Reduced corrosion and macrofouling with copper-nickel results in much lower fuel costs, lower maintenance costs and less boat downtime than hull materials that corrode or macrofoul.

Hulls not made with copper-nickel must be maintained with corrosion-resistant and antifouling paints. Copper-nickel eliminates the need to paint boat hulls, although an occasional pressure wash may be required to keep the hull clean around the water line when moored for long periods.


Three different types of copper-nickel hulls have been fabricated: solid copper-nickel, copper-nickel clad steel and adhesive backed foil. They were constructed as copper-nickel alloy plate welded onto steel or copper-nickel frames, copper-nickel roll bonded onto steel plate and then connected to a steel frame, and cladding a fiberglass, wood or steel hull with adhesive-backed copper-nickel foil.

Evaluation Test Program

A 5-year evaluation test program of 90-10 Cu-Ni sheathing was conducted on ferries and test panels in New Zealand. The effects of seawater temperature, access to sunlight, seawater velocity, and avoidance of galvanic action was evaluated. Adhesive-backed copper-nickel foil sheathing was found to be suitable for both new and retrofit installations. Results of the test program are provided.

Experience with Specific Ships

Discussions about copper-nickel hulls on specific boats and ships and on The Asperida sailboat (after 30+ years of service) are available.


  1. Aspects Of Biofouling And Corrosion On Ship Hulls Clad With Copper-Nickel, L.Boulton, C.A. Powell, WB Hudson, , Corrosion and Prevention-99, Sydney, .
  2. Asperida-Smooth Sailing, Nickel Magazine, Vol. 20, 2, pp 16, , .
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  9. Copper-Nickel Boat Hulls: Performance and Corrosion, Carol Powell, Consultant to the Copper Development Association, , .
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  12. Hull Experiments on 24-Knot RO/RO Vessels Directed Toward Fuel-Saving Applications of Copper-Nickel, Schorsch, E., R. T. BIicicchi, and Fu, J. W., , Annual Meeting, Society of Naval Architects and Marine Enginners, .
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  14. Review of Copper-Nickel Alloy Sheathing of Ship Hulls and Offshore Structures, Peters, Dale T., , Copper Development Association Seminar Technical Report 7044-1919. The Application of Copper Nickel Alloys in Marine Systems .
  15. The Asperida, A Copper-Nickel Sailboat After More than Thirty Years in Seawater, Harold T. Michels and Kenneth P. Geremia, Paper Number 05238, , Corrosion/2005 Annual Conference and Exhibition, Houston, Texas, NACE, .
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