Kicking It With The Zodiac

Brrr it’s cold outside! Time to go kick some air into my Zodiac Bombard Commando and while I’m at it mention it to you too.

This one is hard to understand for a lot of people because there is so much bad info on the web regarding inflatable boats and proper air pressure. In simplest terms when things get cold they contract, air is a thing. Boyle’s Law comes to mind, Gay-Lussac’s Law, Charles’ Law, and probably a bunch more but the long and short of it means when air heats up it expands and pressure increases, when it’s chilled it contracts and pressure drops.

When that boat you kicked air into during the summer months gets cold Mr. Floppy shows up to take it’s place. Mr. Floppy is no one’s friend, he strains the transom attachment points and seams trying to make your outboard hit the deck. Mr. Floppy doesn’t like fun, fuel economy or performance, he wants you to have a bad time. Mr. Floppy loves rodents so if you have a Mr. Floppy in your garage don’t be surprised if rodents become his room mates when you go out there in the Spring.

Worrying about your inflatable boat popping in the Sun’s heat is why you are running it soft? Huh? That’s an old trick by Mr. Floppy, remember Mr. Floppy hates fun over all else. Running your boat soft only benefits the repair shop, it actually shortens an inflatable boat’s lifetime or duty cycle. As a rule you should always have about 3.5 P.S.I. in the main tubes and keel unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer. Airfloors can have 5, 6, 8, even 11 P.S.I. in them to make them perform and give a stable platform. Airfloor types vary by manufacturer so consult your make and model inflation information and keep it tight when it’s inflated.

One of the things I’ve always appreciated about inflatable boats is the ability to roll them up and stow them until needed. When you get to a place where you need a stable boat that doesn’t sink you just unroll, inflate and go. All those awesome documentaries I used to watch on T.V. wouldn’t have been possible without inflatable boats so my interest in them began early. When I asked my mom how come they didn’t sink if they got a hole in them, or if Jaws came and took a bite she calmly replied, “Zodiac boats have chambers to prevent all the air from coming out.”. Mom was pretty smart back in the early 70’s and she didn’t have the luxury of consulting the internet to give me those correct answers either. Mom would never have let me get into an underinflated boat, you shouldn’t either.

Yes the whole air/temperature thing will generate a lot of calls to the service center this time of year in mainland America. Most of them stem from the user inflating one chamber to pressure, then the next and so on. When Mr. Floppy shows up he makes it look like there’s a leak in one chamber that the user can’t find. What’s occurred is the baffle (the chamber thingy inside) has pushed into the adjacent chamber and taken up part of it’s volume. Things cool off outside and Mr. Floppy presents a chamber that appears to be flat when you go to inspect it. When inflating your boat you should inflate each chamber to shape, then go back and top them off to pressure. This technique ensures that the baffles aren’t pushed into the other chambers and it also helps keep Mr. Floppy from showing up as frequently.

If during your winter lay up or inspection process you find a hole that needs patching, fix it, then stow your boat. You’ll really have a bad day when Mr. Floppy shows up the first time you want to use your boat and you can’t because he’s there. Remember Mr. Floppy hates fun! That’s all for now, I have to go kick Mr. Floppy off some RIBs I see him getting aboard. If you have questions we probably have answers, give us a call (503)235-2628 and ask for Mike.

To shop our online shop you can go here if you are having problems call and ask for Mike (503)235-2628 it’s probably his fault anyway.

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 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Be An Original

It seems like I’m having to say goodbye to some really awesome boats every other day. This week I’ve had to say goodbye to a few Zodiac Bombard Commando C5s as well as the Zodiac MKII Heritage Classic #16 of 50. Yes having to say goodbye is hard for me because I just love the boats people are requesting these days.

The Zodiac/Bombard Commando C5 is one of my all time favorites from doing arctic operations to playing around on the weekends with my best girl and will always be my go to.

Looking at the Zodiac MK2 Heritage Classic I’m brought back to where it all began for me with the Cousteau family and the Debroutelle family in France. The Zodiac Heritage has that classic look that so many of us identified with as kids but it’s made to modern standards and built to perform. Does the MK2 Heritage Classic go well at the yacht club? Yes it does, sexy doesn’t begin to describe the Zodiac MK2 Heritage Classic. This beauty has legs when you push the stick forward and feel the breeze on your face. If you don’t want to disturb your coiffed hair you can flip up one of the windshields and use the mirror to freshen up your makeup. The back to back adjustable seating means it fits any driver or passenger and as an added plus it will lay down flat and turn into a soleil tableau (sun deck) allowing it’s user to catch some rays on placid water. This one is extra special and will be missed once it’s gone.

 

We love our job here at IBC because it means we get to work with great customers who want the best for their boating dollar. Making special boat packages to delivering off the shelf products the result is always the same, smiles!

Come join the family at our showroom in Portland Oregon or by shopping our online store

Inflatable Boat Center

2401 SE Powell Blvd.

Portland Oregon 97202

(503) 235-2628

 

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.

Zodiac Cadet 300 DL RIB ALU

Zodiac Cadet 300 DL RIB ALU

We’ve been getting some calls about the new Zodiac Cadet DL Aluminum RIBs from people across the country asking for actual pics not computer renders. Ask and you shall receive from IBC!

Our resident computer nerd Mike took a few pics and put them up to show some of the features. The Zodiac Cadet RIB 300 DL ALU comes with a “flat deck”, and bow locker separating it from the Zodiac Cadet RIB 300 UL.

Everyone that calls asks if a fuel tank will fit into the bow locker, quick answer from Mike is “Yup!”. Mike just grabbed the nearest 6 gallon fuel tank and stuck it in there for a pic.  TADA!

To get your very own Zodiac Cadet RIB 300 DL give Adam a call (503) 235-2628 or shop online via our secure website.

It Won’t Snow Forever

This far into March and we’re waiting on freight delayed by snow still, what gives? Parts of the country are getting another dusting while other parts are getting out on the water one day and shoveling snow the next. In this topsy turvy weather it’s really easy to neglect getting the necessary spring maintenance done on your outboard or boat. We’re always staying busy here at the shop, and we are definitely seeing guides and other private owners getting their service done but, some of you will wait until summer is in full swing before you decide to get it sorted. The easy answer is don’t wait until summer!

When summer rolls into the great NW it’s a mad dash to cram as much Vitamin-D in as you can before the nine months of rain starts again. In the height of summer we’ll be several weeks out on repairs because people just didn’t prepare like they should have.

Getting patching materials, cleaners, and conditioners is as easy as stopping by IBC’s store or ordering supplies online. Don’t let air and opportunity stand in the way of your boating, spend some of that income tax return and set yourself up for success in the summer.

If that old boat that grandpa gave you back in 1976 is starting to look ugly sell it for $500 bucks on Craigslist like the one pictured in Sausalito above and get your new one ordered  for the season opener. If you’re like us at all you’ve already had several boating adventures this year already and are just marking time until the sun comes and shows it’s face.

 

 

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