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

Alone At Sea In An Inflatable Boat

This morning while I was perusing some documents for an EOD group I was brought back to a conversation I recently had with a sailor. We went on about our experiences in the inflatables as part of our military duty and one thing that came up was how utterly alone you feel when it’s just you and the Z Boat on the open ocean. Some of my experiences in the 80s and 90s mirrored his while serving in the U.S. Navy today. Spend a night with just you and the ocean in an inflatable boat and you begin to get an idea of just how hard Dr. Alain Bombard’s journey really was.

To those of you who are scratching your heads on this name it was likely before your time. You have to go back to 1952 in order to remember the achievement of crossing the Atlantic adrift in a prototype Zodiac Inflatable Boat. 

Up until then the World really didn’t understand the oceans at all and those that did were a salty bunch who spent very little time ashore. Everyone knows who Cousteau is and his legend lives on through his children and grandchildren, but who was Dr. Bombard? Suffice it to say Dr. Alain Bombard was the man who wrote the book on surviving at sea, much of which is still utilized today.

Reading his book “Naufragé Volontaire” imparts some of the feelings he had, but spending time on “The Pond” is it’s own lesson learned and once you have you begin to see the incredible fortitude it takes to survive being lost at sea. I used Zodiac Inflatable Boats as a support tool to accomplish whatever mission laid before us but I always had a place, a ship, or a submarine to go to when it was done. Bombard didn’t, Bombard only had the wind in his face and the weather on his head day in, and day out, for months. If that won’t test a person’s resolve nothing will!

Dr. Bombard believed strongly that inflatable boats could save lives and he was right, so much so that virtually every ship at sea has to have an inflatable life raft in order to make passage with it’s precious cargo. Many pleasure boats utilize Zodiac Life Rafts like commercial and professionals do because of the sheer size of the oceans, and the ability to survive until rescue aboard one. Modern Life rafts have supplies such as fresh water/food rations and are designed to accommodate a certain number of people. 

My rule of thumb is to have a life raft with capacity for every soul aboard plus 2 if space allows. If not then multiple smaller boats to cover the full crew and it’s passengers at a minimum. Life rafts can come in a soft pack valise or a canister packed above decks model, and some may even offer hydrostatic release mechanisms that will deploy by themselves if there are no hands available to launch one in an emergency.

Life rafts are inspected and packed with a duty cycle and a shelf life. Reinspection and repacking of provisions or rations occurs when the time is up on the initial or subsequent pack dates. While I served this was a deck dept. job and the bosuns keep a sharp eye on things if a duty falls to them. Pleasure sailors and power boaters should follow the recommended pack dates and reinspection period to ensure that their life raft will be there when or if they need it. Hopefully none of us ever will need to get into a life raft in our lifetime but accidents can and do happen. You may be responsible for your own rescue once you are over the horizon.

Be prepared, have confidence of your ship or boats ability to withstand incredible damage and stay afloat, and always have an abandon ship plan in place. You can’t simply pull to the side of the road like you do when you’re driving a car, and you can’t swim forever either. Take a page from Dr. Bombard’s book and learn from his experiences alone on a big ocean.

To speak with Mike about a life raft call (503)235-2628 

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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

 

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 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.

 

2018 Dragon Boat Races

The 2018 Portland Rose Festival Dragon Boat Races brought some liquid sunshine to Portland this year but the competition was red hot. The Inflatable Boat Center was on hand to lend a safety boat and operator as we like to do for local events. Thankfully it was a casualty free year again with only a broken tiller on one of the boats that led to a low speed collision.

Law enforcement was in full force with several other assets which helped to transfer some of the load off of our already heavily laden mission profile.

All in all it was a good time despite the rain that menaced paddlers throughout the event. IBC took out several news channels for the event, which was a first for many of the news teams. KATU’s Amanda shared some of her pics below in the link, and more will follow as the media is dispersed thru the proper channels. Unfortunately we weren’t able to collect any images this year ourselves due to mission tempo and our event responsibilities.

The boat IBC chose to use was the Zodiac Bombard Commando C4R open rigged with a 40hp outboard tiller arrangement. The tiller allows for ultra fast throttle and steering response when maneuvering tight and fast conditions, or in this case around lines and other small craft in the exclusion zone. Having 40hp on a Bombard Commando C4 gives the operator smooth speed and the ability to bring heavy loads to plane easily to complete the mission at hand.

After the event while in transit to the pull out location IBC’s Mike was on hand to lend assistance to a small sailing vessel that was over turned. With the Bombard Commando, some line, and a bit of seamanship Mike was able to right the vessel and tow it to a nearby dock. The Bombard Commando’s incredible buoyancy and soft sided nature allowed positioning without damage to either vessel as lines were put under load.

The Bombard Commando line of boats continues to perform where others can’t and is a favorite of the IBC staff for all things on the water.

To see about getting your feet wet in an inflatable boat purchase contact Adam at IBC or shop our online store https://www.inflatableboats.com

Local customers can stop by our showroom

Inflatable Boat Center

2041 SE Powell Blvd.

Portland Oregon 97202

(503)235-2628

http://katu.com/news/local/photos-teams-from-around-the-world-compete-in-2018-dragon-boat-race

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

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)