Budget Boats & Free Shipping

Budget boats and free shipping, you see it all over the place online, but what does it really mean?

Like many of us I spend quite a bit of time online, be it work, recreation, or education, I’m on the web more today than ever before. I’ll never forget when I first went online back in the early 90’s with my special forces house mates. I didn’t see the point of it then but I glimpsed what was being done with mapping and the relevance to what would later be unfolding in the Middle East.

Fast forward a decade and my online experience involved physics and material science and not much else. Step forward another 5 years and the writing on the wall was clear, online sales were a thing, and as I predicted a person doesn’t even need to leave their house anymore to get everything they desire today.

Now that I’m back to doing stuff in boats again interactions between myself and inflatable boat users are on the rise, and so are the words “free shipping”. It’s been pointed out to me by users in the shop that “free shipping” was a major deciding factor in which boat they purchased. If you caught the part in my previous sentence that made mention of the shop you’ll soon see where this is going. Obviously when a person tells me they did their “research” what I’m hearing is they price shopped and scanned reviews that were stuffed by fly by night manufacturers in hopes to sway the uninformed to buy their product.

“Free shipping” a term used in the beginning by craft makers to entice people to buy stuff they didn’t need has been hi-jacked by big business. Online giants even offer it to subscribers for a yearly fee, take 15% from the person selling the item, then charge you a fee for using a credit card. You feel like you stole the item, it looks the same, was cheaper than the local place and you didn’t have to put on pants to do it either! Wow! “Retailers are chumps!”, you think to yourself absorbed in the pleasure chemicals the brain is releasing, but who is the real rube in this scenario?

If you break it down with math it will release a different chemical that causes depression, so why think about it? Well, i’m selfish, and since I don’t like telling someone their boat is garbage I figured I’d stab at the keyboard with my giant hands to make it easier.

With so much of what’s in our landfills originating from China it’s no wonder people don’t think twice to purchase a no name boat with free shipping.They’ve been conditioned at this point to accept it. Obviously not everything made in China is junk, but a fair amount of the swag is well, swag. Even big manufacturers have moved production of goods to China to capitalize on the near slave labor cost of production. The rest of us in the World are just greedy for a good deal, no one thinks they should pay retail, everyone thinks they should pay wholesale and don’t care about mom and pop, only themselves. These are the “free shipping” candidates psychologically enticed to buy  products they can’t pass up because it was a “good deal”. Those dot com sellers hired  experts on behavior and targeted a big part of the population by utilizing dopamine levels present in their brain chemistry, and they discovered “free shipping” was the perfect trigger.

Back in the shop I’m faced with telling someone their online purchase that came to their front door with “free shipping” is worthless and more expensive to fix than what they paid for it. Incredulous looks and dagger stares are often the immediate reaction, they feel like I cheated them, I betrayed them, but I didn’t. I didn’t sell them that garbage boat, that good deal, that “free shipping” bonanza. I get to see yet another chemical reaction, this time it’s anger and frustration.

I’ve been here at IBC for a few years now, and I’ve seen many makes and models of inflatable boats come and go. I pay attention to the details, the failure modalities, the use of materials and construction techniques. Yeah I’m that guy, the geek, the whosit whatsit person. What I’ve realized is there’s no good deals on quality unless someone takes less money somewhere along the chain. Big Box demands money! Big Box takes your money! (I was thinking of the green big man from comics when I typed that)

One of the things I like about working at IBC is we aren’t a big heartless company focused on share holder dividends above all else. We’re a small mom and pop place that has a veteran or two under the roof, a big dog, a good mechanic and a genuine love of inflatable boats. Seeing people get frustrated with their experience means it affects our happiness too so we try to land  deals on quality boats to combat the plague of online madness. Every year that I’ve been here at IBC we’ve bought every item of a model line to offer a decent boat at a decent price. It’s economies of scale in that end and we’ve been around the block once or twice. We see our customers on the water while we’re playing ourselves and we enjoy the happy feelings while aboard a good inflatable boat.

