Boats are designed to float on the water, but floating on the water is only part of the dynamics that keep a boat stable and balanced when in the water. Ballast is effectively a weight, and it is typically permanently placed in the bottom of the boat, particularly for large vessels, but it can also be placed in the hull or the keel for smaller types of watercraft.
Boat Ballast Basics
The specific type and amount of ballast used in a boat of any type impacts performance, speed, and even the ability to control the direction of the vessel. A top example of this is the human ballast that is used in racing sailboats, where the crew move from side to side to stabilize the boat and to right it when cornering or maneuvering.
For larger vessels, including sailing boats, lead ballast can be added at the time of construction or to modify the boat’s performance. In these cases, lead forms of different types can be used to add the weight and to keep the keel of the sailboat deeper in the water for improved performance.
Options to Consider
The amount of lead ballast is one of the deciding factors as to the form the lead will take. Custom poured option in ballast are designed to fit into the boat to stay securely in place and to provide the weight where required.
In some types of applications, more removable or flexible options in lead ballast are required. These can be custom shaped to fit the boat, or it can be sheet lead that is installed in the keel area of the boat. Bagged lead shot or lead shot sold in bulk and used in any type of container can also be an option for a weight that is easy to work with and can be added as needed.
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