top of page

What is  HDPE? 

yellow 500r Whaly wilh drop down bow

Benefits of HDPE

  • affordable

  • lighter than water, and is extremely buoyant, even when submerged

  • strong and durable

  • noncorrosive - no oxidation, not affected by salt or time in the water.

  • puncture-proof, indestructible, tough, and flexible (which is why it won't crack if hit with a mallet) which makes it a great material for boats encountering sharp rocks, etc.

  • resistant to marine growth such as algae, seaweed

  • chemical resistant

  • UV resistant

  • SUSTAINABLE - Whaly HDPE boats are 100% recyclable and has a lower carbon footprint than most boats. 

For history buffs

Polyethylene is one of the most commonly used plastics on the market today. It was first discovered early 20th century by the British company Imperial Chemical Industries. The production process required extreme pressure and produced a branched, low-density polymer known as Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) a flexible, transparent, low-density plastic used for bubble wrap, grocery bags, cling wrap, water bottles, etc. However, it wasn't load-bearing and would collapse under pressure.


Shortly after LDPE discovery, World War II was ending, and the need for oil diminished, giving chemists at Phillips Petroleum Company in Oklahoma, time to explore new versions of polyethylene hoping to create more product options. Scientists whipped up new concoctions, most leading to a dead end, but when the chemists mixed nickel oxide with small amounts of chromium oxide, the magic ingredient, the beginnings of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) emerged. It was a discovery that changed the world and ultimately led to the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1963. HDPE is stronger, harder, and stiffer and is known for its strength ratio and is the most durable plastic on the market. The enhanced strength and rigidity of the material is used worldwide to create products like kayaks, car bumpers, 5-gallon pails, outdoor water tanks, 55-gallon drums, and yes, Whaly boats! HPDE has five times the impact resistance of fiberglass and rather than a layered material like fiberglass, the color is solid throughout the boat allowing for easy repair of scratches and scrapes using sandpaper, a heat welder or heat gun. HDPE is inert and will not chemically react to seawater, therefore will never blister, peel or fade. It is inherently flexible, absorbs vibrations and shocks, and is naturally buoyant and floats, unlike fiberglass or aluminum.

bottom of page