This year our good guy buy has centered around the Marlon models. Built for Marlon Trailers by Highfield these models offer the good stuff at a better price, because we bought them all. No, we can’t offer free shipping, that would mean we’d have to charge you more because we don’t have shipping money built into our price. That means that money is put into building the boat, not shipping landfill to your doorstep. We aren’t going to get rich on these boats but while we have them they will make families happy and provide safe boating pleasure for a good long time. If you have a good experience you’ll be back when your family is in a better place financially and get a bigger or better boat, and if we’re lucky we’ll be along to enjoy the ride with you.

We care about the planet, plastic in the oceans, CO2 emissions, and would rather not sell products with a short duty cycle that are landfill bound. Get a better boat, in the long run you’ll be richer for it.

If you have questions my name is Mike, give me a call and I’ll do my best to help you make a good decision on your first or next inflatable boat.

My number at the shop is (503)235-2628 so you know who is behind what we’re selling and who to talk to if you should ever encounter a frowny face experience.

Zodiac Fastroller Inflatable Boats

One of the best inflatable boats on the water these days is the Zodiac Fastroller. Developed out of secret military tech, the airfloor in the Zodiac Fastroller has come of age and no where is this more evident than the recreational market where it has been copied by every other offshore manufacturer under the sun albeit to a lesser quality.

Pump up your Zodiac MK2 Fastroller floor to 11.2 p.s.i.

Where other models move to China for manufacturing the Zodiac Fastroller remains firmly entrenched in France, the place where it all started. One can not compare the French Thermo-bonding™ technique to a heat welded or glued seam the other generic manufactures tout as “good enough”. In the repair shop we see all manner of drop stitched construction coming apart at the seams in the form of ISUPs, and cheap airfloor imitations. They make tall claims and preach of higher pressures, but fail miserably soon after the customer makes their purchase. The quality of Zodiac France’s Thermo-bonding™ is evident in the lack of repairs needed for those models.

Operating at 11 P.S.I. the Zodiac Fastroller takes footing seriously by providing a stiffer floor than a thicker higher pressure ISUP can, and it does it day in and day out without fail. Yachters, sailors, hunters, and fishermen have all come to realize the strength of the design and the ease of use, making the Zodiac Fastroller a favorite for lightweight portability with tremendous capacity.

For yacht tenders and RVers the Zodiac Cadet Fastroller makes a great choice because it’ll hold more, go farther with less motor, and is simply an unroll and inflate boat. The Zodiac Cadet Fastroller series contains the 285, 325 and 360 models weighing in at 77lbs, 88lbs, and 97lbs respectively making them great where small pack size and lightweight are a consideration. Containing virtually no glued seams or accessories the Zodiac Cadet Fastroller does not disappoint and is a solid work horse for decades.

Those of you looking for more performance will like the Fastroller in it’s easy cruising and sport boat configurations such as the Zodiac Classic Fastroller and Zodiac Futura Fastroller models. Offering a more sporting mindset with the ease of use the Fastroller airfloor option provides means no fiddling around with floor boards or stringers,  just pure enjoyment on the water as it should be.

Our customers in the Alaskan territories swear by the Zodiac Classic Fastroller for their back country adventures because they easily fit into small bush planes and boats allowing them to reach destinations off the beaten path. This same model is at home on a yacht, in an RV or rolled up in the back of your car for a weekend adventure.

Install bow bag and go have fun!

When only the color RED will illustrate the performance of an item the Zodiac Futura Fastroller steps into the lime light and claims it’s seat on the throne of speed and maneuvering. Going faster, getting more weight on plane, and using a smaller outboard to get the job done. Zodiac’s Futura Fastroller is unparalleled in a sea of ponderous no name knock offs that disappoint the second they are floated. The Zodiac Futura’s patented speed tubes make quick work of the tough stuff,  and help to mitigated prop ventilation on turns. Performance is akin to riding a bullet train with turns so sure footed that the Zodiac Futura feels like it’s running on rails and not on the water at all.

The high pressure airfloor has definitely come of age and owes it’s heritage to the military models that came before it. For the professional looking for rapid deployment the airfloor option still exists in the form of the Zodiac MILPRO series in such models as the ERB, the indefatigable FC series, and others. The Zodiac MILPRO line is available for the rescue professional, military, and in some cases the recreational user alike where necessary.

