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.

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

 

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 MILPRO SRMN 550 Custom Survey Package

What do you get when you put a Zodiac MILPRO SRMN 550 together with IBC’s Special Boats Division?

You get a mission capable boat that looks into the future of bathymetrics !

When the mission requires a nimble and fast boat with unbeatable stability to profile what’s under the surface you call IBC and get the ball rolling. IBC’s Special Boats Division and MILPRO lead Adam took the reigns to accomplish a customer’s mission on the water. The mission basics required a boat that was able to precisely loiter on station to get data from the undersea gradient and yet be able to very quickly maneuver to clear a shipping lane.

The Zodiac MILPRO SRMN 550 hull was selected as the platform of choice and an offshore style double motor bracket was custom fabricated and installed allowing the use of twin Yamaha 40Hp outboards.

A custom aluminum bolster and console with equipment racks and accessory tray were added to accommodate the electronics package and computers necessary to accomplish the mission. IBC also fabricated a t-top with a radar and AIS system integrated into the nav console electronics. Ship comms were patched in and outboard data and nav data also integrated into one of several smart displays keeping operations and navigation in one centralized spot.

Forward array handling was fabricated and installed to accommodate the customer’s apparatus not unlike some EOD apparatus systems integrated at our Special Boats Division shop for special operations.

Intrinsically safe and redundant systems were the norm on this highly sophisticated system integration package that unfortunately we cannot show in this format.

All in all another fun build by the Special Boats kids here at the shop for one of our Special Projects customers.

Do you have a special need or project that you’d like to discuss with IBC?

Give us a call (503)235-2629 and get read in to what’s possible.

 

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.

River Huggers Press Day with Portland’s Mayor Wheeler and IBC

Monday started early for IBC as we made ready and launched at 4:00 am to support the Portland River Huggers swim across the Willamette River. Portland’s very own Mayor Ted Wheeler joined in the swim and several news teams were there to cover it from all angles, our job was easy, we just piloted the boat. 🙂 IBC’s Mike was on station to take out the media and provide safety and rescue services as needed with the 40 Hp rigged Zodiac Bombard C4R Commando.

Thankfully there were no casualties and everyone had the endurance to make the swim under their own steam. Mike (our intrepid adventurer) pretty much insists on using the Zodiac Bombard Commando platform as his vessel of choice in marine operations. Mike keeps his boat open and mission configurable to quickly adapt to conditions and the ever changing marinescape as it unfolds.

IBC provided a platform for the various news channels to film and report on the events as they unfolded live on the water. Mike grabbed a couple of selfies with the news to prove to the boss he wasn’t sleeping in which are featured below. To view the news articles about the Willamette River click the links provided.

KOIN TV Article

KPTV TV Article

River Huggers Out On The Willamette For The Summer

To find out more about inflatable boats call (503)235-2628 and ask for Adam or visit IBC online via their website inflatableboats.com

Military and Profession users please call (503)235-2628 to discuss your mission profile or optempo.

 

C-3 Commandos Save The Day At The Bottom Of The World

The internet is filled with good and bad, and every once in awhile good seamanship stories leak out. In the Yachting World news we came across a story about Skip Novak and a recent Antarctic expedition turned beach recovery utilizing the trusty Bombard C3 Commando and some good seamanship.

Check the link below for Yachting World’s full text on what went on at the bottom of the world.

http://www.yachtingworld.com/voyages/real-life-rescue-skip-novak-aids-lone-yachtsman-recovering-yacht-beach-109399

If the Bombard C3 Commando sounds like a boat you’d be interested in give us a call (503)235-2628 or order online with our secure shopping cart.

www.inflatableboats.com

Beard Growth 101

When March rolls around people in the Pacific NW start to see days where the sun comes out and it doesn’t rain. This signal of the seasons means it’s time to start thinking about boating again. Where things get sticky is when boaters who at the end of last season were tired or complacent walk down to where their dingy was left in the water.

There it sits (or floats) dirty , floppy, full of stagnant water and wearing a beard of growth that would make a modern day hipster proud. Of course this beard could have been avoided by proper maintenance and storage.

Some boaters don’t have the choice of pulling their inflatable boat or rib when it’s not in use. For these boaters a simple two part process can help to prevent or eliminate the dreaded beard. Aurora Marine makes products that are simple to use cheap and effective.

Steps To A Clean Boat.

First if the boat  has substantial growth Aurora makes Inflatable Bottom Spray that removes algae, barnacles, zebra mussles etc. from hypalon, pvc, and fiberglass. Just wet the hull, shake the bottle and spray it on. Let the spray work for about 20-30 minutes then rinse and repeat if necessary.

Step Two: Prep the boat for Aurora Poly Guard by using Aurora Speed Clean

Speed Clean is a cleaner/restorer and is suitable for use all over your inflatable boat or rib. It is the secret sauce IBC uses when people bring in old dirty floppy for repairs. The customer would always ask us what we used to clean the area of interest and invariably it was Speed Clean.

Step Three: Application of Aurora Poly Guard UV Protector.

Aurora Poly Guard UV Protectant and Polish is suitable to use all over your inflatable boat or rib, hypalon, pvc, fiberglass, nylon etc. It is non greasy, non slippery, doesn’t get on your clothes or person and lasts for a whole season. Apply two coats of Aurora Poly Guard to the bottom of your inflatable boat or rib in preparation for the anti fouling product Repelin.

Step Four: Application of Repelin Foul Release Coating.

The Aurora Repelin Foul Release Coating speaks for it’s self by eliminating or greatly reducing marine growth. Two coats is all you need to apply after the Poly Guard. It’s one of the most stolen items from boat houses because it works! If you have any algae on the bottom of your boat it just wipes off and leaves a slick fast surface.

By following the simple steps above you won’t be faced with the woes of inattention when you go to use your dinghy. As always keep your boat tight and look for adventure at the horizon.

If you have any questions about Aurora products or anything in general give us a call (503)235-2628!

For more cleaners and conditioners visit our Cleaners And Conditioners section online.