Would it be cheaper for the shipping industry to subsidize the cost of metal sailboat hulls to match the price of fiberglass hulls?
I never liked the idea of being in a fiberglass boat out on the ocean. Ideally you want aluminum, but it is expensive.
The life expectancy of a smaller sized steel hulled boat with a length in the 30's is about 20 years in salt water, with an average paint job on the inside. The reason for this is that's about how long the paint on the inside holds up. Since insulation, wooden shelves, and other structures are installed inside the boat blocking access to the inside of the hull, painting the inside is impractical. If I had a steel boat, I would gut the inside until the hull was completely exposed everywhere. I would make shelves out of welded steel and get rid of any insulation. The floor would unbolt and everything would be made to be opened to expose every inch of the hull. Now it's just a matter of going through and spraying paint along all the stringers every few years. Now the boat should last more than 50 years. Welding patches on the outside won't be a problem anymore since I could easily repair the burnt paint on the inside.
The outside is easy to take care of. The electrical cathodic protection of the hull (usually from zincs) prevents rust from forming under water in places where the paint has chipped off. Places above the hull which are exposed can be patched up. Great care must be taken when hauling the boat to ensure the hull is clean and free of barnacles which can ruin the hull if left to sit that way. Steel can be sand blasted and repainted from scratch fairly easily if the equipment is set up. There is no gel coat to worry about.
So, stick with fiberglass and stay near your life raft and near shore, or get an expensive aluminum boat, or get a steel boat that has a high quality paint job on the inside with no spray on insulation, or gut the inside and learn to sail rugged, or get a big steel boat where all the inside objects can be moved around to expose the hull for maintenance.
But they could leave the anchor light on with their solar power. No need to sink it. If it does sink, it will go down fast since it's not filled with inflatable balls or something. Someone will be happy to find it and claim it. But I do think something needs to be done about people who claim abandoned vessels, salvage anything of value, and then let it loose to end up as a wreck on a shore. I have the same problem with scrap collectors who remove part of the thing that has value and then leave the worthless part in your front yard and the trash truck won't take it, nor will anyone else now.
Man,what a crock!
My steel boat is 28 years old,and as good as the day I launched her. Where I have cut steel out, the epoxy and steel under it has always been as good as the day I launched her. Older one's I've built are in just as good a shape. The reason some rust from the inside out is because many
( Foulkes, Fehr, Amazons ) have zero paint on the inside, but bare foam over only primer, or bare steel. Foam is not protection for steel . Three coats of epoxy tar, on wheelabraded and primed steel will give you no serious corrosion in a lifetime.
Most of the critics of steel are those who have never owned a properly built and painted steel boat , but are just passing on bar room rumour from plastic boat salesmen.
My building methods have reduced the building time of a hull and decks to a tenth of that of more traditional methods, reducing the cost of a new hull and deck to well below the cost of building in fibreglass.
If you tried to live aboard your uninsulated steel boat in winter, it would be coated inside with a layer of ice for weeks on end. When you applied any heat, it would rain harder inside than outside, from condensation, and the only warm place would be within 3 feet of the stove. I've seen people try doing it your way, and the above describes the result.
Best get your advice only from those with experience in what you are planning, not from speculators and armchair experts.
I've lived very comfortably aboard my steel boats for 36 years, mostly in BC, year round.