You’re going to need a bigger boat….

I remember the first time I heard Chief Brody in “Jaws” say those words, recently I heard them again from a customer needing exactly that. The end use on this boat was completely different than in “Jaws” but none the less very interesting.

The customer needed some specifics and he wanted twins for open water use. In addition they also wanted a level of comfort not typically associated with an open water military styled boat. Wants and needs were listed and prioritized with the end result centered on a custom Zodiac 850 Medline.

Working closely with Zodiac North America and IBC during the build the custom details got ironed out like;

  • where the stove top would go
  • potable water system and sink
  • raw water wash down system
  • auto inflate system
  • power steering
  • boarding ladder
  • wrap around aft seating
  • removable tables
  • aft towing post
  • faux teak non-skid deck
  • custom console
  • custom t-top
  • and more, much more

This Zodiac Medline 850 Custom is destined to live in the sun and the sea where trade winds blow the fragment scents of exotic flowers year round. As idyllic as this sounds the reasoning for going with an inflatable was one of critical thinking from a life long boater. Navigating between island channels in his area is something not to be taken lightly as deep sea hits the reef with Neptune’s full might making big powerful surf.

The innate buoyancy of the R.I.B. hull in addition to it’s inflatable sponson (tubeset) means that even if the boat is filled with water completely you are still afloat with only the inconvenience of getting your feet wet. The seakeeping ability of Zodiac’s R.I.B. technology is the reasoning behind so many rescue and special operations choices keeping their vessels operating in the most adverse conditions at sea.

Our customer’s knowledge base in operating different vessels became clear once we began our initial discussions and has been the guiding voice throughout the customizing process. Very little input from IBC was needed except where it overlapped with inflatable technology. Usually when IBC builds out a custom boat it’s a one off and much of the time we are educating and informing of possibilities. Not this time!

Our ability to work with Zodiac’s production team at the deck plate level ensures all of the customer needs are met without issue and that options that aren’t on the normal menu are delivered on time and budget. In the end we all end up happy and excited to have built something special that will be used as it was intended.

As this boat is still in it’s rigging phase we don’t have pictures to show of the finished product but thought it would be ok to share what the progress looks like. Keep posted for the finished pictures and if you’re in the market for something unique give us a call (503)235-2628

We serve the recreational, professional and military markets in all aspects of Zodiac.

Zodiac Bayrunner 550 NEO

The day started out cool and grey here in Portland which by the way is pretty normal here but it made me think of another day not too long ago. For this time of year it’s pretty ordinary to wear wool in the morning and shorts in the afternoon and if you have to deliver a boat it will start to rain. Ten days ago was one of those days when I had to deliver a boat and as soon as I pulled it out of the rigging and staging area it started to rain. Luckily for the boat it was wearing a Bimini Top to keep it’s composure in the mist as well as the merciless sun it was soon to encounter.

Our mechanic Chris had just finished installing the Bimini and the Outboard and the customer was on their way so I pushed it outside to grab a pic or two to share. One thing I like about the Zodiac Bayrunner is that it takes a different approach to the runabout fun boat in that it uses a pro hull and tubes but gives it more airy and light seating and helm.

Everyone imagines themselves over the horizon busting huge air off giant swells, but in practice it’s usually on calmer water within eyesight of the beach. This is where the smartness of the Zodiac Bayrunner design comes into play.

Sure, you can leap huge swells in a single bound, but why? Unless you were one of the old school Navy guys doing it on a clandestine mission or new school marine officer you really don’t need to nor should you want to (spine surgery). At this point in my life and water experience I prefer the less aggressive looking Zodiac Bayrunner 550.

Zodiac’s Bayrunner 550 NEO is lighter, simpler, more comfortable and better suited to what my activities include. The Zodiac Bayrunner 550 goes fishing, pulls a wake boarder or tube, cruises with style and above all comfort, plus it costs much less!

