Is wood free, all composite construction better than the conventional wood cored boats?

Every boat from Key West Boats is entirely free of wood in every aspect, therefore it is obvious we feel that it is the best approach. But a better question may be why?

Wood can rot. We all know that, and anyone who has even limited exposure to old wood cored boats has experienced some level of wood rot. Rot can render an otherwise nice boat worthless since the structural members it is used in are such an integral, important, and hard to replace component of a boat. To be fair to wood though it should be acknowledged that it is a strong and resilient substance that can take a lot of abuse, before it rots. But isn't it OK if it is fully encapsulated in fiberglass?

Full encapsulation sounds like a workable solution to wood rot, but the truth of the matter is that fiberglass lamination is still somewhat porous, no matter how well done. Water eventually migrates into even the best protected wood and the rot process starts. At this point the full encapsulation may even be detrimental by trapping the water in the wood and preventing it from drying out to stop the rot process. Therefore at Key West Boats we have chosen to use the more modern composites for coring.

Are all composite cored boats better than wood cored boats?

While composite coring is potentially better than wood coring through the elimination of wood rot, the transition by a builder from wood coring to composite coring is not as simple as it may seem. Composites come in many different forms and strengths adjusted over the years for each application. For instance, the composite core of a transom is exposed to far different stresses than the core for the sidewall of a boat, or the floor, and even the deck. Therefore at Key West Boats we use a product that has been specifically engineered over the years to meet a very narrow application. It would be simpler and less expensive to cut some corners here, but the life of your boat and your family is worth the effort we make.

Beyond the very specific composite used for an application is the method of installation, or more specifically, the fiberglass materials used to install it. At Key West Boats we have many years of experience with these products and have learned that they require high tech directional fiberglass carefully installed to provide the strength needed. A good example of this would be the floor of a boat. At any point in the cockpit a heavy passenger may be standing while riding through rough water. This concentrates an extreme amount of pressure in a concentrated area. Therefore the reinforcement on the very bottom of the floor, under the composite coring, must be able to withstand the pounding, for wave after wave, and year after year. To see how we're doing check out an older Key West Boat and look for cracks in this and other high stress areas.

What year model did Key West Boats introduce all composite, wood freee construction?

With our introduction of the seventeen twenty in 1992, we used all composite construction for the first time. We were an innovator of this now proven technology, but it was limited to that model at the time. Over the next couple of years we were so happy with the success and improved quality, that we blended it into the other models. All Key West Boats built from 1995 and after, with the exception of the 2000WA, are completely wood free. This is important, not only from a peace of mind perspective, but it also shows that we are not "still learning" how it should be done.  We have a very long and successful history of wood free construction.

What size fuel tank does my older Key West Boat have?

Almost without exception, if your model is still in production you can check the current spec sheet on that model and find your tank's capacity. One exception is in the 186 series where they were introduced in '04 with a sixty gallon tank which was replaced with a forty gallon tank in '06. Because of more efficient hull construction combined with fuel miserly engines, we found it simply did not need that much fuel.

1720CC boats built in 2017 will have a 40 gallon tank. Why more fuel than the older 1720CC? Because it fits is the biggest reason, and it only costs a few dollars more than the 30. 

All of the 1720CC's built in 2017 with the new hull and deck will have a 40 gallon tank. 

The out of production 1700CC carried a 17 gallon tank under the console, and the 1700DC had a 20 gallon tank under the floor.

Any of the 2020 series, CC, DC, or WA have a 60 gallon fuel tank. 

Any of the 2220 or 225 series will have a 100 gallon fuel tank. 

Any of the 2300 series will have a 140 gallon fuel tank. 

Early production skiffs in the 177SK and 197SK came std with a 20 gallon tank. A 30 gallon tank was an optional upgrade. 

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Glossary of Terms

To force air and oxygen into livewells to keep fish of bait alive. Also, to force air under the running surface of a hull.
aerator pump
A term usually used improperly. Literally it refers to a pump used  to insert air into water thereby oxegenating the water for the purpose of keeping bait or fish alive. It is commonly used to refer to the pump used to inject water into a live well, which should be referred to as a live well pump.