When considering a new boat for a dinghy, stand alone run about or adventure machine that needs to be portable you needn’t look any further than the Zodiac Fastroller. Proven in battle and easy to use with world wide support you should ever need an extra oar or repair.

The Zodiac Fastroller series comes with a 5 year warranty and is made of real Thermo-bonded™ Strongan Duotex™ back where it all began, France.

Give IBC a call and get you adventure started today (503)235-2628 or shop our inventory online https://inflatableboats.com 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alaskan Adventures

What do you do when you live far off the beaten path in Alaska and need something from the trading post? What about going to places never seen and getting home again? Or when I was a young man in the early 80’s exploring the arctic looking for surf what did I use to get the job done? In most of these cases it was a Zodiac MK series inflatable boat. From underwater construction in the polar regions to just running supplies or people to and fro the Zodiac MK inflatable boat series (now MILPRO) was the go to work horse.

One of our customers recently called to talk about his mission running adventure tours and operating a 5 star facility where roads don’t exist and I was able to talk him out of a pic and a quick viddy link.

In the viddy above you’ll see a Zodiac MK4 HD rigged with a Yamaha F70 being slung by a HELO at a secret glacial lake. This lake has something to do with our customer’s 5 star resort and the Zodiac MK4 HD plays a vital role there. Considering that the lake is usually locked up with growlers/ice chunks from glacial calving there are not very many boats that can stand up to the constant abuse like a Zodiac MILPRO inflatable boat. The aluminum boats buckle, and the fiberglass boats break, but the Zodiac MILPRO MK4 HD just bounces and slides off the dangerous ice in the water. It’s just another day in an inflatable and experienced Z boat operators just shrug it all off as no big deal.

Getting to and from the beach in the Gulf Of Alaska can be a chore but as Jordan illustrates with his Zodiac MILPRO MK4HD it’s a breeze with inflatable beach rollers. No surf is too hard to reach, no beach too far, no fish too big for what the Zodiac MILPRO MK4HD brings to the table.

Adam setup this package for Jordan, to see what we can do for you give us a call at (503)235-2628 and take your expedition from dream to reality.

Zodiac Open Series Of RIBs

While messing around with some photos today I came across this batch from earlier in the year. Zodiac hosted an event in North America and we sent Adam down to represent IBC and run some new boats Zodiac was offering up for this year.

If you’ve been in the shop this year then you’ve more than likely experienced the Zodiac Open RIB Series first hand and put one on your wish list. If you were really good and not on the naughty list you got one for yourself and are out having fun not reading my blog. Those of you who’ve been stalking my posts, pics, and videos know all about the open series but wanted some more. This post is for those of you who still are on the fence wondering if you want all the awesome these Zodiac Open RIBs offer.

Now the pics!

Getting your new Zodiac Open RIB is as easy as giving Adam a call (503)235-2628

 

The Hits Keep Coming

Adam and Chris sure have been busy with the Zodiac Bombard Commandos this year and it isn’t over yet. A few more Commandos leave the shop this week to accomplish their missions. We never see them again after we sell them so it’s good to get a few pics before hand to prove they were here!

For the operators looking to use a jet the Bombard Commando C5 makes a smart choice and represents the best performance due to it’s wooden keel configuration.

To find out more about the Bombard Commando give Adam a call (503)235-2628 or shop IBC online at www.inflatableboats.com

 

Zodiac’s Pro 5.5 Built For Speed

One of our customers was looking to upgrade to a rib (rigid hull inflatable boat) from a Zodiac MILPRO ERB that he’d been using for family fun. As usual the customer had some idea on how fast he wanted to go, what sort of water he would be running, and how much he was willing to spend. Once we figured out which model would meets those needs the customer and IBC went to work on the finer details such as desired color scheme, tube material, and required seating.

Due to some physical conditions we determined that the customer would be best suited to a non-traditional pilot/navigator setup in a recreational format. To meet the demands of the physical limitation, pods or “jockey seats” were utilized in place of the more traditional leaning bolster or forward seat arrangement. The use of pods gave the customer sure footing and visibility in rougher conditions and a positive pilot position that allowed full access to all controls and functions.