Since I mentioned seating I think this is the sticking point for most who look at small and midsized RIBs such as the Zodiac Bayrunner 550 NEO. What they think they want is the molded in console and seats but that adds weight, cost, and means more downstream cost for operating.

  • I like that I can stow multiple marine coolers like my Engle under the seat or helm station
  • I like that I have seat stanchions to rig for sea to
  • I like the way it seats divers more comfortably and passengers alike in transit or at rest
  • I say the seating is minimalist in appearance but generous on comfort, and trust me the comfort factors into the mix far more than it used to

These days a trip on the water means I’m with my dog and best girl fishing or having another couple along for a trip . The ability to not be in pain all day because of the seating means quite a bit these days to having a successful mission. Only needing a Yamaha F70 means I get much better fuel economy and yet still have enough power to make my eyes streak tears on my face. I’m told I can Bluetooth my phone to the stereo Zodiac’s Bayrunner 550 but I haven’t ever used it while on that boat. I’m usually too busy enjoying the quiet solitude a day on the water can bring with my dearest and closest friends and family.

Stop by our showroom in Portland and talk to us about your next inflatable boat or RIB and see how we can help you to have more fun on the water.

Shop our ONLINE STORE

Inflatable Boat center

2041 SE Powell Blvd.

Portland Oregon 97202

(503)235-2628

Keep Exploring

While playing catchup from the NW Sportsman Show and the Portland Boat Show I thought I’d take a breather and share a couple of pics of some boats being built out right now. Yes there are several ribs coming down the pipes but for now it’s the sand on knuckles builds that I’m focused on.

IBC has always been a fan of the Zodiac Bombard Commando model line and as such we’ve always had our finger on the pulse of the outdoors. We’ve rigged Zodiac Bombard Commandos for hunters, fisherman, biologists, geologists, et al. and with a good record of keeping their feet dry and their cargo safe.

Currently we’re rigging several C5 Commandos and a few C4 Commandos of which I have pictures of today.

The black Zodiac Bombard Commando C4 pictured above is rigged with a 50/35 hp outboard jet and some extra kit to scratch it’s way through the bush creeks and rivers on the way to it’s destination. It’s new home in the Northern Territories will test what it was designed for, getting in the skinny water to check the steelhead population and get back home again. Mission Accomplished!

Talk to one of our pros to get where you want to go and start your adventure today. (503) 235-2628

Zodiac Cadet Fastroller 360

Up Up And Away!

Never has one boat model been to so many places and served so many different users so well. The Zodiac Cadet Fastroller series is one of our favorites here in the NW the Arctic and in the Tropics. IBC has thrown these models out of moving planes onto the Arctic ice in recent months bringing trapped researchers home during a breakup. We’ve loaded them into small sailboats headed for the horizon, and we’ve put more than a few into RVs for travelers needing a reliable boat that doesn’t need a trailer.

Recently one of our long time customers sent some pics of a stop he made in the Bahamas while out adventuring. They knew of a nice spot with not a lot of people, ok no people to be precise, that was pretty inaccessible to most craft. Explorers would fly over in planes and dream of diving or snorkeling pristine waters and untouched reefs. If only they could get there?

Since our guy is kind of a “Fly Boy” he decided to fly in with a Zodiac Cadet Fastroller in the plane, land on the water and put the Zodiac to use. I might like to mention here that the Zodiac Cadet Fastroller series of inflatable boats seems to be a favorite for pilots around the big blue marble we call Earth. The reality of “Earth” is that most of it is covered by water, maybe it should be called “Water”? Anyway, our intrepid adventurer had great success on this stop and sent us a few pics we thought we’d share with our extended family of friends and customers.

These types of adventures are what get us out of bed in the mornings. We breathe in the sea air filling our lungs and our souls with the desire to see what lies beyond the hazy horizon.

Start your own adventure today by calling IBC (503)235-2628 or by shopping our secure online store

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.