Fiberglass is a generic term for any material made from the resins of microfibers. It is constructed from many different types of materials, including but not limited to glass, polyethylene, polystyrene (SP) and other synthetic plastics. There is an active role in building and construction of ships and bridges that rely on the use of fiberglass materials. Many people are under the misconception that SP is the same as fiberglass, and it is called SP because of the physical properties it possesses. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Unlike fiberglass, SP does not have some of the desirable physical properties. SP is lightweight and strong and is used for roofing applications. In many ways, SP is almost like fiberglass. The main difference is that the honeycomb design of SP allows water vapors to form much easier, which is used to reduce corrosion. Additionally, SP is available in a variety of thicknesses and is commonly coated with an anti-corrosion material. Thus, SP is less susceptible to damage caused by weather and other forces.
Unfortunately, the SP doesn't have the neat seam detailing of fiberglass. When the seams between the pieces of fiberglass become loose, the result is a weak point in the hull that can easily break and leaks. This can cause significant problems while the boat is in use, especially if it is moored in saltwater. If this happens, it can present a hazard to anyone standing on the water, as well as to anybody walking along the shore.
Fiberglass can be reinforced by applying pressure to it using steel pipes or metal sheets. As long as the pressure isn't too strong, this works quite well in reducing the damage that can occur if the hull is weakened. Unfortunately, the SP doesn't have the nice seam details that fiberglass has, so all it really has been a few small holes where the fiberglass ends and the stainless steel starts. In addition, SP is used primarily for flotation purposes, not as a means of providing structural strength. Thus, since SP is generally more expensive than fiberglass boat construction, many companies will skimp and purchase it in smaller quantities in order to cut down on costs.
Many people choose to build their fiberglass boats from scratch. This is particularly true of those who want to design their own boats because the process can be extremely complicated. There are many plans available online, and many of them can be downloaded for free. However, most people do end up having to hire at least one professional to help them complete the job. The resulting finished product typically has significantly less sophistication than what can be accomplished with off the shelf plans.
Many people also like to customize their boats in some way. Many fiberglass boat brands offer a wide range of accessories and parts that allow users to create unique styles that reflect their individual personality. For example, fiberglass boat brands such as Radymiller offer a large variety of accessories that allow you to decorate your boat in any way that you desire.