The customer had us spec out a particular console that wasn’t really on the  US Zodiac menu but the Zodiac chef did it anyway. This new console pivoted forward allowing access to the underdeck area, and helped to get his new boat into the existing storage structure.

For colors we had Zodiac mix up some gelcoat to make his hull and top deck in grey. The customer went off menu again and also had Zodiac make his tubes to meet his desire for a stealthy looking boat.

To power the new Zodiac Pro 5.5 and meet the customer’s need for speed  we eschewed the typical 70Hp or 90Hp and went right to Yamaha’s F115 bad boy. Our fun loving criminal is wearing bling in the form of Yamaha’s performance stainless steel prop, making it one mean get away vehicle that will flex on anything else in the water. When asked how fast the boat would go Mike gave a nonchalant 30mph response and left it at that, all the while knowing that there’s a beast under the cowl. The customer later emailed and said it went 30mph as promised, but it did it at half throttle! Typical Mike!

As usual we had a fun time with this build, and would love to hear from you regarding your next Zodiac.

Give us a call (503)235-2628 and ask for Adam, our Zodiac RIB and Zodiac MILPRO Specialist.

 

Zodiac Bombard Commando Summer

The trend of “Going Commando” continues to increase this boating season with more and more people realizing that the Bombard Commando meets their needs and then some.

Considering that the Zodiac Bombard Commando doesn’t come with any lipstick or rouge, or in other words fancy accessories, you wouldn’t think they would sell so quickly or well. Imagine a boat that will fold up and go into a small plane or submarine, even the family car that will take a goodly amount of power and handle the worst water. Now forget about what you were thinking and picture this.

Bombard Commando C3

What The Bombard Commando series represents is a good solid platform that is configurable for most any mission on the water. We have cut our teeth at IBC in class 5 white water running souped up outboards with the Bombard Commandos starting with Captain Ron. IBC’s Mike has utilized the Commando series on countless missions in the polar and equatorial regions and swears by it’s dependability and stamina in the face of adversity. Both Mike and Capt. Ron still own Bombard Commandos all these years later providing proof of the Bombard Commandos’ durability.

Many of IBC’s customers have been on the Bombard Commando boats since their inception in the very early 80’s. Once you get used to the performance of a Bombard Commando it’s hard to go to another boat type despite the attractiveness of some of the offerings today.

While we still class this boat series as recreational, many rescue and enforcement teams have recognized the advantages offered by the more rigid wooden keel setup and bigger outboards the Bombard Commando allows. Ease of assembly with the wooden keel far outstrips the inflatable keel variety in this size and class of boat due to relieving the tension on the inside of the tubes caused by the bow sag on a deflated tube. The once common place wooden keel fell by the roadside during the leisure society movement to make it easier for families to manage parts wise.

If you flash back forward you’ll see Bombard Commandos used for fishery science, marine mammal research, ecological missions, high latitude sailing, fishing, hunting, water sports, law enforcement, fire rescue, and the list goes on and on and on.

Here’s a few pics of what’s what from our friends afloat.

To get your very own Bombard Commando give Mike a call (503)235-2628 or order it from our online store inflatableboats.com

A New Post And Some News

This summer has been a whirlwind of activity and long hot days. To the people who have been asking about blog posts I do apologize, I’ve been busy servicing customers around the World continuously.

Ok news time!

The new Zodiac open series of ribs has been going like mad and IBC even went to test the new boats with Zodiac prior to new models being released in the US market. We currently have one Open 7 left and are back ordered on several of the other models.

IBC’s MILPRO Division has been mad at work building out some very special boats for missions upcoming and ongoing throughout the big blue marble. We’ll have a few pics to share soon but most of our projects aren’t viewable due to operational security concerns.

The Special Boats Division has been pushing out special commando packages at a dizzying rate. Models equipped for skinny and swift moving water, steering helm packages, tiller models, dive boats, filming platforms etc. have been the norm everyday. Fisherman and outdoor sportsmen have been catching on to the fact that they can simply do more in a Bombard Commando.

