It’s that time everyone hates, the old girl just won’t keep air and she looks like she’s been around the world the hard way. Your trusty dinghy just isn’t keeping air and it’s sunburnt beyond recognition but you still feel let down. You might be suffering from nostalgia but you seem to think you remember when you had that wood dinghy and everything was roses. Ah, remembering back to struggling that old woody on deck to do repairs, getting it stuck on the beach at high tide, the tippy moments when your heart jumped out of it’s chest, but she rowed fine…
There was a reason you went to an inflatable boat and it seemed like it was really expensive compared to the old tub you used to use. Sure the tub cost only a few hundred bucks back then, and your inflatable was more money, but the inflatable boat stood watch tirelessly for your multi-year frolic on the high seas. What would old woody have had to say over the course of the same trip? That inflatable boat starts to look a whole lot better now. The unsurpassed carrying capacity and easy to plane nature of the design makes even the tiniest of little motors attractive for most cruisers and adventurers who like to explore. That littler rubber boat that rolls up so nicely and stows below has come all the way around and back again in popularity and even mainstream users are seeing the benefit of it’s legendary traits.
So replacing the old girl who always got you there and back again seems like less of a big deal. My first real experience was in the Great Lakes as a very young child and then again as a 17yr. old in the Navy where inflatable boats ruled the seas and beaches alike. It wasn’t until I started to sail in Hawaii in my early 20’s that the picture became clear why no one was using the old wood, fiberglass and metal dinghies anymore. Getting into and out of the inflatable was easier and far more stable to say the least; but where the rubber hit the road for me was in the inflatable boat’s ability to be rolled and stowed for the big ocean, and easily inflated for that “Miracle Mile” when you got somewhere remote.
Ferrying people to the beach and bringing back fresh water and stores was fun and I always jumped at the chance for that duty. The tropics took a toll on everything me included but with just a little bit of care (which you should be doing anyway) your inflatable boat will outlast your most distant voyages. Products such as The Inflatable Boat Maintenance Kit , make this is a non-issue no matter the latitude where you find yourself. The key to happiness here is to buy the best dinghy as you can afford, this doesn’t mean biggest, this means QUALITY.
There are more choices available to the purchaser today than ever before, and with the adoption of the internet even more poor choices than ever thought possible. A quality tender will have a warranty, and a history of service rather than a clever marketing web ad. Look for an established brand that uses full weight brand name fabrics, Zodiac, Bombard, Avon, Achilles, and new comers Highfield, and Cardinal come to mind. If it says “Zodiac type” you are getting screwed no matter how attractive the price. Zodiac invented the inflatable dinghy and is the world leader by a long shot, that’s where you start (Zodiac, Bombard, and Avon are the same company).
Questions or want any of the brands listed give us a call (503)235-2628 we’ll get you setup with the best boat for your application.