In other news aluminum rib manufacturers have been going thru their inevitable growing pains again. Luckily Zodiac has responded and introduced aluminum ribs to the market once more helping heal the hurt. Pains caused by the current offerings of other supposed expert manufacturers mean I field a great many calls for boats I don’t sell. Those of you old enough to remember boating in the 80s will remember just how many of these Chinese boat brands there were back then. The big push to tin in the 90’s and the multitude of aluminum hulled inflatable boats that persisted into the new millennium disappeared altogether. Once good boats fell to the push to make cheaper and cheaper goods at the cost of quality. Zodiac stopped making aluminum ribs because they couldn’t compete with the Chinese labor costs in Canada or France and the tin market collapsed due to the shoddy off brand product.

People wanted Zodiac quality, but struck off to competitors trying to save a few bucks, much like what is happening in the current market. If you’ve been following our site you’ll notice all the other tin boat makers are gone at this point. Makers such as Highfield will no longer be supported at IBC for warranties or broken/missing parts. You will need to contact Highfield or your other manufacturer directly for further support.

Zodiac aluminum hulled ribs will always be supported, they are Zodiacs after all and benefit from the World’s largest dealer network. Our site isn’t showing Zodiac aluminum hulled ribs currently, we’ve sold out of the Zodiac aluminum ribs until the next season from our initial January offering. As anticipated the Zodiac product out performed all the others in the field in cost VS capability/quality. No surprises there!

One trend that has been gaining momentum is the push for customers to get genuine French Zodiac models such as the Zodiac Cadet Fastroller series. The Zodiac Cadet Fastroller series of inflatable boats are Thermo-bonded™ in the French factory that gave birth to the Thermo-bonding™ technology. Quality from the very start in it’s selection of Strongan Duotex™ fabric and use of the French technique that eliminates glue altogether makes one of the lightest and most durable boats available anywhere by anyone. Other French boats like the Classic series, the Bombard Commando series and the Futura series have dominated the market with quality where the other manufacturers have chosen quantity and free shipping instead of making a good product.

To go into more detail about Zodiac’s Thermo-bonding™ process would take a tome and a PhD in material science to understand, however we can be brief yet informative. As with all things sold today the Chinese have copied some aspects of the technology and rebranded it as heat welding to avoid litigation. Let’s be clear there is a difference no matter how slick the media presentation is from brand X the customer is being duped. The heat welding process is a good 20 years behind the Thermo-bonding process originally deployed in 1977 from Zodiac’s Engineering Dept.

Yes the future is looking bright for quality French, US, and Canadian craftsmanship. In this saturated knockoff internet marketplace where ultra cheap is the norm the consumer is easily tricked into buying garbage by the term “free shipping”. What the informed customer should know is “free shipping” equates to landfill disaster, or now the more news worthy “Pacific Garbage Patch”. Zodiac, Avon, and Bombard have always been stewards of the environment, isn’t it about time we all did our part?

More blog posts to come soon, pictures, videos and more! As soon as We get some free time from fielding all of these non-stop calls for products we don’t or won’t sell from understandably upset customers. Remember if it seems too good to be true, it is.

How Much Air Do I Put In My Zodiac?

While having a look at some recent searches on our blog here I see a common search term, “How much air do I put in my Zodiac?”.

To answer this question I’d always refer to your boat’s manual but a good rule of thumb is 3.48 P.S.I.

This pressure would be the same for hypalon or pvc material. If you are using the supplied foot pump that came with your boat you won’t be able to over pressurize your Zodiac as the pumps are designed to only pump up to the rated pressure. Even if I was standing on the foot pump and had a friend helping it would only pump to it’s rated pressure.

When we are talking about a Zodiac Fastroller air floor the pressure would be 11.2 P.S.I. and would be in it’s second stage of it’s two stage pump.

Air floor pressure on the Zodiac Aero series of boats have a pressure of 8.5 P.S.I.

Remember that pressure is dependent on temperature and after launching your boat it’s a good idea to kick a few more pumps into the tubes, keel and floors of your boat to accommodate for the cooling effect of the water. The inverse is true if your boat is left on the hard and it gets very hot outside. you may need to vent out some excess pressure to keep it in the right operating pressure.

One way to remove all ambiguity is to buy a 12V inflator pump with gauge and auto shut off like this one here.

If you have questions we have answers, just give us a call (503)235-2628 (ask for Adam)

Zodiac’s Open 7 – A Walk Around

Well now that most of the show season madness is over and everyone is waiting for their orders lets take a look at Zodiac’s Open 7 RIB.

By all viewing angles the observer realizes that Zodiac’s Open 7 is a whole new and modern approach to running the blue water. Generous aft seating means bringing friends and family out for some exploring and adventure was never easier. Transom steps and boarding ladder options envelope the outboard and give bathers a sure and positive way for getting into the Zodiac Open 7 regardless of fitness level.

Zodiac’s forward thinking seems apparent just about everywhere you look. Upon inspection you’ll notice deck fittings already strategically placed to add additional seats, scuba racks, etc. making the Zodiac Open 7 truly mission configurable.

Integrated anchor roller and bow step up forward removes the uncertainty of anchoring up for lunch on the hook or a simple swim call. The chain locker is generous and offers easy access via a marine latch and forward hatch.

Refueling can be a pain at the fuel dock so Zodiac made it easy on the Open 7, with access to the secondary hatch right where it ought to be.

Speaking of hatches the Zodiac Open 7 has a lockable gas strut assisted console hatch that leads to a truly cavernous under deck stowage locker. No more worrying about gear left aboard, pfd storage or water sports storage. One just puts everything below safe and secure.

If water sports are your thing then Zodiac has heard your call and made a sleek and functional towing arch option that looks as good as it works. If you’re towing the kids on a tube or you’re trying to set the wakeboard endurance record the Zodiac Open 7 answers your call in a stable, safe, fun, and efficient craft.

With the ever changing field of marine electronics breaking new tech every six months it’s hard to plan for dash space to layout all the doodads. Zodiac is above all a tech company and as such redesigned the console and dash on the Open 7 to accommodate the future of boating electronics. This was a forward thinking move and one that the mechanics and riggers are cheering about. The would be boater can have everything they ever dreamed of and more!

When considering a hull’s efficiency to cut thru the bumps and chop many manufacturers take the easy way out and design for one scenario thereby limiting what the boat will do in any given sea state. Zodiac has taken their enormous knowledge base into the design phase and put together a truly open water hull. Performance is optimized to the very edge of hydrodynamic law making the Zodiac Open 7 suitable for blue water, fresh water, lakes or rivers alike. Zodiac takes it’s lessons learned from hard military applications, shipping, rescue and exploration to a whole new level for the recreational customer. Many state and federal organizations will love the what this hull design will do for their missions let alone the recreational customer out for a quick fun trip.

In the terms of power and economy IBC’s choice to rig their premier Zodiac Open 7 with a clean burning and quiet Yamaha F250HP outboard is a perfect balance of power and grace. The Yamaha F250 coupled to Zodiac’s Open 7 purrs like a kitten sipping fuel like the aforementioned kitten lapping milk from a saucer. Pushing the throttle forward transforms the kitten into a team of roaring lions on a yolk. Taming that lion team is easy with the Zodiac Open 7’s hydraulic steering control and offers nimble maneuvers at any speed. You won’t even notice how fast you are moving until you see your speed on the generous digital screen. The Zodiac Open 7 literally tears your expectations asunder and gives you the smoothest ride possible afloat.

We just couldn’t find anything wrong with the Zodiac Open 7, it all seems so right. At a price of $70K with trailer from IBC in Portland Oregon it makes you wonder why anyone would need another kind of boat when the Zodiac Open 7 does it all, and does it better.

To view the Zodiac Open 7 contact the team at The Inflatable Boat Center (IBC) by phone (503)235-2628 and schedule an appointment. If you’re on the other side of the world have a look below at IBC’s Portland Boat Show Open 7 premier in North America.

Shop IBC by visiting their website www.inflatableboats.com